MMaP Receives Award from the Society for Ethnomusicology
At the 2020 Meeting of the Society for Ethnomusicology, the Research Centre for the Study of Music, Media, and Place at Memorial University of Newfoundland was given the Judith McCulloh Public Sector Award. As the SEM website states, the award is given in alternating years to an individual or organization whose “work contributes significantly to public understandings of ethnomusicology.” With this award, the Society has acknowledged the efforts of all of those scholars who have contributed to the Centre’s success since its inception, including Dr. Beverley Diamond, who founded the Centre in 2003 and directed it for many years, current director Dr. Harris M. Berger, acting directors Dr. Kati Szego and Dr. Meghan Forsyth, project coordinator Dr. Joy Fraser, and digital studio coordinator Spencer Crewe, as well as numerous guest producers and student researchers. The award was presented by Dr. Nancy Groce, Senior Folklife Specialist from the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. In her remarks, Groce observed that McCulloh Award was particularly competitive in 2020, with the committee considering twenty-three nominations from seven countries.
MMaP and Its Partners Produce “Good as a (Covid) Concert”: Livestreamed Performances for a Time of Crisis
On July 20, 2020, MMaP partnered with SingSong Inc. (a leading independent record label of traditional music) and the St. John’s Song Circle’s Eleanor Dawson to present another event in our “Good as a Concert” series. The event featured music by three leading performers in the province—multi-instrumentalist Natasha Blackwood, vocalist and accordionist Aaron Collis, and singer and guitarist Sherry Ryan. While there was no in-person audience for this performance, the event was livestreamed for free on MMaP’s YouTube channel. It was a night of inspiring music that continued the themes of our “Good as a Concert” series during this time of global health crisis. A recording of the event will be posted on our YouTube channel later in the year.
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MMaP and Its Partners Produce the Second “Good as a Concert” Event
On February 29, 2020, MMaP partnered with The Rooms (the provincial museum and archives of Newfoundland and Labrador), SingSong Inc. (a leading independent record label of traditional music), and the St. John’s Song Circle’s Eleanor Dawson to present an evening of traditional music and narrative from Newfoundland and Labrador. Offering listeners a chance to hear some lesser-known songs and stories from the province’s vast cultural heritage, the event featured Hubert Furey, Rosemary Lawton, Denis Nash, Jim Payne & Fergus O’Byrne, and Monica Walsh, and was hosted by Eleanor Dawson. Video of this event will be available on MMaP’s YouTube channel in the coming weeks.
MMaP Releases Videos from the Global Spirit Concert of Indigenous Music
In 2008, MMaP and the International Council for Traditional Music organized a four-day colloquium on Indigenous song and dance as cultural property. Indigenous and other scholarly participants came from Canada and the US, as well as Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, and Finland. The culminating event in the colloquium was a concert featuring Indigenous artists. Videos of these extraordinary performances are now available on MMaP’s YouTube channel.
MMaP Presents “Good as a Concert”: A Festival of Traditional Story and Song
On October 19, 2019, MMaP partnered with singers Eleanor Dawson and Jim Payne to present a daylong festival celebrating Newfoundland and Labrador’s rich folk song and narrative traditions. Morning and afternoon events took place in the MMaP Gallery (second floor, St. John’s Arts & Culture Centre) and included thematic sessions on “Captains and Ships” and “Ghosts and Gallows,” as well as a traditional song circle. The festival concluded with an evening concert in Suncor Energy Hall (Memorial University School of Music) featuring performances by prominent local folk singers and musicians. You can find out more about the event here.
New CD Announcement
Work Work Work: Work and Labour History in Song
MMaP is delighted to announce the publication of a new audio publication entitled Work Work Work: Work and Labour History in Song. Produced by SingSong Inc., MMaP, the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Labour, and the Greening Memorial Fund at St. Francis Xavier University, this two-CD set explores the ways that the diverse peoples of Newfoundland and Labrador have used music to think about the role of work in their lives. From picket-line anthems to songs about mining, fishing, domestic labour, woods work, nursing, traditional subsistence practices, and more, the songs in this collection shed light on the many worlds of work in the province. With both traditional and newly composed songs, the discs present powerful performances by some of the province’s finest singers. You can find out more about the publication here.
