The Music, Language, and Culture Workshop

December 4, 2018
by Jon

Final EthNoise! of the Quarter This Thursday, December 6

Dear all,

I’m writing to remind you that EthNoise! will meet this Thursday, December 6, in Rosenwald 301 from 5-6:20 pm. This will be the last EthNoise! of the quarter, so it’s fitting that our presenter will be Julia Escribano, whom we’ve been privileged to have a visiting student from Spain this quarter. Julia will be presenting an overview of her dissertation research on the topic “Traditional religious music during the Holy Week of southwest Soria: Local memory, processes of change, repertories, and current meanings.” Julia’s project is really an exciting one in which she blends ethnographic methods with historical research in interesting and meaningful ways. I look forward to seeing you all on Thursday and to celebrating Julia’s time here in Chicago and a successful quarter of workshops! As always, feel free to reach out before then if you have any questions.
Jon Bullock

November 27, 2018
by Jon

Reminder: Upcoming EthNoise! This Thursday, November 29

Dear all,

I hope you enjoyed a wonderful and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday. I’m writing to remind you that EthNoise! will meet this Thursday, November 29, from 5-6:20 pm in Rosenwald 301. PhD candidate (Music) Ameera Nimjee will be presenting her dissertation chapter, “Off the Dance Floor: Mobile Intersections among Bangalore Creatives.” You won’t want to miss it! Snacks and drinks will be provided; please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions before then.
Jon Bullock

October 15, 2018
by Jon

Reminder: EthNoise! Meets This Thursday, 10/18

Dear all,

Happy Monday! I’m writing to remind you that EthNoise! will meet from 5-6:20 pm this Thursday (10/18) in Rosenwald 301. Evan Pensis (PhD student, Music/TAPS) will be presenting their article “Running up That Hill: Love and Realness in the Soundtrack to Pose.” Please reach out to me via email if you are interested in reading the article before the workshop. For those of you who may not have the time to read the piece before Thursday (although it’s quite a manageable length!), Evan has volunteered to read selections from the piece during the workshop in order to contextualize the main arguments of the article. After the workshop, GMS (Graduate Music Society) will be hosting an Oktoberfest event in Fulton Hall (on the 4th floor of Goodspeed). The event begins at 6 pm, but I’ve been assured there will still be plenty of beer left for those of us attending the workshop first! Please let me know if you have any questions before then; I’m looking forward to seeing you soon!
Jon Bullock

October 7, 2018
by Jon

Reminder- EthNoise! Meets on Tuesday (10/9) This Week

Dear all,

Hello, and thanks so much to those of you who joined us for our very first EthNoise! workshop of the year this past Thursday. I’m writing to remind you that EthNoise! will meet on Tuesday (10/9) instead of Thursday this week (still from 5-6:20 pm!), and the location will be Goodspeed 402. We’ll be joined by former visiting professor Dr. Rudi Pietsch, who will be discussing his joint article (with Dr. Phil Bohlman) on Haydn’s Burgenland. The respondent will be graduate student Siavash Sabetrohani, and the broader theme of the workshop will be the relation between folk culture and elite culture in the Classic Era. If you would like to read a copy of the article before the workshop, please email me at And as always, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about the article or the workshop. I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday!
Jon Bullock

October 1, 2018
by Jon

First EthNoise! This Thursday, October 4

Hello, everyone, and happy Monday!

I hope your quarter is already off to a great start! I’m writing to remind you that the first EthNoise! workshop will take place this Thursday, October 4, at 5 pm in Rosenwald 301. This first workshop will include field reports from Joe Maurer, who worked with youth mariachi and pungmul students here in Chicago, and Hannah Judd, who conducted field research in Japan. The workshop will also be a great chance to catch up with old friends after the summer break, and to meet new members of the UChicago community! As always, snacks and drinks will be provided. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Jon Bullock

