EthNoise! 2014-2015

Welcome to EthNoise!

EthNoise! is a student-run workshop based in the Department of Music which provides a forum for graduate students and guest speakers to present and discuss ongoing research. We meet on Thursday afternoons from 4:30-6pm approximately every other week during the quarter.

A few updates for 2014-2015:

Please note the new name of the workshop: EthNoise!: The Music, Language, and Culture Workshop.

The new student coordinators are Will Buckingham ( and Nadia Chana (

Please send us an email with any questions or interests regarding the workshop–especially if you’re interested in attending, presenting, or participating as a respondent to a paper.

The fall quarter schedule and additional details will be up shortly.

Thursday 29 May – Maria Welch

Please join us this Thursday 29th May for our final EthNoise workshop of the year. 
GOH 205 
We would like to welcome our very own Ph.D. student Maria Welch who will present the following paper:
“Sounding the Body, Singing the Soul: the Musical Labor of Guarani Youth Choirs.”

As modernity continues to reshape Brazil, indigenous communities lay claim to their representation vis-à-vis expressive practices that frame their identity as integral in ecological and cultural stewardship. In my research, I purport to examine the pedagogy and transmission of voiced and embodied expressive practices among Guarani youth.  As both an identity and praxis, children’s choirs have constituted a key axis in the meditational means employed by the Guarani to negotiate the politics of culture. Through an engagement with the emic category of ‘childhood’ and its musical production in three villages both rural and urban, my methodology will analyze the vocal and kinetic expression of youth choirs and their socio-cultural, as well as cosmological, significance.


Thursday 15 May – Professor Ron Pen

Dear All 

Please join us Thursday 15th May for our penultimate EthNoise workshop of the year. 
GOH 205 
We would like to welcome Professor Ron Pen of the University of Kentucky who will present the following paper:
“Kyrgyzstan and Kentucky Embraced a Local and Global Dialogue”
The negotiation of local and global perceptions of culture has been shaped by popular culture dissemination, social media, ease of travel, and increasing urbanization. The East Kentucky region of Appalachia and the mountainous Tien Shan area of Kyrgyzstan have been conceived as oppositional forces harboring traditional cultures bound to community in continuity despite changing modern political and social contexts.
Both cultures have been used to exemplify national identity. In the United States Appalachia represented a bastion of British culture in opposition to the diversity of immigration   In Kyrgyzstan, traditional nomadic culture represented core values in opposition to Russian and Soviet influence.  In both cases, the mountains were conceived as symbolic and actual borders that protected traditional culture.
Through several recent U.S. State Department-sponsored cultural exchange opportunities, I, in concert with an old time string band The Red State Ramblers, was in a position to interact with traditional Kyrgyz musicians.  Observations concerning nationalism, myth, narrative epics, pedagogy, folklore strategies, and persistence of traditional culture in new contexts will be illustrated through a power point discussion and music.
Ron Pen is professor of music at the University of Kentucky where he also serves as director of the John Jacob Niles Center for American Music and coordinator of the Division of Musicology and Ethnomusicology.  With research and performance interests in traditional Appalachian culture, he is a fiddler with the Red State Ramblers and a founding member of the Appalachian Association of Sacred Harp Singers.  As a member of the Red State Ramblers he has participated in U.S. State Department cultural exchanges in Kyrgyzstan, China, and Ecuador. His recent publications include I Wonder As I Wander: The Biography of John Jacob Niles (University Press of Kentucky 2010) and “Preservation and Presentation of the Folk: Forging an American Identity” in Music, American Made: Essays in Honor of John Graziano (Harmonie Park Press 2011).


Thursday 24 April – Meredith Aska McBride and Michael Riendeau

Dear All

Hope you can all come along to our first workshop of the Spring quarter!

Please join UChicago PhD candidate Meredith Aska McBride with guest speaker, Michael Riendeau for their presentation entitled “The Evolving Role of the Urban Arts Educator in the 21st Century”


Over the past several decades, music education, and arts education more generally, has entered an era of privatization, in which students largely access formalized arts education either through private, tuition-based programs or through teaching artists subcontracted to teach in public, private, and charter schools. Since the turn of the 21st century, arts education, and music education in particular, has often been used by policymakers and administrators to attempt to accomplish other social policy goals, mainly targeting urban children of color euphemistically known as “at-risk youth.” This presentation describes and examines Chicago’s music education landscape through these twin lenses of privatization and citizenship, exploring both the issues and the opportunities present in this model. PhD candidate Meredith Aska McBride will begin with an overview of music education in Chicago, contextualizing it within nationwide trends. Noted Chicago-based teaching artist Michael Riendeau will then describe his career, pedagogical methods, and teaching philosophy and discuss how he responds to these ideological formations within his own work. Michael and Meredith will then jointly discuss the after-school drumline program at EPIC Academy in the South Chicago neighborhood, where Michael is finishing his third year as a teaching artist and where Meredith has completed fieldwork observations.


