• picture of Aaron Fox
Wed Feb 21, 2018 
3:30pm - 5:00 pm
UCSB Library, Special Research Collections (3rd Floor, Mountain Side)
Abstract: In this paper I will offer a broad view of “repatriation” and “recovery” projects undertaken in recent years by activists and ethnomusicologists working with archives of recorded sound.  Even when such work is focused on applied goals in the present, the turn toward repatriation suggests historical critique of ethnomusicology’s longstanding interdependence with militarism and colonialism. I connect the history of recording and “collecting" Native American music in the early 20th century to the later Cold War context in which contemporary ethnographic ethnomusicology emerged in its current institutionalized form -- in part through a reification of the earlier 20th century archive as ahistorical cultural data,  I interrogate the view of sound “archives” (and the work they have done to discipline our understanding of “music”) as sites of memory and scholarship in order to stress their importance as sites of domination and resistance, suggesting  a phenomenology of the "archival recording" that assumes a history of hegemonic mediation. I advance a specific critique of “repatriation” discourse in ethnomusicology as an ethically fraught domain, however necessary.  The paper is based on 12 years of work “repatriating” recordings from the Laura Boulton Collection at Columbia University. 
Bio: Aaron A. Fox is Associate Professor of Music and Director of the Center for Ethnomusicology at Columbia University. In recent years Fox has focused on issues of cultural and intellectual property and the repatriation of Native American cultural resources, as part of a broader interest in cultural survival and sustainability and music-centered community activism. His current project entails work with several Indigenous communities to return and recover recordings held by Columbia University’s Center for Ethnomusicology, including collaborative work with numerous Indigenous scholar/activists.  Fox's publications on this topic include “The Archive of the Archive” in The Routledge Companion to Cultural Property (2017) and “Repatriation as Re-Animation Through Reciprocity” in The Cambridge History of World Music: Vol. 1 (North America). His book, Real Country: Music and Language in Working-Class Culture, was published by Duke University Press in 2004.
Aaron A. Fox


  1. February 21, 2018 -
    3:30pm to 5:00pm
  • timothy rommen lecture poster

Date: 3:30-5PM January 31, 2018 

Location: Music 1145 


Tools for Un-islanding? The Creole Geographies of Dominica’s Popular Music

Timothy Rommen

University of Pennsylvania

Focusing specifically on the historical trajectories of popular music emanating from the Commonwealth of Dominica starting in the 1970s (cadencelypso andbouyon), this paper develops an inquiry into what I call creole audibility. Creole audibility wrestles with the simultaneous and somewhat paradoxical audibility (within other genres) and inaudibility (as discreet genres) of these creole sounds within and without the Caribbean. I argue that the linguistic, processual, and identitarian uses of the “creole” so thoroughly integrated into analyses of Caribbean social and cultural contexts are inadequate to the Dominican scene and, by extension, to the contemporary moment throughout the region. New questions emerge in light of these Dominican musical trajectories: Can we think about creole sounds as instantiating, following Michel Foucault, a particular type of (very productive) heterotopia? That is, can cadencelypso and bouyon play the role of a sonic mirror that is simultaneously sounding the “there where I am” and the “there where I am not” of the Dominican social imaginary? What might thinking about these genres as sonic mirrors (both utopian and heterotopic, both audible and inaudible, both bounded and borderless) afford us in terms of developing critical purchase on the contemporary dynamics of small places (Dominica) and peripheral spaces (the Caribbean)? Can creole audibility be productively nuanced by recent work in archipelago studies that explores how the ubiquitous presence of the sea informs the relations between simultaneously interconnected yet isolated and discreet spaces? Put otherwise, are cadencelypso and bouyon shaped by an archipelagic (as opposed to an islanded) understanding of space that informs both social imaginaries and sonic possibilities? Finally, can we, in answering these questions, begin to understand the creole sounds of Dominica as decolonial tools—as tools for un-islanding? As Gordon Henderson (the pioneer of cadencelypso) has put it: “Some may say we are divided by the sea. I say we are linked by the sea.” 

Timothy Rommen (Ph.D. University of Chicago, 2002) is the Davidson Kennedy Professor in the College and Professor of Music and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He specializes in the music of the Caribbean with research interests that include coloniality/decoloniality, the political economy of music and sound, creole musical formations, tourism, diaspora, music and spirituality, and the ethics of style. His first book, entitled "Mek Some Noise": Gospel Music and the Ethics of Style in Trinidad (University of California Press, 2007), was awarded the Alan P. Merriam Prize by the Society for Ethnomusicology in 2008. His is also the author of “Funky Nassau”: Roots, Routes, and Representation in Bahamian Popular Music (University of California Press, 2011). He is contributing author to and co-editor, along with Daniel Neely, of Sun, Sea, and Sound: Music and Tourism in the Circum-Caribbean (Oxford University Press, 2014). His current projects include a musical ethnography of Dominica and an edited volume on the political economy of music and sound in Caribbean tourism.



