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REF NO.: 79

SUBJECT: Public lecture on the social and ethical impact of improvisation

DATE: Nov. 24

An eminent jazz scholar and ethnomusicologist will present on the topic, From Freedom Sounds to Senufo Sounds: Social Vision and Improvisation in a Global World, as part of Memorial University’s Research Centre for Music, Media and Place (MMaP) Lecture Series.

The event will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 26, at 7:30 p.m. in the MMaP Gallery on the second floor of the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre.

Drawing on her work on jazz, race and politics in the United States, Dr. Ingrid Monson, Harvard University, will compare and contrast the social meanings of improvisation in jazz before the civil rights era and music in Mali before and after the coup d’etat of 2012.

“My work on Malian balafonist Neba Solo serves as a basis for thinking through the similarities and differences in the social and ethical impact of improvisation in the 21st-century world,” said Dr. Monson.

Dr. Monson is the Quincy Jones Professor of African American Music at Harvard University, holding a joint appointment in the Departments of Music and African and African American Studies. She began her career as a trumpet player and has recently been studying contemporary Senufo balafon. She is a noted jazz scholar and ethnomusicologist with a lifelong interest in the relationships among music, race, aesthetics and politics. She is an award-winning author whose writings include Freedom Sounds: Civil Rights Calls Out to Jazz and Africa (2007), Saying Something: Jazz Improvisation and Interaction (1996) and an edited volume titled African Diaspora: A Music Perspective (2000), in addition to numerous articles and book chapters. She is currently finishing a book called Kenedougou Visions about virtuosic Malian balafonist Neba Solo and working on a series of essays on aesthetics and the body.

The MMaP Lecture Series is sponsored by Memorial University, in collaboration with the School of Music.

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For more information about MMaP and this event, please contact Meghan Forsyth at 709-864-2051 or or visit


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