Meredith Aska McBride is a PhD candidate in ethnomusicology at the University of Chicago. Her dissertation is entitled “Harmonizing the City: Music education and urban citizenship in Chicago.”

Michael Riendeau is a noted teaching artist and percussionist based in Chicago. He holds a BA in music from Lawrence University and has studied a number of forms of West African drumming in Paris, Ghana, and Senegal. His teaching work in the Chicago area has spanned diverse settings, including residencies at the Cook County Juvenile Detention Center and in numerous schools across the city, mainly on the south and west sides; and serving as a private percussion teacher at several schools in the north shore suburbs. Michael frequently speaks and teaches on teaching artistry and has worked in particular with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Institute, the Civic Orchestra, and the Merit School of Music.


Same time (4.30-6.00pm), Same place (GOH 205)

See you there!

Spring Quarter Schedule

Watch this space for more information!
Week 3 – Friday April 18, 12pm: South Asian Sound Interventions Symposium (Fulton Recital Hall, GOH) 
The South Asian Sound Interventions along with the Department of Music present a symposium as part of a larger series of events, “Affective Labor in Dance: South Asia and Beyond.” The symposium will feature two panels of paper presentations, a conversation with a Chicago-based dance company artistic director, and a keynote lecture by Professor Pallabi Chakravorty, Swarthmore College. All programs are free and open to the public. No registration is required.
Week 4 – Thursday 24 April, 4.30pm: Meredith Aska McBride and Michael Riendeau (GOH 205)
“The Evolving Role of the Urban Arts Educator in the 21st Century”
Week 5 – CANCELLED, apologies
Week 7 – Thursday 15 May, 4.30pm: Dr Ron Pen, Professor at the School of Music, University of Kentucky
Week 9 –  Thursday 29 May, 4.30pm: Maria Welch, PhD student in Ethnomusicology, University of Chicago


Thursday 13 March – Will Faber


Please join us for our final workshop session of the Winter quarter. We are pleased to announce Will Faber,  PhD candidate in Ethnomusicology, University of Chicago  – GOH 205, 4.30-6.00pm

“A Pretty Duff Place to Be:” The London Musicians’ Collective and the Ethics of Improvisation in Thatcher’s Britain

This chapter focuses on the London Musicians’ Collective, a cooperative organization which produced concerts, records, workshops, radio programs, and festivals between 1974 and 2009. Drawing on interviews with member musicians as well as the organization’s own meeting minutes, administrative records, correspondence, and negotiations with funding agencies, I ask how this group constructed a politics of race and gender by variously critiquing, affirming and disowning the changing location of jazz as a racialized musical form within British cultural hierarchies during the 1970’s and 1980’s.

Hope to see you all there!

Thursday 6 March – Owen Kohl – “Sounding Like an Uncertain Future: Hip Hop Economics in a Post-Industrial Context of Scarcity”

Dear All

Please join us this coming Thursday, 6 March, for our penultimate EthNoise presentation of the Winter Quarter.

We are delighted to host Owen Kohl, PhD Candidate, Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago
GOH 205, 4.30 – 6.00pm
“Sounding Like an Uncertain Future: Hip Hop Economics in a Post-Industrial Context of Scarcity”
The Yugoslav music industry, which continues to be locally portrayed as once the envy of other Eastern European states, underwent a dramatic transformation during the 1990s. The biographies of ex-YU artists, consumers, and distributors straddle a period of seemingly never-ending ‘transitions,’ not only from self-managed state socialism to neoliberal democracy, but also within a regional music industry whose business models have radically changed in the wake of new forms of legal, quasi-legal, and primarily illegal digital distribution. Music scholars have explored in detail the war-time politicization of musical differences along national lines (e.g., Baker 2010, Čolović 2008, Gordy 1999), but the ongoing transformation of the socialist-era industry has yet to be as systematically thematized. Artists often narrate the transformation of the record business in ex-YU in terms that run parallel to the trajectories of other regional industries that have been subject to bankruptcy, offshoring, and forms of ‘rational’ restructuring. Despite the recent proliferation of music festivals, independent labels, and clubs that distribute and support ‘alternative’ genres, pursuing hip hop in any sort of professional capacity demands that most artists must have other sources of income. Ex-YU remains a region in which Apple’s iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, eBay, and other legal online distributors of music remain largely absent. Regional music rights organizations now try to curb rampant illegal download in order to recoup profits. However, a vociferous debate rages among artists as to whose future the support of intellectual property law, the crass mass mediated promotion of pop genres, and a more integrated EUropean future best serves. Now that gigabytes of music are downloaded with swift mouse-clicks as opposed to painstakingly collected, older DJs lament the increased competition for scant gigs and the deterioration of listening practices. In Chapter 2, I analyze artists’ articulations of present-day professional limitation and argue that the past, sometimes including an era of ‘good life’ socialism, often emerges as a nostalgia-inflected historical epoch during which music could be more than just a hobby for a broader demographic of performers.
Owen Kohl: As a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Anthropology, Kohl attends to the shifting significations of ‘urban’ music, national identity, and economically re-structured local culture industries on EUrope’s southeastern periphery. His dissertation research is focused specifically on a newly transnational network of hip hop musicians in Zagreb, Croatia, Belgrade, Serbia, and Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. This follows on his earlier investigation of global manifestations of hip hop social practices in France, Senegal, Croatia, Russia, and Mongolia.


