5 December. 50th BEAM meeting with Ananya Kabir: Transoceanic creolisation and the music and dance of Goa

The 50th BEAM meeting will be held at Humboldt University’s Department of Musicology, Am Kupfergraben 5, Room 501, at 6 PM.

Prof. Dr. Ananya Kabir (King’s College London) will investigate “Transoceanic creolisation and the music and dance of Goa”.

Portuguese Goa was at the centre of a web of music and dance that stretched across the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. For centuries, this web connected the Goan people with expressive culture enjoyed by their counterparts in Brazil, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Angola, Sri Lanka, the Malaccas, and, of course, Portugal. Into this transoceanic inheritance also flowed songs, dances, and stories deriving from Goa’s position in the Deccan peninsula in Southern India, and on the Konkan coastline. What kind of an imagination arose from this unique cross-cultural transfusion, and what can it tell us about Goa then and now?

In answer, I turn to Rápsodia Iberia-Indiana, a collection of ‘Hispanic, Portuguese, and Goan songs and dances’, composed by Carlos Eugenio Ferreira of Margao, South Goa, and published as a booklet of musical scores from the Goan publishing house Rangel in 1929. I read the oeuvre of the eclectic, erudite, and maverick Ferreira, preserved in the personal archives of the Ferreira family, as the tip of an iceberg: Portuguese Goa’s centuries-old music and dance history that encompasses villancicos, motets, contradanças, polkas, mazurkas, and waltzes, as much as the local genres of mandos, dulpods, and dekhnis. This complex material is presented in the talk as evidence of a transoceanic creolisation of mentalités. Opening thus the door to possible ‘Creole Indias’, the talk will conclude with some glimpses of their fate in the postcolonial present.

Ananya Jahanara Kabir is Professor of English Literature at King’s College London. She researches the intersection of the written text with other forms of cultural expression within acts of collective memorialization and forgetting. Through an ERC Advanced Grant (2013-2018), she led an interdisciplinary investigation into African-heritage social dance and music across language worlds. She is spending 2019 at the Freie Universität, Berlin, as a recipient of the Humboldt Forschungspreis (Humboldt Prize. The author of Territory of Desire: Representing the Valley of Kashmir (2009) and Partition’s Post-Amnesias: 1947, 1971, and Modern South Asia (2013), she is currently writing ‘Alegropolitics: connecting on the Afromodern Dance Floor.’ Her new research projects explore further the concepts of transoceanic creolization through cultural production across the Atlantic and Indian Ocean worlds.

17 November. Sweet Tassa (Film Screening/Q&A) with Christopher L. Ballengee

Brought to Trinidad by indentured laborers from India who first arrived in 1845, tassa drumming has become an important marker of Indian Trinidadian cultural identity. The film SWEET TASSA explores both musical and socio-political elements of tassa performance, focusing on the life and family of noted drummer Lenny Kumar. As the story unfolds, tassa emerges as a metaphor for Indian Caribbean culture, rooted in India while also thoroughly Caribbean.

Filmmaker Christopher L. Ballengee is an ethnomusicologist and Associate Professor of Music at Anne Arundel Community College (Maryland, USA). Dr. Ballengee’s research on tassa drumming is based on fieldwork in Trinidad and the Trinidadian community in Florida since 2007. He was most recently the inaugural Diego Carpitella Visual Ethnomusicology fellow at the Giorgio Cini Foundation (Venice, Italy) which supported the production of the feature-length documentary film Sweet Tassa: Music of the Indian Caribbean Diaspora (2019). His current work includes co-editing a collection of essays on Indian-Caribbean visual and performing arts and developing a comparative project researching dhol-tasha drumming and related genres throughout the Indian indenture diaspora.

At the Musicology Department, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Am Kupfergraben 5, room 501, 3 PM.

BEAM Autumn Write-In 18 November

The first BEAM Write-In was an experiment and a we were all surprised at how productive it was.

On Monday, November 18 BEAM will hold the BEAM Autumn Write-in at the Ethnological Museum in Dahlem.  From 10 AM to 3 PM we will work in silence on our own current writing  projects with regular check-ins, celebrations of our successes, and chatting over coffee and lunch.

Reconnect with a writing project that’s been lying dormant, share about  your research, find out about your colleagues’ research, and get support, tips, and feedback when you need them.

Please write to co-conveners Stefanie Alisch or Sydney Hutchinson to sign up as space is limited; when you sign up, you will receive more detailed directions.

BEAM Summer Write-In at the Ethnological Museum

On Wednesday, Sept. 18 BEAM will hold a summer write-in at the Ethnological Museum in Dahlem. From 10 AM to 3 PM we will work on our own current writing projects with regular check-ins, celebrations of our successes, and chatting over coffee and lunch. Share about your research, find out about your colleagues’ research, and get support, tips, and feedback when you need them. Please write to co-conveners Stefanie Alisch or Sydney Hautchinson to sign up as space is limited.