  1. January 31, 2018 -
    3:30pm to 5:00pm
  • the poster of score
Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 7:00pm - 9:30pm
Pollock Theater, UCSB

Score (2016)

Screening format: Sony 4K Digital Projection (93 minutes)

Director: Matt Schrader

Producer: Robert Kraft

This event is free but a reservation is recommended in order to guarantee a seat. 

Reserve Ticket

Tickets will be released on Tuesday, January 9 at 11:00 AM.

Score: A Film Music Documentary follows the creative struggles of designing a modern film soundtrack from scratch. Featuring some of Hollywood's premier composers, the film explores the power and influence of film scores in the modern world and gives viewers a privileged look inside the musical challenges of the process of composing a score.

Producer Robert Kraft will join moderator David Novak (Music, UCSB) for a post-screening discussion.

Watch the film's trailer here.

  1. January 30, 2018 -
    7:00pm to 9:30pm
  • poster of christina dunbar-hester's talk

Date: Saturday, November 4th, 2017, 10:30am - 11:45pm
Location: Girvetz Hall 1004, UC Santa Barbara

KCSB-FM & UCSB's Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Music Present 

Christina Dunbar-Hester
Assistant Professor, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism

A Keynote Lecture, “Low Power to the People: Community Radio and the Challenge of Media Democracy”

"How have activists addressed the media system, and to what effect? In this talk, I survey the last century of broadcast policy, including activism to expand non-commercial media since the Telecommunications Act of 1996. I focus on the activities of advocates for low power FM radio, a highly local medium that has great significance as a noncommercial, community-controlled platform. These activists conducted both policy work and hands-on training in technology with the goal of empowering everyday people. Their experiences contain important lessons for our present media ecosystem."

Christina Dunbar-Hester is a faculty member in the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Science & Technology Studies, and her research focuses on the intersection of technical practice and political engagement.

Part of the U.C. Radio Network Fall 2017 Conference (With a Q&A Featuring Area Low-Power FM Radio Activists)
This Talk is Free & Open to the Public!

Contact KCSB-FM for more information: (805) 893-3921 / /

  1. November 4, 2017 -
    10:30am to 11:45pm
  • Still  image  from  Akounak  Tedalat  Taha  Tazoughai  (Kirkley,  2015:  Niger).

6:30 - AKOUNAK screening
7:45 - Q&A with Prof. David Novak + Filmmaker Christopher Kirkley
8:15 - Carlos Niño Performance
9:00- Mdou Moctar Performance

Date: October 14

Location: Multicultural Center

Admission: Free

Mdou Moctar is a pioneer of Tuareg guitar music, a style that has recently shown up on music charts and at North American music venues and festivals thanks to the popularity of groups like Tinariwen, Bombino, and Terakaft. Based in Agadez in Northern Niger, the youngest guitarist, singer, and songwriter Mdou Moctar is becoming increasingly recognized or his own musical experimentation and boundary-pushing work. 

His 2008 psychedelic-tinged Saharan desert-rock LP Anar was met with success via MP3 networks throughout West Africa. One of its standout tracks was featured on Music from Saharan Cellphones: Volume 1, a 2011 album of rare music complied by U.S. record label Sahel Sounds. This month, Sahel Sounds just released their fifth Mdou Moctar album, Sousoume Tamachek, and his first U.S. tour will appear in person at UCSB’s MultiCultural Center Theater. 

Mdou’s relationship with Christopher Kirkley—the founder of this Portland, Oregon-based world-music label—blossomed further with the 2015 release of Kirkley’s film Akounak Tedalat Taha Tazoughai (Rain the Color Blue With a Little Red In It), which not only pays tribute to Prince’s hit movie Purple Rain, but also to the 1973 Jamaican cult-classic reggae film The Harder They Come. The first ever Tuareg-language film, Akounak tells a fictional story of the struggle of a guitarist trying to make it against all odds in Agadez. (The title reflects how there is no word for “purple” in the Tamasheq language.)

KCSB-FM and UCSB’s Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Music (CISM) will co-present the area debut of Akounak, immediately followed by a conversation and Q&A with writer/director Kirkley and UCSB Professor of Music David Novak. (Showtime is 6:30pm.)

