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RAI Blacking Lecture: Lucy Durán

November 14 2017 @ 4:30 pm - 6:30 pm

RAI Ethnomusicology

Fourth Annual RAI Blacking Lecture

The 2017 annual Royal Anthropological Institute Blacking Lecture, named in honour of esteemed ethnomusicologist and anthropologist John Blacking (1928-1990), will be hosted by the University of Cardiff School of Music.

14 November 2017 at 4.30pm

at the Large Lecture Theatre, School of Music, University of Cardiff, Carbett Road, Cardiff CF10 3EB

“Actions speak louder than words” – musical children and film in the “Mali-Cuba project”

Dr Lucy Durán, SOAS

This event is free, but tickets must be booked. To book tickets please go to https://blackingduran.eventbrite.co.uk

This lecture focuses on a musical encounter between children from Mali and Cuba, who took part in workshops and concerts in Havana and Matanzas, Cuba in 2012. The project, entitled ‘Mali-Cuba: music across generations’ (funded by the AHRC-UK), was meticulously documented on video camera, following the daily exchange between four Malian children who had never been out of Mali before, all from celebrated hereditary lineages of musicians, and various groups of Cuban children, mostly from rumba and batá traditions.

Illustrated with video clips from the forthcoming film “Mali-Cuba” (2017), the talk follows how with little adult intervention and no language in common the children move from tentative and shy exchanges, to a gradual discovery of shared musical features, eventually spontaneously swapping instruments and even roles.

This unprecedented and unique exploration of connections between the famed musical traditions of Cuba and Mali through the eyes of children, illuminates how the medium of film is the most effective way to document childhood musicality, in which ‘actions speak louder than words’.  

5 year old Kevin Dedeu (left) (son of Amado Dedeu, leader of the Clave y Guaguancó group from Havana) exchanges instruments with 7 year old Daniel Dembelé from Segou, Mali, one of four Malian children who travelled to Cuba. Kevin is trying his hand at bara, gourd percussion from Segou, and Daniel has a go on okónkolo, one of the three batá drums of Santería.

Lucy Durán (PhD SOAS, BMus MMus King’s College, University of London) is Senior Lecturer in African music at SOAS’s Music Department. Her main regional interests are in West Africa and Cuba. She has been researching music in Gambia, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Mali and Cuba for nearly forty years, and is widely published.

She was Principal Investigator of the research project, ‘Growing into Music’, which documents through film how children learn musical skills and knowledge in specialist traditions of Cuba, Venezuela, Mali, Azerbaijan and North India, available for viewing online. Her film ‘The Voice of Tradition: Bako Dagnon and Family’ won the prize for Best AHRC/AHRB- funded film since 1998 in the AHRC’s Research in Film awards, 2015.

Lucy is an acclaimed music producer, with more than twenty albums and three Grammy nominations to her name, featuring leading musicians from West Africa. Her most recent  album is Ladilikan, http://www.triodakali-kronosquartet.com/ a new collaboration between the renowned Kronos Quartet and the Malian Trio Da Kali, with 5* reviews in the national and international press.

She was also advisor on Mandinka music and culture for the recent remake of ROOTS – the famous TV series based on Alex Haley’s best-selling book. The new series was broadcast in the UK in 2016.


November 14 2017
4:30 pm - 6:30 pm
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