The Music, Language, and Culture Workshop

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.

February 2, 2017
by Leitner

2/16: Prof Shayna Silverstein

On February 16 we are excited to welcome Shayna Silverstein to give a talk entitled “EnGendering Flow: Poetics, Politics, and Pleasure in Syrian Dance Music“. An alum of UChicago’s Music PhD program, Prof Silverstein is now an Associate Professor at Northwestern in their Communications Department and a faculty affiliate in Middle East and North African Studies. You can read more about her research here.

If you think you may need accommodations to participate fully, please email

As always, we promise excellent refreshments and company – and graduate students are welcome to join us for dinner in Hyde Park after the workshop. Please RSVP for dinner to as space is limited.


February 2, 2017
by Leitner

2/9: Christopher Sheklian

Please join us on Thursday, February 9 from 4.30-6pm in Goodspeed 205. We will be joined by Christopher Sheklian, PhD Candidate in Anthropology. His talk on Armenian liturgical music in Istanbul is drawn from his dissertation work, and we welcome Erol Koymen, PhD Student in Ethnomusicology, as respondant. If you think you may need accommodations to participate fully, please email As always, we promise excellent refreshments and company!

Tuning the Body to the City: Armenian Affective Urban Engagement With Istanbul

Armenians in Istanbul today make up the largest population of the recognized religious minorities in the Republic of Turkey. A significant part of Armenian life in Istanbul revolves around the rich liturgical practices of the Armenian Apostolic Church. This liturgical life is textually grounded, in particular by the book of hymns containing all of the possible songs sung during the services. These hymns, or sharagans, are musically differentiated by mode, a musical building block. Not only are the sharagans each written in a particular musical mode, but each day is assigned a mode that organizes the entire liturgical experience. Certain emotions are even thought to be intrinsic to specific modes. Textually grounded, hymns not only mark a particular liturgically engaged religious subject, they also tune the body to different possibilities.

In Istanbul, where the Islamic call to prayer has a different musical mode depending on the time of day, many of these modes are the same as in the Armenian sharagan system. Tracing the way many of my informants recognized the Armenian modes in the call to prayer, this paper explores how those who were trained in the singing of Armenian hymns, who had tuned their bodies in particular ways, were also attune to the city in unique ways. I argue that this affective tuning of the body offers possibilities for understanding the embodied and affective ways that a minority population can engage with the city, and ultimately with the larger political body in which they find themselves as minorities.


January 27, 2017
by Leitner

2/2: Prof Byron Dueck

Please join us this Thursday, February 2 from 4.30-6pm in Goodspeed 205. We are excited to welcome guest speaker Prof Byron Dueck, head of music and senior lecturer at the UK’s Open University, and an alum of UChicago’s Music PhD program. His talk, “The Social Life of Chords”, will be co-hosted by the Music History & Theory Study Group. Please read on for a description of the talk and Byron’s biography. If you think you may need accommodations to participate fully, please email As always, we promise excellent refreshments and company!

The Social Life of Chords

How do musicians acknowledge and extend relationships through the sounding materials they deploy? What kinds of connections do these deployments establish, and with whom (intimates, strangers, abstract publics, spirits)? This paper considers two sites where western harmony was initially disseminated in the context of colonialism, drawing on fieldwork conducted in Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon, and the city of Winnipeg in western Canada. In Yaoundé, the focus is sacred and popular music played by xylophone ensembles (mendzaŋ); in Canada, it is gospel and country music performed by musicians of Indigenous (First Nations and Métis) heritage. In both sites, the talk explores how harmony mediates social ties.


Byron Dueck is Senior Lecturer and Head of Music at the Open University. He received his PhD in ethnomusicology from the University of Chicago in 2005 following degrees in piano performance at the University of Minnesota and Wilfrid Laurier University. His research interests include North American Indigenous music and dance, the music of Cameroon, and the musical mediation of relationships. He is the author of Musical Intimacies and Indigenous Imaginaries: Aboriginal Music in Public Performance (Oxford University Press) and the co-editor, with Martin Clayton and Laura Leante, of Experience and Meaning in Musical Performance (Oxford University Press).

January 12, 2017
by Leitner

1/19: Bertie Kibreah

Please join us on Thursday 19th January in Goodspeed 205 from 4.30-6pm for a presentation by Bertie Kibreah. Bertie is a PhD Candidate in Ethnomusicology, and will present some of his dissertation research in a workshop entitled “Negotiating the Routes of Mystical Song in Bangladesh“. We also welcome back Dr Lars-Christian Koch as respondent. Bertie describes his presentation as follows:

“This presentation looks broadly at the traditions of mysticism in Bangladesh and suggests that its related performance styles, largely speculative and dialectical in nature, allows for a close examination of the compositional form of mystical song in Bengal. While modernist writers and archivists have often been driven by the impulse to codify and compartmentalize this music, its thematic motifs and melodic contours suggest a much more dynamic relationship between the vernacular, the devotional and the classical, which illuminates a variety of salient points regarding the celebrated regionalism of Bangladeshi nationalism, the memorialization of genocide and a lingering ‘angst of injustice’ in popular discourse, and a complex set of notions informing piety today across class, mobility and generational lines.”

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