Next up will be an eclectic music set by Los Angeles-based DJ Carlos Niño (of Dublab and KPFK fame), followed by Mdou Moctar and his band performing live at 9pm, a set sure to blend soulful and bluesy guitar work with danceable and high-energy rhythms too.

UCSB’s MultiCultural Center and CISM co-sponsor this all-ages event which is free and open to the public.

  1. October 14, 2017 - 6:30pm
  • poster of martin daughtry talk

Date: 3:30-4:45 PM, Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Location: Music Room 1145

From the standpoint of music studies, the relationship between voice and air is one of figure to ground or event to medium. In comparison to the voice, in other words, the air appears inert, transparent, and theoretically uninteresting. However, in our current era of global warming, airborne particulates, and rising CO2 emissions, air has become front-page news. What insights can we gain from turning the tables on the voice and taking air seriously? This talk brings music studies into conversation with recent writings on climate change to form a new framework for understanding singing and other vocal emissions in the anthropocene. 

J. Martin Daughtry is an associate professor of ethnomusicology at New York University. He teaches and writes on sound studies; acoustic violence; voice; listening; jazz in New York; air; Russian-language sung poetry; and the auditory imagination. 

This event it sponsored by the Department of Film and Media Studies, the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Music (CISM), and the Department of Music. 



  1. May 24, 2017 -
    3:30pm to 4:45pm
  • poster of jocelyne guilbault's talk

Date: 3:30-5PM Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Location: Music Room 1145 

This paper addresses new musical formations that are articulated across places, times, and people and that are openly embraced and promoted by musicians as well as fans today. It explores what Guilbault calls the politics and logics of musical bonding as a processual example of worlding. Numerous studies have focused on the musical connections between centers and peripheries, on musical practices that have traveled from the so-called first countries to the global south. Save some notable exceptions, few studies ahve traced the bonding that musics from the global south have created not just in the West, but also among themselves--in various parts of the global south and Asia. This study examines two musicals practices from the sotuh, soca and zouk from the Caribbean region, to highlight the different logics of cosmopolitan musical bonding, the worlding (ways of thinking and being) they put into motion, the affective relations and the "mattering maps" (Lawrence Grossberg's term) that they generate. 

Professor Jocelyne Guilbault specializes in theory and method in popular music studies, politics of aesthetics, and issues deadling with power relations in music production and circulation. Since 1980, she has done extensive fieldwork in the French Creole- and English-speaking islands of the Caribbean on both traditional and popular music. She published several articles on ethnographic writings, aesthetics, the cultural politics of West Indian music industries, and world music. She is the author of Zouk: World Music in the West Indies (1993), Governing Sound: the Cultural Politics of Trinidad's Carnival Musics (2007), and Roy Cape: A Life on the Calypso and Soca Bandstand (with Roy Cape, 2014)

Sponsored by the Music Department's Distinguished Lecturer Series, Ethnomusicology Forum, and the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Music.

More information: (805) 893-3230 or



  1. May 17, 2017 -
    3:30pm to 5:00pm
  • nomi dave talk poster

Date: March 10, 2017 1 PM

Location: Music Library 2406

In January 2016, a Guinean hip-hop artist, Tamsir Touré, appeared in court for sexually assaulting a young girl. The case had generated intense coverage over several months after a video of the assault was circulated. Tamsir became a local cause célèbre for both feminist activists in Guinea and for his supporters. On the one hand, activists were galvanized by the public display of the crime and the anger that it stirred in Guinea, and took to the streets and airwaves in angry protest. On the other hand, Tamsir’s young supporters and fans made numerous public pleas, including musical ones, for him to be released and for his crime to be forgiven. 

In this talk, I explore the limits of musical activism by considering some of the varied ways in which music has addressed women’s rights and gender-based violence in Guinea. In particular, I consider two songs that are closely connected to the case of Tamsir Touré: one, a UN-commissioned song against sexual violence, and the other, a song calling on Guinean women to forgive Tamsir and his crime. As I argue, rights agencies often assume that music is an empty vessel upon which unequivocal messages can be imposed. Yet as the examples here show, such understanding ignores the ambivalence that musicians and audiences often hold towards women’s rights in Guinea, as well as the local emphasis on forgiveness as a social virtue. In a context in which crimes of sexual violence are to be forgiven, what can music do?