September 22, 2018
by Jon

EthNoise! Autumn 2018

Dear all,

I’m excited to pass along the Autumn schedule for this quarter’s EthNoise! workshops. We will continue to meet on Thursdays this year (with the exception of one workshop on Tuesday, October 9) from 5-6:20 pm (the later start time is meant to accommodate classes that now meet until 4:50 pm). The location for this year’s workshop is Rosenwald 301, which I hope will be a little more accommodating than previous locations in terms of space. The room is ADA accessible from the side entrance of the building. From the front entrance, the elevators are through the lobby and up the first set of stairs. When the elevator doors open on the third floor, you’ll see 301 across the hall toward the right. Feel free to reach out if you need further directions, or if you have any questions at all about this quarter’s workshops. I’ll be updating the blog with abstracts for individual presentations as the quarter goes by. We certainly have a great lineup for the fall; I look forward to seeing you there! (And remember: assorted snacks and drinks are a regular occurrence at every workshop!)
EthNoise! Autumn Quarter Workshops
 October 4 (Week 1): Welcome and graduate student field reports from summer research. Presenters include Joe Maurer and Hannah Judd.
Tuesday, October 9 (Week 2): Former visiting professor Dr. Rudi Pietsch will discuss a joint project (with our very own Dr. Phil Bohlman!) on Haydn’s Burgenland. (The workshop will meet in Goodspeed 402.)
October 18 (Week 3): Evan Pensis will present their article-in-progress “Running up That Hill: Loss, Love, and the Superheroic in the Soundtrack to Pose.”
November 8 (Week 6): Graduate students will present conference papers in preparation for the Society for Ethnomusicology’s annual meeting. Presenters include Maria Welch (“Guarani Children’s Choirs, Cultural Politics, and the Performance of Indigeneity”), Mike Allemana (“Scenes Remembered: Oral Histories of Von Freeman’s Musical and Social Networks at the New Apartment Lounge”), Aimee Gonzalez (“Cuba’s Postcolonial Present and the Revival of Its Colonial Past: Ars Longa de la Habana and the Contemporary Early Music Movement”), and Joe Maurer (participating in a roundtable called “Recognizing and Confronting White Supremacy through Sound Scholarship”).
November 29 (Week 9): Ameera Nimjee will present her dissertation chapter “Off the Dance Floor: Mobile Intersections among Bangalore Creatives.”
December 6 (Week 10): Visiting scholar Julia Escribano will present an overview of her research on the topic “Traditional religious music during the Holy Week of southwest Soria: Local memory, processes of change, repertories, and current meanings.”

March 24, 2018
by hlrogers

EthNoise! Spring 2018

Please find below the schedule for EthNoise! for the spring quarter. We will meet on Thursdays at the customary location, in Goodspeed 205, with a time change:  from 5:00-6:20pm.


Week 4 (4/19) Dr. Melissa Bilal (Dumanian Visiting Professor in Armenian Studies in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations)

An Armenian Ethnomusicologist’s Burden: What do I hear in the Captivated Voices of Russian Armenian POWs in WWI German Camps?”

During WWI, the initially secret Royal Prussian Phonographic Commission (Königlich-Preußische Phonographische Kommission) made recordings from the prisoners of war held in various different camps across German territories. Among the interns detained in these camps were Russian Armenian soldiers. In my talk, I will present samples of songs and speech in Armenian, Georgian, and Turkish captured a century ago from these men by the use of the phonograph and gramophone technologies. I will also share the pieces of information we have on the lives of these soldiers.  My talk will contextualize these recording sessions held in POW camps within the history of wartime anthropology. It will critically address the large-scale imperial, colonial, and racialized knowledge production endeavor by musicologists, linguists, ethnographers, and physical anthropologists that regarded the Prussian and Austro-Hungarian internment camps as “laboratories.” While questioning the conditions under which captives were turned into research subjects, it will interpret the repertoire through which the Armenian soldiers expressed themselves in the specific historical moment of 1916-1918. I will argue that the written documents and the voices passed onto us by the phonographic commission challenge the idea of an “archive” and/or a “museum” that the commission originally intended to put together.


Week 5 (special Tuesday session with Center for Jewish Studies: 4/24) Eduard Freudmann (Musician)

Performing the Jewish Archive”

Please see the following links for related information, including that pertaining to a performance on April 23rd.


