Tag Archive for Slobin

Slobin’s Afghanistan Music Recordings, Field Notes Archived Online

Mark Slobin

Mark Slobin

Between 1967-1972, ethnomusicologist Mark Slobin was one of only four Western ethnomusicologists who managed to complete research in Afghanistan before the subsequent Soviet invasion, civil war, and anti-music Taliban regime.

During these five years, Slobin, who retired from Wesleyan 2016 as the Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music, completed a comprehensive documentation of music, culture, language and society in the Afghan North. Given the region’s volatile unrest, no further musical—and by extension cultural—studies have been undertaken since.

Slobin’s rare survey of this time period is now available online through Alexander Street, a producer of online educational resources. “The Mark Slobin Fieldwork Archive, Music in the Afghan North, 1967-1972” draws on materials deposited at Wesleyan’s World Music Archives, directed by Alec McLane. McLane brought Slobin’s work to the attention of Alexander Street. The site packages all of Slobin’s materials: the sound files of folk music recordings, films, hundreds of images and field notes. 

Slobin Elected Member of American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Mark Slobin

Mark Slobin

On April 12, ethnomusicologist Mark Slobin, the Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music, Emeritus, was elected a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is one of 228 national and international scholars, artists and philanthropic leaders who joined the 237th class.

Founded in 1780, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the country’s oldest learned societies and independent policy research centers, convening leaders from the academic, business, and government sectors to respond to the challenges facing—and opportunities available to—the nation and the world. Members contribute to Academy publications and studies in science, engineering, and technology policy; global security and international affairs; the humanities, arts, and education; and American institutions and the public good.

Slobin, who retired from Wesleyan in June 2016, is an expert on East European Jewish music and klezmer music, as well as the music of Afghanistan. Slobin’s career started at Wesleyan in July 1971. He has been president of the Society for Ethnomusicology, president of the Society for Asian Music, and editor of Asian Music. He has been the recipient of numerous prizes, including the Seeger Prize of the Society for Ethnomusicology, the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Award, the Jewish Cultural Achievement Award (for lifetime achievement) from the Foundation for Jewish Culture, and the Curt Leviant Award In Yiddish Studies from the Modern Languages Association (honorable mention). He was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award for Chosen Voices (1989).

Slobin joins philanthropist and singer-songwriter John Legend; award-winning actress Carol Burnett; chairman of the board of Xerox Corporation Ursula Burns; mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani; immunologist James Allison; and writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie in the 2017 American Academy of Arts and Sciences class. Other recipients are Pulitzer Prize winners; MacArthur Fellows; Fields Medalists; Presidential Medal of Freedom and National Medal of Arts recipients; and Academy Award, Grammy Award, Emmy Award, and Tony Award winners.

“In a tradition reaching back to the earliest days of our nation, the honor of election to the American Academy is also a call to service,” said Academy President Jonathan F. Fanton. “Through our projects, publications, and events, the Academy provides members with opportunities to make common cause and produce the useful knowledge for which the Academy’s 1780 charter calls.”

Slobin will be inducted at a ceremony on Oct. 7 in Cambridge, Mass.

Slobin Donates Afghani Instruments to The Met

Mark Slobin, professor of music, professor of American studies, emeritus, recently donated his collection of Afghani musical instruments to The Met museum.

From 1967 to 1972, Slobin traveled to Afghanistan to complete dissertation fieldwork on local folk music of the northern region. Along the way he collected, what are now, extremely rare instruments including, polished river stones, sometimes used as castanets; end-blown shepherds’ flutes; two large fretted lutes known as dutar; both Uzbek and Tajik damburas; and a plethora of other instruments.

His time in Afghanistan was marked by many memorable encounters, such as the “rare, hidden tradition of pre-Islamic shamanism, in which the healer went into a trance, summoning and voicing spirits with the qobuz, a fiddle related to Kazakh and Kyrygyz shamanism.”

Slobin’s full journey with multimedia documentation can be found on the Wesleyan Website and The Met’s blog summarizing the donation is online here.

slobininstruments

Slobin Co-Edits Book on Albany-Based Music in 1850

Book edited by Mark Slobin

Mark Slobin, the Richard K. Winslow Professor of Music, is the co-editor of Emily’s Songbook: Popular Music in 1850s Albany, published by A-R Editions, 2011.

This publication is the first-ever facsimile edition of a “binder’s volume” a personal collection of sheet music, in this case that of a nineteenth-century young woman, Emily Esperanza McKissick of Albany, N.Y,, who must have actively used her volume with her friends and family and who became a long-lived music teacher.Essays by leading American-music specialists illuminate the general themes of this unique volume and also provide detailed information (with copious reference to period source materials) about the McKissick family, musical life in mid-century Albany, the publication history of the forty-six songs, and an analysis of the penciled annotations made by Emily on the music itself. The complete binder’s volume of Emily’s favorite songs—some common, some rare—is presented, cover to cover, as a photographic facsimile.

Slobin Authors Book on Folk Music

Book by Mark Slobin.

Mark Slobin, professor of music, is the author of Folk Music: A Very Short Introduction, published by Oxford University Press, 2010.

According to the publisher, “This is the first compact introduction to folk music that offers a truly global perspective. Slobin offers an extraordinarily generous portrait of folk music, one that embraces a Russian wedding near the Arctic Circle, a group song in a small rainforest village in Brazil, and an Uzbek dance tune in Afghanistan.

He looks in detail at three poignant songs from three widely separated regions–northern Afghanistan, Jewish Eastern Europe, and the Anglo-American world–with musical notation and lyrics included. And he also describes the efforts of scholars who fanned out across the globe, to find and document this ever-changing music.”

Doctoral Students Present Papers at Ethnomusicology Convention

Music department doctoral students presented papers at the Society for Ethnomusicology’s annual convention in Los Angeles, Nov. 10-14. The students presented were Hae-joo Kim, Aaron Paige, Jorge Arevalo Mateus Po-wei Weng, and Min Yang. Kim, Paige and Weng were on a panel chaired by the Rochard K. Winslow Professor of Music Mark Slobin, on global film music analysis.

Several Faculty Receive Promotions, Tenure

Wesleyan has announced the following promotions of faculty, effective July 1, 2010:

Promotion with Tenure

During the academic year, the Wesleyan Board of Trustees maintains an ongoing process of tenure case consideration. During its most recent review, the Board awarded tenure to one faculty member effective July 1, 2010.

Michael Singer, associate professor of biology, was appointed assistant professor at Wesleyan in 2004. Previously he was postdoctoral fellow at the University of Arizona’s Center for Insect Science, in Tucson.

Singer’s research examines the evolutionary ecology of tri-trophic interactions between plants, herbivores and carnivores. In considering

Slobin Author of Film Music Book

Mark Slobin, professor of music, is the author of Global Soundtracks: Worlds of Film Music published by Wesleyan University Press in September, 2008. The collection of essays analyzes the music of films ranging from mainstream and sub-cultural American films through case studies of those from China, India, Indonesia, Egypt, Nigeria, Latin American, and the Caribbean, and includes a variety of key films, periods, and studio practices. Global Soundtracks is the first anthology to suggest methods for understanding how the conventions of standard film music became localized and expanded around the world in many different periods and cinema systems, and to suggest comparative approaches of analysis.