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Feb. 6, 2003, Gazette

Profs get ECMA nods
Some good

Dr. Peter Narvaez
Dr. Peter Narvaez is one of three Memorial faculty members to get nominated for an East Coast Music Award (ECMA).

Dr. Peter Narvaez, Folklore, is one of three Memorial Faculty nominated for an East Coast Music Award (ECMA). Nancy Dahn and Timothy Steeves form Duo Concertante, a group which has been nominated in the classical music category.

Some Good Blues, Dr. Narvaez’s CD, was released in 2002 to popular and critical acclaim. Filled with his unique fingerpicking style and original compositions, Dr. Narvaez’s acoustic blues recordings reflect a style of blues that harkens back to the African-American blues that was developed in the 1920s and 1930s. His style is different from what he refers to as, “what most people think of as blues, with electric guitars, amplified harmonics, and even horn sections.”

Dr. Narvaez cites main influences as those who he saw perform, and with whom he has played over the years, such as Skip James, Mississippi Joe Williams and Sleepy Joe Estes. He also feels that his father and uncle, both Mexican guitar players, greatly influenced his development as a musician. In particular, he learned the hupango beat from them, where the musician slaps the guitar in a percussive manner while playing.

Songwriting is an integral part to Dr. Narvaez’s musicality, and he enjoys, “writing songs in the blues idiom with modern themes.” For example, “Cigarettes and Coffee” is about second-hand smoke, while “Make Some Time”, subtitled “Beeper Blues”, explores pagers, cellphones and other technological devices that interrupt our time.

At the ECMAs, Dr. Narvaez will be playing at several “fringe” events, including a roots/blues extravaganza. He enjoys these unofficial showcases, because, “they are a means for people to play together, especially at an event with a lot of industry professionals around.”

Dr. Narvaez’s CD, Some Good Blues, can be found at Fred’s and O’Brien’s Music stores, as well as through Amber Music at His Web site,, features further detail on this blues musician and ethnomusicologist.