13 June 2019: Martin Greve and Yaprak Melike Uyar

The 48th BEAM meeting will be held at Humboldt University’s Department of Musicology, Am Kupfergraben 5, Room 501. Two visiting scholars working on Turkish music, Martin Greve and Yaprak Melike Uyar, will speak on their recent research. We meet 6-8PM on Thursday, June 13. All are welcome!

Martin Greve (Orient-Institut Istanbul) will speak on “The Sound of Dersim: Musical Tradition and Revival in an Eastern Anatolian Province.”

In many aspects the eastern Anatolian region of Dersim (Tunceli) differs from its neighbouring provinces: until mid-20th century only a small minority spoke Turkish, main languages where Zaza and Kurmanci, until
1915 also Armenian. Moreover, it is the only province of Turkey with
an Alevi majority. It’s previously rich musical traditions, however,
including songs, extended laments, and alevi hymns have hardly survived
the manifold terror of the 20th century. In 1937/38 Dersim suffered a
military operation ending up in massacres on the population, and forced
resettlement to west Turkey. Later violent operations of the PKK and the
Turkish army against them, led to massive migration to Western parts of
Turkey and Europe. The lecture aims to describe the difficult and still
ongoing research within a traumatized and highly politicized society, as
well as the efforts of Europe and Istanbul based musicians such as Metin
& Kemal Kahraman, Ahmet Aslan, or Mikail Aslan to revitalize the ruins
of their musical culture.

Yaprak Melike Uyar (Research Fellow, Freie Universität Berlin) will speak on “Cultural Omnivorousness and Turkish Psychedelic Music.”

The most artistically productive years of Turkish popular music started in the late sixties, and followed with the Anatolian pop/rock movement of the 1970s, signifying a localized version of psychedelic rock, and rock’n roll. However, following the 1980 military coup, Anatolian pop/rock experienced a dramatic decline as many recordings were destroyed under the new political and cultural oppression, while others were forgotten, and abandoned in mouldy basements. Thanks to the efforts of DJs interested in bringing local music back to the scene, and the nostalgic revival of vinyl culture, Turkish popular music from the 1970s was resurrected in the second half of the 2000s, and gained a popularity that no other musical movement from Turkey had ever previously achieved. Many of the Anatolian pop/rock records were recently re-discovered by the record diggers and reappeared in Turkish psych compilations in the last decade or so. In the new millennium, Anatolian pop/rock gained a new label in the global music market: ‘Turkish psychedelic’.

This lecture explores Turkish psychedelic music with the aid of concepts such as orientalism and cultural omnivorousness. Cultural omnivorousness, a term introduced by Richard Peterson in 1992, defines a wide array of cultural tastes, including what was previously defined as highbrow and lowbrow, while neglecting the hierarchical cultural boundaries among genres. Using a mixture of ethnographic and archival methodologies, this lecture aims to define Turkish psychedelic as a genre, as well as the processes in the music industry which resulted in its use as an umbrella term for both Anatolian pop/rock, jazz, Arabesk, funk, pop, and disco music that were all produced in Turkey during the 1970s.


Further information on the speakers:

Martin Greve is a musicologist and ethnomusicologist. His research focuses on the music of Turkey. Dr. Greve’s dissertation deals with the history of Turkish art music in the 20th century. In 2003, he completed his habilitation with an examination of Turkish music in Germany. He taught ethnomusicology, Turkish music, and intercultural competence at various universities and music academies in Germany and Switzerland. These include: TU Berlin, FU Berlin, Universität der Künste Berlin, Universität Basel, Universität Heidelberg and the conservatories in Stuttgart and Cologne. He was commissioned by the migration and integration representatives of the city of Berlin to write pamphlets on Turkish and Korean life in Berlin. From 2005 to 2011, Dr. Greve was director of the Turkish music study program at the Rotterdam World Music Academy (part of Codarts Rotterdam). From 2007 to 2011, he was an advisor to the Berlin Philharmonic for the “Alla Turca” concert program. When the city of Essen was named European Capital of Culture for 2010, he was artistic director of the interreligious concert program “Night Prayer.” Since May 2011, Dr. Greve has been a research fellow at the Orient-Institut Istanbul. He is responsible for musicological research at the Institute.

