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Disco discussion

Quebec expert delivers next Music, Media and Culture lecture

Sequined jackets and bell bottom pants are optional later this month when Memorial welcomes a leading pop culture author and professor to campus to explore a hugely popular chapter in modern music.

Dr. Will Straw, a professor in the Department of Art History and Communications Studies at McGill University, will deliver the second in this year’s Music, Media and Culture Lecture Series on Thursday, Nov. 20.

His talk – entitled Music in the Wrong Place: Disco Music in Quebec – is bound to catch the eye of many who fondly remember that musical era.

“In the late 1970s, the music industry trade magazine Billboard called Montreal one of the three international capitals of disco music,” said Dr. Straw, the author of more than 60 articles on film music, media and cultural studies and the co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Popular Music.

“Dance music flourished in Quebec during the late 1970s. Through an analysis of artists and recordings, I will show how disco music, with its emphasis on instrumental passages and regular use of distorted vocals, found its place within a culture marked by an intense debate over language and its political meaning. I will focus on the career of Pierre Perpall, a disco recording artist sometimes called the ‘first Afro-Quebecois star.’”

Dr. Straw is the author of the upcoming book Popular Music: Scenes and Sensibilities and serves on the editorial boards of numerous journals, including Screen and Theory and Critique. His current research focuses on New York tabloid culture of the 1930s.

The lecture takes place on Nov. 20, at 7:30 p.m., in the Music, Media and Place Gallery in the Arts and Culture Centre, which is located in the northeast corner of the building.

The lecture is sponsored by the Memorial University’s Research Centre for the Study of Music, Media and Place (MMaP). The series showcases diverse research areas, approaches, and presentation styles in the field of music.

The event is open to the public and is free of charge. Parking is available in the Arts and Culture parking lot.