Week 6 (5/3): Dr. Alisha Jones (Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, Indiana University)

“I Am Delivert!”: Vocalizing Black Men’s Testimonies of Deliverance from Homsexuality in Pentecostal Worship

In 1995, Grammy Award nominated gospel vocalist Pastor Daryl Coley consented to an interview with Gospel Today’s editor Teresa Hairston for an article entitled, “The California-born gospel singer overcoming homosexuality and diabetes.” It is the earliest music industry account of a gospel vocalist claiming to no longer be homosexual through spiritual “deliverance.” Within historically Black Pentecostal churches that showcase gospel musicians, “deliverance” traditionally refers to a release from physical ailments and perceived spiritual afflictions such as diabetes or homosexuality.  While deliverance characterizes various types of healing through spiritual work, many Black gospel music fans deploy the term in a gendered and sexualized manner, referring to a man’s struggle to resist homosexuality. Moreover, the notion of deliverance is promoted through men’s testimonies about becoming heterosexual with what they believe is God’s help. Male vocalists’ overrepresentation in these public accounts of spiritual “healing” from homosexuality reinscribe the stereotype within historically Black Pentecostal churches that to be involved in vocal music ministry is a queering act . Conversely, women’s deliverance narratives are unlikely to be distributed due in part to the socio-cultural fixation on protecting established constructions of Black masculinity.

Expanding upon my 2016 research about the perceptions of Black male vocal participation as queer in Are All the Choir Directors Gay?: Black Men’s Sexuality and Identity in Gospel Performance, this talk explores the sonic qualities of Black men’s public renouncement of their gay identity through deliverance testimonies. In a culture where homosexuals are often regulated to a “don’t ask, don’t tell” social agreement, the testimonies of men delivered from homosexuality conform to what feminist writer Adrienne Rich called compulsory heterosexuality (1960). While deploying ethnomusicological, phonological, linguistic, critical race, and gender studies analysis, Dr. Jones examines these delivered believers’ coded and textured performances of orality in Pentecostal worship: virtuosic singing, “speaking in other tongues,” preaching, and preaching-singing. Educing from musician’s narratives and recordings since Pastor Daryl Coley’s self-disclosure, this talk observes the extent to which their accounts prompt (non)-verbal communication about what constitutes legitimate and sustained deliverance.


Week 7 (5/10): Dr. Michelle Stefano (Folklife Specialist, American Folklife Center)

“The American Folklife Center and Public Folklore”


Week 8 (5/17): Laura Turner (Ph.d. candidate, Music) 

“Intimate Icons, Sacrosanct Places: Mount Airy, Surry County and the Construction of an Old-Time Epicenter” (dissertation chapter)


Week 9 (5/24): Lindsay Wright (Ph.D. candidate, Music)

“Teaching Talent: The Pedagogies of Shinichi Suzuki and Mark O’Connor” (dissertation chapter)


Week 10 (5/31): Ameera Nimjee (Ph.D. candidate, Music)

January 15, 2018
by hlrogers

Winter 2018

Please find below EthNoise’s meetings for Winter 2018. We meet in Goodspeed Hall 205 from 4.30-6pm on Thursdays. All are welcome to attend!


1/18 Herbert Quelle (German Consul General, Chicago) – Monika’s Blues: On the Trail of the German Harmonica and African American Blues Culture

Walter, a 70-year old German-American retired teacher, travels from his hometown in Chicago to the Mississippi Delta. On the way he befriends an African-American family who share his interest in the importance of the harmonica in Blues music. Walter’s conversations with them and his frequent inner-monologues communicate facts and figures about the history of the instrument, the Blues and exemplary Blues harmonica players. These are interwoven with historical events relevant for the freedom struggle of African Americans.


2/15 Nadia Chana (Music) – dissertation chapter: “New Tools for the North: Rereading Nanook through Tanya Tagaq”


2/22 Joe Maurer (Music) – “Voice, Nostalgia, and the Singing Pirate”

This paper analyzes the “pirate voice” as a musical feature of the contemporary pop culture pirate. I argue that this aural construction developed in part through the influence of 19th-century sea chanteys and the maritime nostalgia of the 20th-century United States. The fantastical pirate is a common figure in 21st-century popular culture. One integral yet seldom-examined element in this phenomenon is the use of song to establish the pirate character. These songs feature in Disney’s multibillion-dollar Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise, but they also play prominent roles in media ranging from video games—most notably Assassin’s Creed IV, which sold over 11 million copies—to comedy, as Key & Peele’s “Pirate Chantey” music video has been viewed nearly 5 million times on YouTube. This paper builds on previous scholarship analyzing the sea chantey singing voice within the U.S. maritime revival movement (Carr 2006, 2009). I also draw on historical accounts of the sea chantey voice (Smith 1888, Bone 1932), media analysis, and my own fieldwork with present-day maritime musicians to argue for an understanding of the pirate singing voice as a phenomenon rooted in nostalgia for the nation’s maritime past. That actual maritime history of shipping, whaling, and harsh conditions is replaced by romanticized pirates in the historical imagination—a sleight of hand enabled in part by song. This paper demonstrates how the seemingly lighthearted pop culture pirate phenomenon is intertwined with the history of maritime work songs, pre-industrial nostalgia, and music revival in the United States.


