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The Incomplete Film Maker: Reflections of a Dilettante

Prof John Baily, Goldsmiths, University of London

Wednesday 18 October at 5.30 pm

In this seminar John Baily will trace his work as an ethnomusicological film maker, starting with the naïve films he made as a result of research in Herat, Afghanistan, in the 1970s: The Annual Cycle of Music in Herat, The City of Herat and The Shrines of Herat. From 1984–86 he was an RAI Anthropological Film Training Fellow at the National Film and Television School, where he eagerly embraced the principles of observational cinema, and directed Amir: An Afghan Refugee Musician’s Life in Peshawar, Pakistan and Lessons from Gulam: Asian Music in Bradford. He became a strong advocate of the camcorder as a research tool in ethnomusicology and has made several films in the ‘fieldwork movie’ format: Across the Border: Afghan musicians exiled in Peshawar; Tablas and Drum Machines: Afghan Music in California; A Kabul Music Diary and Scenes of Afghan Music: London, Kabul, Hamburg, Dublin. In the more observational cinema style he has also made Ustad Rahim: Herat’s Rubab Maestro.

John Baily is Emeritus Professor of Ethnomusicology and Head of the Afghanistan Music Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has held teaching positions at The Queen’s University of Belfast, Columbia University and Goldsmiths. His research is focused on the music of Afghanistan, starting with two years’ fieldwork in the 1970s and continuing with research in the Afghan diaspora in Pakistan, Iran, USA, Europe and Australia, as well as in Afghanistan itself. He has published numerous articles, CDs, films and three monographs about the music of Afghanistan, the most recent being War, Exile, and the Music of Afghanistan: The Ethnographer’s Tale (Routledge 2016).

‘Film making as musical ethnography’, World of Music, XXXI/3 (1989): 3–20.
‘The Art of the “Fieldwork Movie”: 35 Years of Making Ethnomusicological Films’, Ethnomusicology Forum, 18/1 (2009): 55–64.

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

Location : Royal Anthropological Institute
50 Fitzroy Street
United Kingdom