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Prof. John Troutman: "Steel Bars and Hawaiian Guitars" - Friday Nov. 4, 2016, 4PM

Event Start: 
Friday, November 4, 2016 - 4:00pm
701C Dodge Hall (The Center for Ethnomusioclogy)

The Center for Ethnomusicology is please to present a colloquium presentation by:

Prof. John W. Troutman

(History and Geography, University of Louisiana, Lafayette, author of Indian Blues and the new Kika Kila)

speaking on:
"Steel Bars and Hawaiian Guitars: (Re)Centering Indigenous Technology and Musical Practice within the Origins of the Modern Music Industry."

Friday November 4, 2016
4:00PM to 6:00PM 
701C Dodge Hall (The Center for Ethnomusicology)
Reception to follow talk

Free and open to the public!

The Hawaiian steel guitar profoundly altered the early twentieth-century sounds of the modern music industry. However, few scholars have acknowledged the instrument's role in shaping the soundtrack of modernity, let alone its indigenous origins.  In this talk, John Troutman will draw from his new book, Kīkā Kila: How the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Changed the Sound of Modern Music, in order to contemplate the efforts of Hawaiians to develop a new instrument within the context of intense colonial upheaval, and their impact along regional theater circuits and on New York City stages in the years that followed.

Interested members of the public are also invited to attend Prof. Fox's class "Music in Contemporary Native America" on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2016, from 6-7:30pm, to hear Prof. Troutman discuss his important first book, Indian Blues. Please defer to students in the class during discussion if you attend. 

John Troutman is Associate Professor of History at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He received his doctorate in history from the University of Texas at Austin and his master’s degree in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona. He has received multiple fellowships and grants from the Smithsonian Institution, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. His research agenda focuses on the historical significance of music in American life, particularly in the lives of indigenous peoples. His first book, Indian Blues: American Indians and the Politics of Music, 1879-1934, was favorably reviewed in journals that span the disciplines of American Studies, History, Musicology, Anthropology, Folklore, and American Indian Studies; among other accolades it won the Western History Association’s biennial W. Turrentine Jackson Award for a "first book on any aspect of the American West.” In May of this year, the University of North Carolina Press published his second monograph, Kīkā Kila: How the Hawaiian Steel Guitar Changed the Sound of Modern Music. The book chronicles the history of the Hawaiian steel guitar, from the cultural and political context that produced it in the Islands in the 1880s, to its role in shaping the sounds of modern music in North America and throughout the world.


Workshop with Prof. Georgina Born: "Retheorizing the Social; Rethinking the Genre" (4/1, 4-7pm)

Event Start: 
Wednesday, April 1, 2015 - 4:00pm
701C Dodge Hall (The Center for Ethnomusicology)
The Center for Ethnomusicology Presents a Workshop with:

Prof. Georgina Born (University of Oxford)

"Retheorizing the Social; Rethinking the Genre"

Wednesday, April 1, 2015
701C Dodge Hall (Center for Ethnomusicology)

Free and open to the public.

click for full-sized poster!


"BEYONCE: Feminist Discourse in the Visual Album." (Screening and Discussion at IRWaGS, 4/24 5-7pm)

Event Start: 
Friday, April 24, 2015 - 5:00pm
The Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality and Barnard College Ethnomusicology Major Jenny Payne present "BEYONCE: Feminist Discourse in the Visual Album."  
A screening of Beyonce's "visual album" will be followed by open discussion.  Please come!
Friday April 24 2015

Confirm attendance on Facebook here:
Facebook event link

David Novak Publishes "Japanoise: Music at the Edge of Circulation"

The Center congratulates Columbia Ethnomusicology PhD program alumnus David Novak.  Prof. Novak (UCSB) has just published Japanoise: Music at the Edge of Circulation (Duke University Press, 2013).

Visit the Japanoise website

Noise, an underground music made through an amalgam of feedback, distortion, and electronic effects, first emerged as a genre in the 1980s, circulating on cassette tapes traded between fans in Japan, Europe, and North America. With its cultivated obscurity, ear-shattering sound, and over-the-top performances, Noise has captured the imagination of a small but passionate transnational audience.

For its scattered listeners, Noise always seems to be new and to come from somewhere else: in North America, it was called "Japanoise." But does Noise really belong to Japan? Is it even music at all? And why has Noise become such a compelling metaphor for the complexities of globalization and participatory media at the turn of the millennium?

In Japanoise, David Novak draws on more than a decade of research in Japan and the United States to trace the "cultural feedback" that generates and sustains Noise. He provides a rich ethnographic account of live performances, the circulation of recordings, and the lives and creative practices of musicians and listeners. He explores the technologies of Noise and the productive distortions of its networks. Capturing the textures of feedback—its sonic and cultural layers and vibrations—Novak describes musical circulation through sound and listening, recording and performance, international exchange, and the social interpretations of media. read more »

David Novak is Associate Professor of Music at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and earned the PhD in Ethnomusicology in 2006, after which he served as a postdoctoral fellow in Columbia's Society of Fellows.