Thursday 6 February – Elizabeth Branch Dyson – “What Book Editors Want”

Dear All

Combat mid-term blues with a great workshop session and refreshments.

We would like to welcome our guest speaker, Elizabeth Branch Dyson, Editor at the University of Chicago Press (acquires books in education, ethnomusicology and other music, and philosophy).

Her workshop paper is entitled “What Book Editors Want”

This highly informative talk will

* provide an overview of book publishing today

*discuss the procedure of revising a dissertation into a book

*outline the submission procedure

*explain how peer reviews work

*and the publication process


We hope to see many of you there.

Same time/place as usual: 4.30-6.00pm, GOH 205



Thursday 23 January – Prof. Elsie Dunin

Please join us Thursday January 23, 4.30pm (LOGAN CENTER, Rm. 501) – please note the change from the usual location. This is a collaborative workshop with Center for East Europe and Russian/Eurasian Studies.

We warmly welcome Professor Elsie Dunin who will present the following paper:

 “Forty-Five Years (1967-2012) of a Romani Spring Event in Skopje, Macedonia” 


As a dance ethnologist, my studies focus on continuities and changes of social events with a dancing component. Since 1967 I continue to observe and record a community-wide event of the Romani population in Skopje, Macedonia in relation to their evolving social changes. Most of the dancing took place in public spaces within a framework of a five-day calendar holiday, known with multiple names – Gjurgjovden (St. George’s Day) a Slavic Macedonian term, Erdelezi (coming of spring) a Turkish-based term, and šutalo pani (spring waters) a Romani term. The diminishing public dancing during this event parallels a period that introduces major socio-cultural changes to Romani families such as a change of personal living space (1960s), encouraged education (1970s), and migrant work opportunities (1970s–1980s). After Macedonia’s secession from SRF Yugoslavia in 1991 and into the 2010s there are numerous proselytizing religious groups and humanitarian non-governmental organizations, an emergence of conflicting Romani political parties, and the site of a new United States Embassy for Macedonia where a major part of this community-wide holiday was celebrated. Using the holiday event with its own continuities and changes since 1967, the presentation provides a selected overview of socio-cultural markers in a parallel time period.

Accompanied by PowerPoint the presentation shows selected images and dancing examples from 1967 into 2012.

Elsie Dunin is Professor Emerita (Dance Ethnology), University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), and dance research advisor with the Institute of Ethnology and Folklore Research (IEF) in Croatia. Dunin is also active with the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM) Study Group on Ethnochoreology and with the Cross-Cultural Dance Resources (CCDR) in Arizona. Her research focuses on the relationship of socio-cultural changes with the continuities and changes in social dance events. Studies have taken place in Macedonia among both Macedonian and Romani populations; with the Croatian diaspora in California, Chile and Australia compared with source emigrant areas in Croatia. Professor Dunin is author, editor, and compiler of numerous publications.

Thursday 16 January – Jamie Cartright and Lauren Eldridge

Please join us on Thursday January 16, 4.30pm, (Goodspeed 205) for our first workshop of the Winter Quarter.

We would like to welcome Jamie Cartright and Lauren Eldridge who will present a paper entitled

“Sight and Sound: The Transcription of Haitian Folkloric Rhythms” 

Jamie Cartright, mezzo-soprano, has returned to Haiti after a season with Palm Beach Opera’s chorus where she was also a soloist with the Anglican Chorale-Trinity Cathedral in Miami and the Master Chorale of South Florida. Jamie was featured on the cover of Ticket magazine for her concert at the Institut Français honoring women in classical music. Her most recent projects include the Matinée de Compositeurs Haïtiens with a host of esteemed musicians throughout the diaspora, and a recital accompanied by Micheline Dalencour and Lauren Eldridge reviewed by Le Nouvelliste. Jamie served as a clinician for L’Ecole de Musique Saint-Trinite in Port-au-Prince and L’Ecole de Musique Dessaix-Baptiste in Jacmel, Haiti. Born in New York, Jamie Cartright grew up in Haiti and returned to the U.S. to receive her Bachelor of Music at Stetson University in Florida. While in Haiti, she presented two solo recitals and sang regularly with L’Orchestre Philharmonique de Sainte-Trinite, notably during the memorial concert in 2010 for the victims of Haiti’s earthquake.
Lauren Eldridge is an ethnomusicologist who focuses on musics of the African diaspora. She is currently conducting research regarding Haitian classical music and its accompanying pedagogies. She obtained her B.A. from Spelman College in 2010 (International Studies and Music) and is a doctoral student at the University of Chicago.