Professor Fernando Arenas is the organizer of our Department's International Symposium on Popular Music Studies: African Musics of the Portuguese- and French-speaking Worlds. The event kicked off with a screening at the Walker Art Center of Fados, another music film by Carlos Saura, in collaboration with the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Film Festival (MSPIFF). You can hear some fado music here. The relation between the European colonial powers and their former colonies, the voyages and exchanges of people, rhythms and their musical practices is a passion shared by many in our department, so the opportunity to hear them share their work in this area was very exciting.
The program included talks on: music in African cinema, Congolese Rumba in all its forms, the music of Cape Verde and especially the "divas" such as Cesaria Evoria who sing in Kriolu, the emergence of Kriolu rap (not well-known at all in the U.S.) and presentations on Mozambican and Angolan music in the struggles and politics of those countries. The keynote by world-renowned ethnomusicologist Gerhard Kubik brought us us a glimpse of his fifty years of engagement with the musics of Africa and the African Diaspora.
Off-campus, the Cedar Cultural Center hosted the Cape Verdian singer Carmen Souza, and Monday April 27, Gerhard Kubik presents another talk about his experiences as a jazz musician and scholar of music in South Africa: "Transformations and Reinterpretations of American Jazz: An Inside acount of Jazz Performances in Southern Africa, 1960s to Now".
Professor Arenas' talk about Cape Verdean singers gave us a historical and cultural context for understanding the appearance on world scene of singers such as Césaria Evora, Lura, Mayra Andrade, and Carmen Souza .
Did you attend any of the events? Your comments and questions are welcome! More details, links, and pictures to come.