Dialogue in Music: Africa Meets North America in Los Angeles
Aim of the Dialogue Series
The aim of the Dialogue series is to promote bilateral relations between Africa and other regions of the world in the field of music. The series brings together composers, performers, scholars, educators, and other interested music practitioners (such as publishers, concert promoters, etc.). Hosted by The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, Department of Ethnomusicology, the “Africa Meets North America” (AMNA) Dialogue Project is scheduled to take place from 22-25 October 2009.
The Dialogue Projects
In August 2001, Churchill College, Cambridge, hosted an international symposium and festival on “Composition in Africa and the Diaspora” and that event has been running biennially at the College since then. While the main theme continued to be the same, the last two events featured special sections titled “Dialogue: Africa Meets Asia” (2003, 2005) and “Dialogue: Africa Meets Latin America” (2005). These preliminary dialogue meetings led to a full-blown symposium and festival titled “Dialogue Between Africa and China in Music,” which took place in Beijing, China, from 16-22 October 2005, and was hosted by the Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing. Over 30 participants from China attended the event, and 27 participants (North America and Europe) were from abroad. The program comprised scholarly papers, lectures, workshops, and live concerts. The concerts included Daolang Muqam of Xinjiang Province, Traditional Music of the Yunnan Minorities, Traditional Chinese Ensemble of Hebei Province, and a program of modern music for traditional instruments by Chinese composers. There was a special concert devoted to the music of the Egyptian composer Halim El-Dabh and another featuring piano music by composers of Africa and the African Diaspora. Additionally, there were workshops on African American gospel choir music and African traditional dance. Two years later the Central Conservatory of Music hosted a second “Dialogue Between China and Africa in Music” from 6-9 November 2007. One year later, from 11-15 July 2008, the Indiranagar Sangeetha Sabha (Indiragar Music Society) in Bangalore, hosted the third dialogue called “Africa Meets Asia in Bangalore, India.”
Future Dialogue Symposia and Festivals: 2010 Africa Meets Europe in Berlin
The Centre for Intercultural Musicology at Churchill College, Cambridge (CIMACC), with Akin Euba as director, organizes these events in collaboration with local institutions.
The events outlined above do not in any way demarcate the potential horizon of the Dialogue series. Indeed, it is hoped that the series will have a multiplier effect, generating not only repetitions of the themes outlined above in different countries, but also new themes, e.g. Asia Meets Latin America, and that institutions other than CIMACC will organize their own dialogues. The idea of building bridges across cultures has been central to Akin Euba’s scholarly, creative and promotional activities for over fifteen years and his vision is that this idea might expand beyond his own activities.
Dialogues in Music Project Director, Akin Euba, Ph.D.
Since 1990, the Centre for Intercultural Music Arts (CIMA, originally based in the UK and of which Akin Euba was the founding director), has organized a biennial international symposium and festival and (from 1995) published a series of books under the general title Intercultural Music. CIMA was recently relocated to Spain, under the presidency of Prof. Dr. Maria Angustias Ortiz Molina of the University of Granada. In 2001, Euba launched the biennial international series on “Composition in Africa and the Diaspora,” mentioned above, which culminated in the creation of the Centre for Intercultural Musicology at Churchill College, Cambridge, England, in 2006. Both the Composition in Africa series and the Dialogue series will now be run under CIMACC’s expanding portfolio.
Euba has continued to be active at Churchill College following his tenure there as an Overseas Fellow during the academic year 2000-1, when he was on sabbatical leave. He is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Music at the University of Pittsburgh.
Africa Meets North America in Los Angeles: 3rd International Symposium and Festival
The initial proposal for the AMNA Dialogue Project was developed in consultation with Kimasi L. Browne of Azusa Pacific University (APU), whose idea it was to approach UCLA as a possible host for the event. Both Browne and Euba are alumni of UCLA. Faculty in the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology approved the proposal on December 13, 2006. Professor Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje, Chair of Ethnomusicology, believes the AMNA Dialogue “will have a major impact on African music research in North America” (DjeDje 2007). Roger Bourland, Chair of the UCLA Department of Music, enthusiastically endorsed the event and suggested that performances by students and faculty in Music be included. This collaboration has been broadened with the professional conference expertise of Cynthia Tse Kimberlin of the Music Research Institute and MRI Press.
AMNA exemplifies a collective spirit and participation in a continuing dialogue between Africa and North America in Los Angeles that will no doubt stimulate our imagination, our thoughts, and our directions for scholarship and creativity in future endeavors.
The program proposed for AMNA will include the following:
1. Scholarly sessions, with papers on music in Africa and the Diaspora having a special focus on intercultural relations between Africa and North America. Presentations will focus on (i) history, (ii) style, (iii) creativity, (iv) performance, (v) aesthetics, (vi) social context, (vi) pedagogy, (vii) scholarship, (viii) reception, (ix) material culture, (x) publishing, and (xi) promotion and marketing
2. Special sessions in which composers and performers discuss their works, illustrated with live or recorded examples. The emphasis will be on works that manifest intercultural relations between Africa and North America
3. Live concerts that demonstrate intercultural relations between Africa and North America
The term, music, in the context of AMNA embraces all musical types that demonstrate or form the basis of intercultural activity involving Africa and North America, including the traditional, popular and the not-so-popular.
In this event, we are concentrating on Africa and North America because another dialogue devoted to Africa and Latin America is envisaged in the near future. Participants in the 2009 Los Angeles event will therefore come mainly from Africa and North America (and possibly also from Europe, for example jazz scholars or artists living in Europe). All participants who have potential contributions that are relevant to the theme will be welcome.
Akin Euba, Director, Centre for Intercultural Musicology, Churchill College, Cambridge (CIMACC), Andrew Mellon Professor of Music, University of Pittsburgh
Cynthia Tse Kimberlin, Executive Director, Music Research Institute (MRI), Point Richmond, CA
Kimasi L. Browne, Associate Professor, Director of Ethnomusicology and Research, Azusa Pacific University, School of Music
Jacqueline Cogdell DjeDje, Chair and Professor, Department of Ethnomusicology, The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music
Kathleen Hood, Publications Director and Events Coordinator, Department of Ethnomusicology, The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music
Donna Armstrong, Chair's Assistant, Department of Ethnomusicology, The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music
Paul Phillabaum, Web Host Consultant, Systems Administrator, UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture
Benjamin Grahl, Webmaster, Adjunct Professor, Azusa Pacific University, School of Music
Martha Rider, Management Services Officer, The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music, Departments of Ethnomusicology and Music