3/1 Will Buckingham (Music) – dissertation chapter: “Collecting Décimas: Samuel G. Armistead and the Isleño Heritage Revival”




October 11, 2017
by hlrogers

Autumn 2017

Please find below EthNoise’s meetings for Autumn 2017. We meet in Goodspeed Hall 205 from 4.30-6pm on Thursdays. All are welcome to attend!

10/5: Graduate Student Reports from the Field: Mili Lietner, Jon Bullock, Erol Koymen, Laura Turner

10/12: Student Papers in Preparation for Society of Ethnomusicology Conference:

Nadia Chana: “Rethinking Difference in/as Activist Ethnomusicology”

Hannah Rogers: “(Re)Emergent Archipelagoes: Listening for U.S.-Cuba Relations in Havana”

Ailsa Lipscombe: “Disembodiment as Disempowerment: Indigenous Vocal performance in Disney’s  Frozen”


10/19:Student Papers in Preparation for Society of Ethnomusicology Conference:

Lunchtime Session, 12:30-1:30:

Evan Pensis: “‘Hold that Pose for Me’: Voguing and Musical Appropriation in the European Ballroom Scene”

Anjelica Fabro: “What Community are We? Caribbean Unity, Creolization, Archipelagic Thinking in Music Sponsored by CARICOM”


Regular Session, 4:30-6:

Ted Gordon: “’Sound is God’: Pandit Pran Nath, Mysticism, and Music in the San Francisco Bay Area”

Erol Koymen: “From Coups that Silence Ezan-s to Ezan-s that Silence Coups!”

Mili Leitner: “Happy Birthday to Whom? Israeli Nationhood, Musical Collaboration and the Exclusionary Semiotics of Bat Shishim


11/9: Film Screening:

Screening of Cuban Documentary Materia Prima, followed by discussion with producer David Fernández Borrás (co-sponsored by CLAS).

Materia Prima is a documentary dealing with the celebration in 2009 of International Workers’ Day and the 50th anniversary of the Revolution in Havana. Significantly, this was the first such event at which Fidel Castro was not present. Overlapping and interweaving of images and sounds of official and popular celebration inform one another throughout the film, giving special significance to the phrase “material prima” with regards to the Cuban people.



  • Muestra de Cine Documental Lupa. SPAIN.
  • Concorto Film Festival. ITALY.
  • Collected Voices Chicago Ethnographic Film Festival. UNITED STATES
  • 20 Festival Internacional de Documentales de Santiago. (FIDOCS). Selección official.



  • 37 Festival Internacional del Nuevo Cine Latinamericano. CUBA. Selección official.
  • 47 Festival  de Cine Documental Alcances. SPAIN. Selección Official.
  • 14 Muestra de Jóvenes Realizadores. CUBA. Mención Especial de documental.
  • Festival Internacional ICARO. GUATEMALA.

April 10, 2017
by Leitner

Spring 2017

Please find below EthNoise’s meetings for Spring 2017. We meet in Goodspeed Hall 205 from 4.30-6pm on Thursdays. All are welcome to attend!

3/30: Dr Janie Cole (University of Cape Town) – presentation and workshop on music in South African apartheid jails.

4/14-17: Dr Richard Wolf (Harvard University) – weekend workshop on creative ethnography (Fri/Mon) and public lecture (Fri).

4/27: Anjelica Corbett and Erol Koymen, PhD Students in Ethnomusicology – presentation of conference paper and article, respectively.

5/11: Dr Nancy Murphy, Lecturer in Music Theory (University of Chicago) – workshop on transcription article.

5/18: Various PhD Students in Ethnomusicology – lightning talks about dissertation proposal topics.

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