MMaP Presents LGBTQ+ Choir Event
LGBTQ+ Community through the Arts and Choral Music
On June 20, 2019, MMaP partnered with the Newfoundland and Labrador chapter of PFLAG, the St. John’s Gay Men’s Chorus, and the Bruneau Centre for Excellence in Choral Music at Memorial University of Newfoundland to present “LGBTQ+ Community through the Arts and Choral Music.” The event featured performances by the St. John’s Gay Men’s Chorus and the Spectrum Queer Choir, as well as a panel discussion about queer communities and the arts.
New Book Announcement
Theory for Ethnomusicology: Histories, Conversations, Insights
MMaP is delighted to announce the publication of Theory for Ethnomusicology: Histories, Conversations, Insights (Second edition, Routledge, 2019). Edited by MMaP Director Harris M. Berger and Ruth M. Stone, the book examines key intellectual movements and topic areas in social and cultural theory, explores how ideas from these bodies of work have been taken up in ethnomusicology, showcases the unique contributions that ethnomusicologists have made to dialogue across the humanities and social sciences, and points the way toward new horizons of research. Every chapter in the edition is completely new, with richer and more comprehensive discussions. The book’s contributors include Jayson Beaster-Jones, Harris M. Berger, Esther Clinton, J. Martin Daughtry, Maureen Mahon, Peter Manuel, Katherine Meizel, Matthew Rahaim, Ruth M. Stone, Jane C. Sugarman, Jeremy Wallach, and Ellen Waterman. Find out more about the book here.
MMaP Hosts “An Evening of Ottoman and Turkish Musics”
On February 11, 2019, MMaP hosted a concert of Ottoman and Turkish musics by the renowned ethnomusicologist and performer Dr. Denise Gill. Gill sang and played the kanun (trapezoidal zither), inspiring her audience with powerful music from the Ottoman and Turkish repertoires. You can see excerpts from the concert on MMaP’s YouTube channel.
MMaP’s Music and Culture Lecture Series
Since 2002, MMaP has presented cutting-edge research through its Music and Culture Lecture Series. The series features talks by leading scholars from the discipline of ethnomusicology and beyond; all lectures are free and open to the public. Since 2016, the lectures have been livestreamed from MMaP’s YouTube channel. Information about upcoming talks in the series can be found here. Videos of past lectures are available on our YouTube channel, and abstracts of every talk in the series can be found here.
MMaP Presents Launch Event
The Music of Our Burnished Axes and Songs and Stories of the “Forgotten Service”
On September 11, 2018, MMaP presented a launch event for a new book by Ursula A. Kelly and Meghan C. Forsyth entitled The Music of Our Burnished Axes: Songs and Stories of the Woods Workers of Newfoundland and Labrador (ISER Books 2019). This book is the first comprehensive collection of musical compositions, recitations, poems, and narratives written by, for, and about twentieth-century woods workers in Newfoundland and Labrador. It analyzes the significance of these materials—as both grassroots social history texts and creative and musical contributions—and creates a portrait of a culture shaped by the harvesting of timber. The launch event also celebrated Songs and Stories of the “Forgotten Service,” a museum exhibit recalling the experiences, contributions, and legacies of the Newfoundland overseas foresters of the First and Second World Wars. The event included musical performances, poetic recitations, and remarks by the authors and other scholars of Newfoundland music and culture. A video of the launch can be found on MMaP’s YouTube channel.
New CD Announcement
Ahâk! Ahâk! Moravian Music of the Labrador Inuit
MMaP is delighted to announce the publication of a CD entitled Ahâk! Ahâk! Moravian Music of the Labrador Inuit, an anthology of archival recordings by Labrador Inuit choirs, bands, and musicians spanning seventy years of this unique musical tradition. The CD includes newly remastered versions of tracks from the long out-of-print 1971 LP Nain Eskimo Choir, as well as many recordings from archival and private collections. Included with the CD is a richly illustrated sixty-page booklet, in English and Inuktitut, on the Moravian musical traditions of Inuit Labrador, written by Tom Gordon. You can find out more about the disc here.
