The Department of Music recently hosted a series of events focused on the musics of the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia as part of the City Summer Sounds festival.
The latest instalment of the bi-annual Middle East and Central Asia Music Forum, convened by Head of Department Dr Laudan Nooshin and Dr Rachel Harris (SOAS, University of London), took place on Monday 22 May. Alongside scholars from institutions within the UK, the day included speakers from as far afield as Israel and the United States. Laudan was part of a roundtable discussion in the afternoon, with Tom Parkinson (Royal Holloway, University of London) and Dr Abigail Wood (University of Haifa), which focussed upon ‘The Ethics and Aesthetics of Studying Music in Situations of Conflict and Violence: Perspectives from the Middle East’. Also presenting her research was City PhD student Gabrielle Messeder, whose paper explored competing political narratives from the Syrian Civil War through musical examples shared and circulated on YouTube.
PhD Music student Gabrielle Messeder
In the evening of 22 May, the Performance Space hosted a performance by Syrian Kanun player Maya Youssef and her Trio. Performing pieces from her recently-recorded debut album, the evocative Syrian Dreams was a particularly moving highlight of the evening.
On Tuesday 23 May, a one-day conference convened by Visiting Lecturer and department alumnus Dr Stephen Wilford focussed upon Music, Technology and Digital Cultures in the Middle East and North Africa. The event brought together scholars, filmmakers, musicians and industry professionals to consider the role of technology and digital culture in the Middle East and North Africa, in both historical and contemporary contexts. The final session of the day included a presentation by Dr Cristina Moreno Almeida (King’s College London) and Moroccan rapper Omar Souhaili (aka Dizzy DROS), and a discussion between Nathan Comer (Masåfåt Festival, London and Cairo) and City PhD student Sam Mackay. The conference was part of the Music and Digital Cultures in the Middle East and North Africa project, and was supported by both City, University of London and the Institute of Musical Research.
Music PhD student Sam MacKay in discussion with Nathan Comer (Masåfåt Festival, London and Cairo)
Stephen Wilford, City Visiting Lecturer and PhD Music alumnus