Native Music Today Symposium: Dr. Jessica Bissett-Perea and Lauren Amsterdam (Friday Sept. 21, 4PM)

Event Start: 
Friday, September 21, 2012 - 2:00pm
701C Dodge Hall -- Center for Ethnomusicology

In association with "Native Sounds North and South" concert on Sept. 22 (Saturday), The Center for Ethnomusicology presents a symposium:

Indigenous Music Today: Inuit Cosmopolitanism and Native American Hip-Hop with Dr. Jessica Bissett-Perea and Lauren Amsterdam

Friday Sept. 21
701C Dodge Hall  (Center for Ethnomusicology)

Reception to Follow

Dr. Jessica Bissett Perea
Jessica Bissett-Perea, PhD
(Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow, Dept. of Music, Univ. of California, Berkeley, PhD in Musicology, UCLA, 2011)

“Sounding Traditions of Inuit Cosmopolitanism in ‘Flying Wild Alaska’”
This paper explores circuits of Inuit cosmopolitanism as represented through the soundscapes and imagery of the Discovery Channel’s documentary-style reality television series “Flying Wild Alaska,” (2011-2012). When compared to its counterparts (e.g. “Deadliest Catch,” “Ice Road Truckers,” and “Gold Rush: Alaska”), “Flying Wild Alaska” is notable for portraying the diversity and mobility of Alaska Native and Inuit cultures, in part through the show’s use of contemporary Inuit music as a backdrop to portrayals of modern life in the arctic. From professionalized traditional drumsongs to funk- and jazz-influenced “Inuit World Music,” my musicocultural analysis will illuminate the longer history of Inuit cosmopolitanism throughout the circumpolar region and make audible the literal and figurative histories of Native migration between rural and urban spaces.
Lauren Amsterdam

Lauren J. Amsterdam
(MA, African-American Studies, Columbia University)

"All the Eagles and the Ravens in the House Say Yeah! (Ab)Original Hip Hop Artists and Styles of Heritage"

Young people across Native North America and the First Nations are making beats, spitting rhymes, telling stories, and taking direct action to build the future now. Hip hop artists are reppin’ a radicalized (ab)original heritage that is “everywhere,” but most of all, in hip hop, challenging the limitations of poverty, invisibility, and social dislocation. Confronting the symptoms of invasion—racism, poverty, police violence, inter-generational trauma, and “haters”—artists profoundly demonstrate that the materiality of hip hop is a way of not dying, and of moving past the necessity of surviving to a fuller, thriving political and cultural life. While artists are indeed inheriting loss, they choose to move with loss, not past it, being playful and political with real and imagined memories. Rather than mourn who they would or could have been if the past was different, artists orient themselves towards the potentiality of the future through self-love and communal care, shedding the settler nation's inculcation of shame and alienation.


Discussants: AKU-MATU (Allison Warden), Prof. John-Carlos Perea.


Nora Gamez: "Living in transition: the politics of popular music in contemporary Cuba" (Sept. 22, 6pm)

Event Start: 
Thursday, September 22, 2011 - 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Casa Hispanica, Columbia University - 612 West 116th Street, Room 201, New York, NY

Colloquium announcement:

Nora Gamez

"Living in transition: the politics of popular music in contemporary Cuba"

Ms. Gamez has a MSc. degree in Media and Communication from the London School of Economics and Political Science in the UK.

Presented by CSER, Center for Ethnomusicology and the Department of Latin American Cultures

Location: Casa Hispanica, Columbia University - 612 West 116th Street, Room 201, New York, NY (map)

For further information visit the CSER website.

"Lists of words, inventories and enchanting rites in Brazilian popular song" -- Dr. Elizabeth Travassos

Event Start: 
Monday, February 9, 2009 - 12:00pm
Colloquium and Lunch Discussion

WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 9 (lunch seminar), 12 pm

Dr. Elizabeth Travassos

Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

"Lists of words, inventories and enchanting rites in Brazilian popular song"

“Oyinbo, I go chop your dollar” -- A Talk By Christopher Waterman

Event Start: 
Thursday, October 9, 2008 - 5:00pm - 7:00pm
701C Dodge Hall
“Oyinbo, I go chop your dollar”: Yahoo Boyz, dirty money, and 419 politics in Nigerian popular music
A talk by Christopher Waterman
Dean of the School of the Arts and Architecture, UCLA

Thursday, October 9
5:00 PM
701C Dodge Hall

In Africa as elsewhere, popular music has long been complexly articulated with the struggle to create, texture and defend viable life-spaces under challenging economic circumstances. This talk is a reflection on recent developments in Nigerian popular music, focusing on songs dealing with the 419/internet scammer controversy ("Yahoozee," by Olu Maintain, "No More Yahoozee [The Reply]," by Harri Best Moradiyo, and "Oyinbo, I Go Chop Your Dollar," by Nkem Owoh), and on musicians' reactions to the Central Bank of Nigeria's recent attempt to outlaw the "spraying" of cash at ceremonies.

 read more »