The University of Aberdeen
School of Language, Literature, Music and Visual Culture
University of Aberdeen
Aberdeen AB24 3UB
I am Lecturer in Ethnomusicology at the University of Aberdeen and the Principal Investigator for the European Research Council-funded project ‘Past and Present Musical Encounters across the Strait of Gibraltar’ (2018–23). I completed my Masters and PhD in Ethnomusicology at Cardiff University. Following my studies, I was appointed as a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the University of Cambridge (2014–18) before becoming Senior Research Associate from 2018–20. I have taught ethnomusicology at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels at the University of Cambridge, Cardiff University and the University of Plymouth. I welcome enquiries from potential PhD students working in areas related to my research interests.
My research spans three main areas: the relationship between music and regional identity in nation states; heritage studies; and music, diaspora and postcolonial studies. My doctoral research examined the relationship between flamenco, regionalism and heritage in Andalusia. Based on extensive fieldwork and engagement with political geography, the thesis explored how flamenco has been ‘regionalised’ as an emblem of Andalusian identity and the ways in which this process has been received by flamenco communities, most notably in the city of Granada. This research was published in the monograph Flamenco, Regionalism and Musical Heritage in Southern Spain (Routledge, 2017). I also have additional research interests in soundstudies and change bell ringing in the British Isles.
My current ERC project ‘Past and Present Musical Encounters across the Strait of Gibraltar’ explores how the notion of a collective European-North African cultural memory has been articulated through music for different sociopolitical ends in colonial and postcolonial contexts. Music has been employed as a means of social control and representation during French-Spanish colonialism in North Africa (1912–56) and as a model for multiculturalism and cultural diplomacy among North African communities in Europe today. The project will analyse how modern-day practices of musical exchange in the region are shaped by discourses and networks formed during colonialism. Combining archival research, oral history and ethnographic fieldwork, it brings together different geographical, linguistic and musical specialisms, leading towards an integrated understanding of musical exchange in the region.
My own research within the project explores (post)colonial musical manifestations of a shared heritage between Spain and Morocco, focusing on collaborations between flamenco and Arab-Andalusian musicians. Combining historical and ethnographic research, this project will explore how music can construct and problematise the concept of a shared cultural history between Morocco and Spain. It will trace the emergence of the narrative of a shared musical heritage during Spanish colonialism in Morocco (1912–56). Flamenco’s alleged sonic affinities and historical links with Moroccan Arab-Andalusian music were a useful tool for the legitimisation of Spanish colonialism, but also presented a way for Moroccans to negotiate their position within the constraints of colonial rule. However, such music making has not ended with Moroccan independence, and the colonial narrative of a Spanish-Moroccan ‘brotherhood’ continues to influence music making today. Given the high levels of Moroccan immigration in Southern Spain, musical collaboration is often invoked as a model for interculturalism and as a form of cultural diplomacy with Morocco. But such projects may obscure the realities of immigration, promoting a utopian view of intercultural relations that hides the social exclusion and racism experienced by some Moroccans. Focusing on institutional projects and the musical lives of individual performers, this research proposes the following questions: to what extent do these collaborations help or hinder the integration of Moroccan immigrants and facilitate cultural exchange? How does flamenco and its fusions with Moroccan music factor into perceptions of a shared cultural history and the legacies of Spanish colonialism?
I am currently working towards a monograph tentatively entitled: The Sons of Ziryab: Flamenco-andalusí, Colonial Memory and Moroccan Migration across the Strait of Gibraltar.
I am Principal Investigator for the ERC-funded project 'Past and Present Musical Encounters across the Strait of Gibraltar' project (MESG_758221. 2018–2023), which is set up as a consortium between the University of Aberdeen, the University of Cambridge and the University of Manchester.
I am currently working on a co-edited volume with Samuel Llano and Salwa el-Shawan Castelo Branco entitled Music, Nation and Region in the Iberian Peninsula (under advance contract with the University of Illinois Press).
ERC Starting Grant (€1.5 million) - 'Past and Present Musical Encounters across the Strait of Gibraltar' MESG_785221 (2018–2023).
Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship (2014–2018)
In 2020–21, I will be coordinating the following course:
- MU2527: Introduction to Ethnomusicology
- Further Info
I currently serve as conference liaison officer for the British Forum for Ethnomusicology.