Nomi Dave is Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Virginia. Her research explores the relationship between music, voice, politics, emotion and violence. She is currently completing a book, ‘The Revolution’s Echoes: Music, Politics & Pleasure in Guinea’, which examines the aesthetics and pleasures of authoritarianism. She earned her PhD from Oxford University, and previously taught at Duke University in Music and Cultural Anthropology.
Sponsored by the Ethnomusicology Forum and the IHC's African Studies RFG. 
  1. March 10, 2017 - 1:00pm
  • photo of the presenter

Date: 3:30 PM March 8

Location: UCSB Library Special Research Collections Seminar Room

CISM in the Archive Series: “Curating Sound Stories: Art, Ethnography, and Practice in Special Collections at UCSB”

Ethnomusicologist, sound curator and artist Noel Lobley presents some creative, interactive and performative sound curation, blending examples from his own practice with rare sounds selected from the special collections at UCSB. Noel is an ethnomusicologist and sound curator who works across the disciplines of music, anthropology and sound studies to develop a series of international curatorial residencies. His research and practice in sound curation focuses on ethnographic field recordings and aims to connect local musicians and communities with institutions and audiences. Through extensive fieldwork in sub-Saharan Africa, much of his creative practice takes sound and music recordings out of archives and back among communities. He has collaborated with musicians, sound artists, DJs, composers and performers in South Africa, the UK and throughout Europe and the US to develop creative and responsible ways for recordings to be experienced in spaces ranging from art galleries and museums to schools and township street corners.

  1. March 8, 2017 - 3:30pm
  • poster of the symposium

Date: 6-9PM February 17


An evening of discussion and performance exploring the recent rise of transAsian experimental music networks in an emergent global circulation of new sound art, electronic and improvisational forms, and new media.

If we agree that any creative acts and events are first of all a response to one’s immediate physical and spiritual living environment, China’s sound practice - including experimental music and sound art -- could thus be considered immediate or reflexive responses through the medium of sound to their living contexts. From the late 1990s till today, China’s sound practice has been developing in an increasingly globalized social-economic-aesthetic environment, receiving attentions and investments from the art world, music industry and cultural institutes. However, there has been an ambiguous attitude from the public about its legitimate artistic and academic status.  In this talk, I will discuss the brief history of sound practice in China, its current situations, and its major thematic threads. 

Academically trained in performance studies, Adel Jing Wang received her Ph.D. from the School of Interdisciplinary Art at Ohio University, and is currently an associate professor in the College of Media and International Culture at Zhejiang University.  Her book Sound and Affect: An Anthropology of China’s Sound Practice (Zhejiang University Press, 2015) explores the concepts of freedom, affect and sound through anthropological research on China’s sound culture.   She has published in academic journals including Leonardo, Leonardo Music Journal, Journal of Popular Music Studies, and International Review of Qualitative Research.  Her current research focuses on sound studies, sensory studies, performance studies, and anthropological methods. She works with field-recordings, radio art and recently sound theater, and has organized more than 20 sound events in the city of Hangzhou from 2013 to 2015. From 2013 to 2014, she served as the academic curator of the monthly year–long series “Savaka: Asia Experimental Music Currents” at Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai.  In January 2015, she founded The Sound Lab at College of Media and International Culture at Zhejiang University.

7 PM

Live Performance: James Fei & Kato Hideki

James Fei (b. Taipei, Taiwan) moved to the US in 1992 to study electrical engineering; he has taught at Mills College in Oakland since 2006, where he is Associate Professor of Electronic Arts. He is active as a composer and performer on saxophones and live electronics. Works by Fei have been performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Orchestra of the S.E.M. Ensemble, MATA Micro Orchestra and Noord-Hollands Philharmonisch Orkest. Recordings can be found on Leo Records, Improvised Music from Japan, CRI, Krabbesholm and Organized Sound. Fei received the Grants for Artists Award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts in 2014.

Kato Hideki (Kato: family name; Hideki: given) is a musician, composer & producer who lives in Brooklyn, NYC. His music is often based on narrative elements and topical issues, with a wide range of forms and sounds. His own projects are: Death Ambient with Ikue Mori & Fred Frith; Green Zone with Otomo Yoshihide and Uemura Masahiro; Tremolo of Joy with Charles Burnham, Briggan Krauss, Ed Tomney & Calvin Weston; OMNI with Nakamura Toshimaru and Akiyama Tesuji; Plastic Spoon with Karen Mantler, Douglas Wieselman & Shahzad Ismaily; and the solo works Hope & Despair and Turbulent Zone. As a bassist, he has worked with Eyvind Kang, Karen Mantler, Zeena Parkings, Jim Pugliese, Marc Ribot and John Zorn among many others. Collaborators include Nicolas Collins, James Fei, John King, Christian Marclay & Ursula Scherrer.

This event is organized by the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Music and the East Asia Center, with cosponsorship by Center for Taiwan Studies, L&S, EALCS, English, Film & Media Studies, MAT, and the ISF Shinto Studies Chair.



  1. February 17, 2017 -
    6:00pm to 9:00pm