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Department of Music -- Senior Project Symposium (Friday May 3, 1PM-4PM)

The Department of Music and the Center for Ethnomusicology at Columbia University are please to present the

2019 Senior Project Symposium

FRIDAY MAY 3, 2019
All are welcome!

Please join us in 701C Dodge Hall, the Center for Ethnomusicology, on Friday, May 3, 2019, from 1PM-4PM for our annual Undergraduate Senior Project Symposium, featuring presentations by five graduating seniors (Katie Cooke, Jessica Edgar, Brent Morden, Fabiola Ines Plaza and Jessie Rubin, from the Dept. of Music, and Andrea Floersheimer, from the Dept. of History)  who have completed senior projects with Music Department faculty advisers this spring.  Join us in proudly celebrating these fantastic projects! Refreshments will be served, and all are welcome.  The schedule of presentations is below. Presentations will be 20 minutes long, followed by Q&A, with brief breaks between presentations. 

Schedule of Presentations:

1:00PM Brent Morden (Columbia College Music Major): "Modeling Artistic Collaboration Across Time and Space."

1:30PM Jessica Edgar (Columbia College Music Major): "Restraint, Women, and the British Choral Tradition."

2:00PM Katie Cooke (Columbia College Music Major): "The Ministry of Love: An Exploration of Turkish Contemporary Christian Music."

2:30PM Jessie Rubin (Barnard College Music Major): "Vocality in Exile: The Indigenization of Scottish Bagpipes in a Palestinian Refugee Community."

3:00PM Fabiola Ines Plaza (Columbia College Music Major): "Nationalism in Venezuelan Classical Music: Connecting the Musical Revolution of the 20th Century to Today."

3:30PM Andrea Floersheimer (Columbia College History Major): "Kitchen Courthouses and Flying Judges: Bush Justice in Alaska, 1959-80."

Dr. César Colón-Montijo Awarded Princeton Presidential Postdoctoral Fellowship!

Dr. Cesar Colon-Montijo
The Columbia University Ethnomusicology community is delighted to congratulate our recent PhD alumnus, and current Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Music, Dr. César Cólon-Montijo, who has been named to the first cohort of Presidential Postdoctoral Fellows at Princeton University. 

Congratulations César!


Dr. Cólon-Montijo received his PhD in Ethnomusicology in 2018 from the Department of Music and currently serves as a Visiting Lecturer in the Department. His dissertation, entitled  Specters of Maelo: An Ethnographic Biography of Ismael ‘Maelo’ Rivera, was advised by Profs. Ochoa and Washburne.  Dr. Colón-Montijo will join the Princeton University Department of Spanish and PortugueseColón-Montijo holds a master’s degree in anthropology and audiovisual communication from the University of Barcelona and a bachelor’s degree in communications from the University of Puerto Rico, in addition to his PhD from Columbia. His research spans Puerto Rican, Caribbean and Latinx media and cultural studies, and is focused on the production and reception of popular song, music, print and non-print texts and their role in shaping communities and social movements. In addition to his scholarly work, Colón-Montijo is a journalist and documentary filmmaker with experience in radio and television. Colón-Montijo will be advised by Pedro Meira Monteiro, the Arthur W. Marks ’19 Professor of Spanish and Portuguese and chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.

PhD Student Kyle DeCoste Wins Best Student Paper Prize at 2019 IASPM-US!

Kyle DeCosteCongratulations to Columbia Ethnomusicology PhD student student Kyle DeCoste! Kyle was awarded the Best Graduate Student Paper at the 2019 International Association for the Study of Popular Music, US Branch (IASPM-US) annual meeting for his paper, “Music All Up and Down the Street: Listening to Childhood in James Baldwin’s Little Man, Little Man.” In the paper, DeCoste uses Baldwin’s “children’s book for adults” as way to re-think conceptions of childhood innocence and the role of music in mediating the realities of black children's lives in Harlem.

"EMPACY" -- A Hip Hop Theater Event (2 Staged Readings, Fri 4/26 and Sat 4/27)

Event Start: 
Friday, April 26, 2019 - 4:00am - Saturday, April 27, 2019 - 6:00pm
701C Dodge Hall (The Center for Ethnomusioclogy)
The Center for Ethnomusicology at Columbia University is pleased to present TWO staged readings of a new improvisational hip hop theatrical production:


A staged reading of a new play by Adi Eshman and David Bell as Dramaturg

Directed by: Max Friedman
Produced by: Ray Morency
Featuring: Kristin Kirkley, Candace Maxwell, and Chris Lysik

Julian, Ezra, Kay, & Shaina are four friends at a dinner party, sharing stories, and toasting to their friendship. Until someone conducts an experiment.