MMaP Releases Its First Phone App
Neighbours: St. John’s is an app for iOS and Android phones that presents oral histories from the cultural communities of St. John’s, Newfoundland. Produced by Dr. Meghan Forsyth, the app presents a map of downtown St. John’s, with markers indicating culturally significant sites in the city. Using the GPS technology built into every smartphone, the app allows users to create their own walking tour of St. John’s cultural communities. With inspiring stories and beautiful graphics, the app illustrates the diversity of the city in compelling new ways. The app can be downloaded for free at the iOS app store or the Google Play store. You can view a short video about the app here and find out more here.
MMaP Hosts International Conference
Indigenous Improvisation: Freedom and Responsibility
In July 2018, the International Institute for Critical Studies in Improvisation (IICSI) presented “Indigenous Improvisation: Freedom and Responsibility,” a colloquium produced in conjunction with MMaP and with the support of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and Memorial University. The event explored the role of improvisation in Indigenous cultures, with presentations and performances by Indigenous scholars and musicians from Canada and around the world. More information about the symposium can be found here. Videos of keynote lectures from the symposium can be found in the Special Event section of the MMaP YouTube channel.
MMaP Hosts International Conference
Phenomenology in Ethnomusicology 2018: The St. John’s Conference
In June 2018, MMaP convened a conference on phenomenological approaches in ethnomusicology. Bringing together leading scholars from North America, Europe, and Australia, the conference presented the results of cutting-edge research on music and culture grounded in ideas from the phenomenological tradition of continental European philosophy. For more on this event, visit the conference’s home page or view the presentations on MMaP’s YouTube channel.
New CD Announcement
Ryan’s Fancy: What a Time! Volume 2
Ryan’s Fancy was one of the most important ensembles in the Newfoundland folk music revival of the 1970s. Recipients of the East Coast Music Awards’ Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award, the group released thirteen albums in its career and starred in several acclaimed CBC television productions. Produced by SingSong Inc. and MMaP, Ryan’s Fancy: What a Time! Volume 2 presents twenty-two remastered versions of difficult-to-find recordings from the group’s vast repertoire of Irish and Newfoundland songs. The music is set into context with an essay by Holly Everett and song notes by Meghan Forsyth. You can find out more about the disc here.
MMaP Community Events
MMaP is committed to public humanities programming. Partnering with local organizations, we present a wide range of workshops and talks for the St. John’s community. These have included a lecture on Indian film music by Dr. Jayson Beaster-Jones, a Hindustani vocal workshop by Dr. Matthew Rahaim, and a lecture-demonstration on the musics of Malawi and Ghana by Dr. Steven Friedson. To find out more about MMaP’s events, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, or join our email list.
MMaP Presents Launch Event
The Forgotten Songs of the Newfoundland Outports
On November 30, 2016, MMaP presented a launch event for a book entitled The Forgotten Songs of the Newfoundland Outports: As Taken from Kenneth Peacock’s Newfoundland Field Collection, 1951–1961, by Anna Kearney Guigné (Canadian Museum of History and University of Ottawa Press 2016). The book provides a fascinating glimpse into the musical heritage of Newfoundland. The launch event featured talks and performances by a wide range of scholars and musicians. A video of the event can be found on MMaP’s YouTube channel.
MMaP Presents Film Screening
Music of Survival
In October 2016, MMaP presented a screening of the film Music of Survival. The triumphant story of the Ukrainian Bandurist Chorus, the film examines the roots of a rare and fragile musical tradition. Set against the backdrop of the Second World War, the film focuses on the ways that music and musicians are used and abused by political regimes. The film screening was followed by a public interview with the film’s director, Orest Sushko. An Emmy Award-winning re-recording mixer in both movies and television, Sushko has worked on films with directors David Cronenberg, Barry Sonnenfeld, Guillermo del Toro, and others, on television series such as Orphan Black and Frontier, and on documentaries that include Alan Doyle’s Boy on Bridge. A video of the interview with Sushko can be found on MMaP’s YouTube channel.