Yaprak Melike Uyar is an ethnomusicologist. Her main research interests are jazz and popular musics of Turkey, and music of the Mevlevi Order of Sufism. With her dissertation on “Jazz in Turkey: The Cultural Connotations and the Processes of Localization”, she earned her PhD degree in musicology from the Turkish Music State Conservatory of Istanbul Technical University. She completed her M.A. degree in ethnomusicology at ITU MIAM, with her thesis on “The Commodification of Whirling Dervish Rituals”. She worked at Turkish Music State Conservatory as a lecturer for 6 years, and taught the courses of ‘History of Popular Music’, ‘Jazz Appreciation’, ‘History of Turkish Popular Music’, and ‘Popular Music Studies’. She also worked as a part-time lecturer at Bilgi University, and taught the courses of ‘History of Jazz’ and ‘Music and Gender’. Yaprak Melike is also a DJ, performing at various venues of Istanbul with an eclectic genre selection ranging from afro-beat to disco, psychedelia to jazz. She hosted radio programs at Turkish National Radio, Acik Radio and Radio Adidas Originals. Recently, she is working a research fellow at Freie Universität Berlin, at the Critical Thinking program.

9 May 2019: Ronald Radano

the 47th BEAM meeting will be held at Humboldt University’s Department of Musicology, Am Kupfergraben 5. Ronald Radano will present a talk on his current research entitled “Black Sound Objects (Persons and Things).” We meet 6-8PM on Thursday, May 9. All are welcome!


It is commonplace to hear people say that black music in its multiple forms is expressive of the racially identified black body.  But what does this really mean?  In this paper, I want to explore this notion by turning to two key moments in the constitution and conceptualization of black music.  In the first, which develops during the era of US slavery, black music emerges as an equivalence of the “Negro” body itself: the sound of an objectified, person-thing who was thought to be inherently audible.  In this instance, black music is established as inalienable, being inextricably linked to a human “sound object,” whose racial nature precludes the exchange and transfer of its audible features.  In the second, which arises during the period when travelers begin to make sound recordings of African performances as part of Germany’s colonizing mission, the character of black music enters into a new mode of objectification.  At this point, what was first thought to be inalienable and beyond exchange becomes material and alienable, making it accessible for analysis and, ultimately, commodification. The linkages and tensions between these two formations of the black sound-object would establish a generative logic for the subsequent creation of black music as a modern form, which, in turn, would feed back onto the past, reconceiving “African music” as popular music’s point of origin.

Ronald Radano is Professor of African Cultural Studies and Music at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was a senior fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities from 2013 to 2017. After studying music composition at Rowan University, he completed his PhD in musicology at the University of Michigan. Radano then spent a few years at the Smithsonian Institution, where he researched American music and helped plan the launch of the Jazz Masterworks Editions publication series. Radano’s main area of specialization is US black music as a historical phenomenon and in its transnational circulation. Currently he is in Berlin as a fellow of the American Academy.

Radano is the author of two award-winning books: New Musical Figurations: Anthony Braxton’s Cultural Critique (Chicago, 1993) and Lying up a Nation: Race and Black Music (Chicago, 2003). He is co-editor of Music and the Racial Imagination (Chicago, 2000) and Audible Empire: Music, Global Politics, Critique (Duke, 2016). He has published widely, including articles in Musical Quarterly, Daedalus, Critical Inquiry, Modernism/Modernity, Radical History Review, and boundary 2, and co-edits two book series, Refiguring American Music (Duke) and Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology. A Guggenheim Fellow in 1997, Radano has received recent grants from the German Academic Exchange Service and Mellon Foundation, and fellowships from the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University and the Rockefeller Foundation’s initiative at the University of Pennsylvania.  Work initially begun at Harvard will result in the publication of his forthcoming study in music aesthetics, Secret Animation of Black Music: A Theory of Value.


24 January 2019: Saida Daukeyeva (guest lecture, Institute of Musicology, HU)

46th BEAM meeting – Dr Saida Daukeyeva, Guest Lecture, Institute of Musicology, HU)

We warmly invite you to our next BEAM meeting, which will take place on 24 January 2019 at 6pm at the Institute of Musicology, Humboldt University of Berlin (Am Kupfergraben 5, 10117 Berlin, room 501).

Together we would like to attend the guest lecture by Dr Saida Daukeyeva who is going to talk about ‘Throat-Singing and the Turkic Revival in Central Asia.

As always, we will go to one of the nearby pubs afterwards and you are, of course, very welcome to join us.

We look forward to seeing you at the lecture!





Am 24. Januar um 18 Uhr s.t. findet unser nächstes Treffen statt, zu dem wir Sie und euch herzlich einladen möchten.

Wir möchten gemeinsam den Gastvortrag von Dr. Saida Daukeyeva zum Thema Throat-Singing and the Turkic Revival in Central Asia“, am Institut für Musikwissenschaft der HU Berlin besuchen (Am Kupfergraben 5, 10117 Berlin, Seminarraum 501).

Nach der Sitzung werden wir wie immer gemeinsam den Abend in einem naheliegenden Lokal ausklingen lassen.

Wir freuen uns auf euer/Ihr zahlreiches Erscheinen!