An OFF TOP commission that blends science, hip hop, and politics.
SATURDAY, APRIL 27, 2019, 4PM-6PM BOTH in 701C Dodge Hall, The Center for Ethnomusicology Columbia University Morningside (Main) Campus, Broadway and 116th St. Free and open to the public, but a $5 donation is requested to support the project if you are able, and space may be limited. Please confirm attendance on Facebook if possible at:

PhD Student Andrés García Molina Wins Research Grant from Florida International University

Congratulations to Columbia Ethnomusicology PhD candidate Andrés García Molina, who has been awarded a $2,000 travel grant to visit the Díaz-Ayala Cuban and Latin American Popular Music Collection at Florida International University, where he will also be giving a lecture about his research.
Andres Garcia Molina

Women CLAP BACK: Music and the Arts (Tues April 16, 6:15PM)

Event Start: 
Tuesday, April 16, 2019 - 6:15pm - 9:15pm
Lifetime Screening Room 511 Dodge Hall 2960 Broadway New York City, NY 10027
Women CLAP BACK: Music and the Arts 
is a series of programmed events featuring woman-identified speakers working on the fringes of music and the arts that speak about their interventions in the white and patriarchal dynamics of their fields. The goal of CLAP BACK is to foster cross-disciplinary conversation among musicians, composers, multimedia artists, playwrights, bloggers, academics, and activists. 
The inaugural CLAP BACK premiered at The New School / Eugene Lang College in April 2016.

This second event will feature film director and visual artist James Spooner, who directed 2003's Afropunk: The Rock n' Roll Experience, a groundbreaking independent film that sparked a global movement. Centered on the experiences of black rock, punk and hardcore musicians in New York City, it spearheaded a nationwide conversation on black artists within the DIY (Do-it-Yourself) underground music scenes. Most importantly, it highlighted the experiences of black women who successfully navigated their gender and ethnocultural status while actively participating within these white-centric and male-dominated genres and cultures that have historically been resistant to marginalized communities.

At this event, we will screen portions of the 70-minute documentary and Spooner will give a presentation on the making of the documentary, as well as discuss the cultural shift that has happened in the 15+ years since the initial release. A panel discussion about the NYC's contemporary metal, punk and hardcore scenes and a reception will follow. Stay tuned for more information!

Date & Time
Tuesday, April 16, 2019
6:15 PM – 9:15 PM EDT
Add to Calendar

High Country News: "Is a new copyright law a ‘colonization of knowledge’?" (feat/Interviews with Aaron Fox and Trevor Reed)

High Country News article image

Journalist Graham Lee Brewer (Cherokee) reports for High Country News on the potential impacts of new federal legislation affecting the copyright protections afforded to historic audio recordings ("The Music Modernization Act").  Features interviews with Prof. Aaron Fox, Director of the Center for Ethnomusicology, and Prof. Trevor Reed, (Arizona State University School of Law), who is an alumnus of Columbia's PhD program and Law School and has worked extensively with Center collections, as well as Prof. Jane Anderson (NYU, Anthropology), a friend of the Center. 

The article may be accessed here:

A key quote: 

"The problem with intellectual property law is you cast all value in monetary terms. The ethical perspective on Native American field recordings, from anthropologists at least, and from many Native American community members too, is that other kinds of values attach to these,” said Aaron A. Fox, an associate professor of ethnomusicology at Columbia University. “They’re values of sovereignty, rather than exchange value.”

Fox said that while many also see intellectual value in releasing documented history into the public realm, basic social justice requires that Indigenous communities should be allowed to decide which of their traditions are special and how their distribution should be regulated. The circumstances under which most of the recordings were taken are simply too unequal, he said.

Prof. Kate Galloway: "Listening to Indigenous Knowledge of the Land in Three Sound Art Installations" (Friday 4/12, 4:30PM)

Event Start: 
Friday, April 12, 2019 - 4:30pm
701C Dodge Hall (The Center for Ethnomusioclogy)

The Center for Ethnomusicology at Columbia University Presents a Colloquium Talk by:

Kate Galloway
(Visiting Assistant Professor of Music, Wesleyan University)

Listening to Indigenous Knowledge of the Land in Three Sound Art Installations."

Friday, April 12, 2019
701C Dodge Hall (Center for Ethnomusicology)
Columbia University Morningside Campus (Broadway at 116th St.)

Free and Open to the General Public, All Are Welcome!

For further information and assistance with accommodation, please write to:

Abstract:  In this paper I explore the soundscapes and resonances of Rebecca Belmore’s (Anishnaabe), Julie Nagam’s (Anishinaabe/Métis/German/Syrian), and Elizabeth LaPensée’s (Anishinaabe/Métis/Irish) soundwork and how their sound art reflects their concern for the environment and a profound commitment to Indigenous ways of knowing, making, and listening. Working at the intersecting borders of art and politics, they perform sonic interventions into settler colonial spaces, such as the National Parks system, the art gallery, and the game industry. Belmore’s work across different artistic and performance media is a crucial site of Indigenous knowledge formation. In sound installations such as Wave Sound (2017), Belmore explores pressing issues that concern both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples, including, water and land rights, violence against Indigenous people by the state and police, and the embodied and viscerally sensed impact of global climate change. Similarly, in Our future is in the land: If we listen to it (2017), Nagam uses a variety of media, including light, digital projection, and innovative sound technology to create an immersive 360-degree installation that combines environmental field recordings and the voices of Indigenous storytellers with line drawings and projections of an arboreal landscape to highlight our destructive and complex relationship with the environment. And in LaPensée’s social impact game Honour Water (2016), an Anishinaabe singing mobile media game app, the combination of activist play, history, bodies, hardware, music, and code, brings awareness to threats to the water systems and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK).

