The Bruno and Wanda Nettl Distinguished Lecture in Ethnomusicology: Performing Blackness: Black Gospel Music in the Netherlands

Event Information
Event Date: 
September 16, 2016 - 4:30pm
Venue: 
Music Building Auditorium
Address: 
1114 West Nevada Street, Urbana
Description: 

The Bruno and Wanda Nettl Distinguished Lecture in Ethnomusicology: Performing Blackness: Black Gospel Music in the Netherlands

Portia K. Maultsby, Laura Boulton Professor Emerita of Ethnomusicology; Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, Indiana University

Cost Free and Open to the Public

Center for Advanced Study; Department of African American Studies; Department of Anthropology; School of Music; European Union Center (Title VI Grant, Dept. of Education)

Speaker:

Portia K. Maultsby, Laura Boulton Professor Emerita of Ethnomusicology; Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology, Indiana University

Abstract:

Since the 1990s, African American gospel music has become a global phenomenon. Its popularity across national, cultural, racial, ethnic, and religious boundaries has resulted in the proliferation of gospel choirs throughout the world. In this new context, Black gospel music is used in diverse ways and serves multiple functions, giving rise to localized meanings and performance expectations. Although African American expatriates occasionally serve as choir directors, many choirs are led by non-African American musicians. With varying success, some directors strive to preserve “original” performance aesthetics and, often, the rituals associated with African American worship settings. Yet others reference black gospel music as inspiration to create localized religious expressions.

As a case study, my presentation will focus on Edith Casteleyn, the Euro-Dutch director of four choirs in the Netherlands performing what she describes as “authentic” Black American gospel music. Specifically, I will examine the processes for translating and negotiating differences in the musical values, cultural practices, religious orientations, and social conventions distinguishing African American and Dutch societies, and the way these differences impact the teaching, performance, and reception of gospel music in this new context.

Admission: 
Free and Open to the Public