I listen acutely and with care to these three sound art installations and the multisensory ways music and sound are used to resound Indigenous futures, traditions, and ways of knowing on their own terms. Each of these sound art installations gravitates towards the ecological and considers what healthy and unhealthy relationships between humans and the nonhuman world–plants, animals, natural resources–sound like. Belmore, Nagam, and LaPensée introduce marginalized perspectives and voices to address the problematic settler colonial authority and whiteness that conspicuously dominates the discourse on music, sound, and environment, a relatively homogenous and exclusionary artistic, technological, and scientific discussion.

Speaker Biography: Kate Galloway, Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Wesleyan University,  specializes in North American music that responds to and problematizes environmental issues and relationships, musical expressions of Indigenous modernities and Traditional Ecological Knowledge, sound studies, new media and audiovisual culture, and the digital humanities. Her current book project Remix, Reuse, Recycle: Music, Media Technologies, and Remediating the Environment is under contract with Oxford University Press and examines how and why contemporary artists remix and recycle sounds, musics, and texts encoded with environmental knowledge. She holds the PhD in Music from the University of Toronto. 

Dr. Langston C. Wilkins: "Still Holdin’ Slab: The Automobility of Houston, Texas’ Hip Hop Music Scene" (Friday, March 29 at 4PM)

Event Start: 
Friday, March 29, 2019 - 4:00pm
701C Dodge Hall (The Center for Ethnomusioclogy)
The Center for Ethnomusicology presents a colloquium talk by: 

Dr. Langston Collin Wilkins
(Director of the Center for Washington Cultural Traditions)

"Still Holdin’ Slab: The Automobility of Houston, Texas’ Hip Hop Music Scene."

Friday, March 29, 2019, from 4:00PM-6:00PM

701C Dodge Hall (Columbia Morningside Campus @ 116th and Broadway)
Free and Open to the Public -- ALL are always welcome
Reception to follow
For information or special accommodations, write:

Abstract:  Within hip hop discourse, Houston, Texas is known as the “City of Syrup,” a reference to cold medicine based drug concoction that have
 become commonplace in Houston rap music and related media. It is also called “Screwston” in memory of the late Houston-based DJ Screw and the slowed down sound he contributed to hip hop. Just as important as these elements, however, is SLAB, the vehicle culture developed within Houston’s African-American neighborhoods. In this presentation, I argue that SLAB is a catalyst in the production of the scene, being a primary influence on musical aesthetics and cultural identity.

Slabs are typically large American sedans that have been tricked out with explosive paint jobs, various types of vehicle adornment, and booming sound systems. Slab culture coalesced in the early 1980s due to the development of “swangas,” a colloquialism for the rims that came standard on certain Cadillac models. Slab owners invest thousands of dollars in the creation of their vehicles, purchasing their cars when they are in modest states and slowly converting them into something more elaborate. During this process, the vehicle becomes inscribed with individual experience and identity and broadcasts this to the outside world.

Since the early 1990s, slab has played a key role in the indigenization of hip hop music in Houston influencing the creation of music groups as well as becoming source material for hip hop lyrics and a symbolic producer in the composition of instrumentals. Furthermore, the cars have functioned as markers of authentic Houston hip hop identity and experience both within and outside of the city. Using insight gained from years of ethnographic and archival research, I will explore the complex role of SLAB in the production of Houston’s multifaceted hip hop scene. 

Speaker Bio:
  Langston Collin Wilkins, PhD is a Seattle-based folklorist, ethnomusicologist and writer. His research interests include hip hop culture, urban folklife and African American music. He received his PhD in Folklore & Ethnomusicology from Indiana University in 2016. He also holds a Masters degree in African American and African Diaspora Studies from Indiana University and a Bachelors of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin. Langston is currently the Director of the Center for Washington Cultural Traditions, a collaboration between Humanities Washington and the Washington State Arts Commission that seeks to document and preserve the traditional culture of Washington state.

Dr. Yun Emily Wang awarded Charles Seeger Prize, Martin Hatch Prize, and Clara Henderson Prize at SEM 2018!

Dr. Yun Emily WangThe Center for Ethnomusicology joins our colleagues in the Department of Music in congratulating Dr. Yun Emily Wang for this remarkable trifecta of awards at SEM 2018.

Currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in Music at Columbia, Dr. Wang recently received the Charles Seeger Prize, the Martin Hatch Prize, and the Clara Henderson Prize at the Society for Ethnomusicology 2018 Annual Meeting. The Charles Seeger prize is awarded by SEM and it recognizes the most outstanding paper presented by a graduate student at SEM 2017. The Martin Hatch prize recognizes the best student paper on a topic relevant to Asian music presented at SEM, and it's awarded by the Society for Asian Music, which meets in conjunction with SEM every year. The Clara Henderson prize is from SEM's Section on Dance, Movement, Gesture, and recognizes the best student paper on a topic related to dance, movement, and gesture.  

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