• image of poster for Nagoski talk
Wednesday, October 30th
5:00-7 PM
UCSB Library Special Research Collections Seminar Room
UCSB Library presents a talk-and-record-listening event by researcher and record producer Ian Nagoski. At the height of immigration to the United States 100 years ago, a wave of people from the collapsing Ottoman Empire settled in the U.S. At the same time, the burgeoning record industry in and around New York City radically hastened the distribution of musical cultures and documented thousands of performances by performers from present-day Turkey, Syria, Armenia, Lebanon, Egypt, and Greece within the U.S. And then, for a half-century, those recordings were neglected. Who were these musicians? Where did they go? How did their work affect America? Nagoski illuminates a world-within-a-world of a musical culture as it developed over two generations, reveling in the specific and presenting little-heard masterpieces.   
Ian Nagoski is a music researcher and record producer based in Baltimore, Maryland. For more than a decade, he has produced dozens of reissues of early 20th century recordings in languages other than English for labels including Dust-to-Digital, Tompkins Square, his own Canary Records, and others. His enthusiastic talks have been hosted at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C., the Onassis Cultural Center in Athens Greece, the University of Chicago, and New York University, and he has presented his work in installation at the Museum fur Naturkunde in Berlin Germany, the Wellcome Center in London England, and the Peale Center in Baltimore Maryland. A fragment of his work is included on the MoonkArk, the first object to be permanently installed on the moon, in 2020.
"Nagoski is a Walter Benjamin visionary, using his collection of 78s to hallucinate a history that actually happened but which remains hidden beneath official dogma and nationalisms.” - Marcus Boon, the Wire

"Nagoski's approach is great, because he's got a DJ's ear, and he's got this historian's perspective. He's looking at these songs as somewhere between a poem and an autobiography." - Jace Clayton, DJ/rupture

"His work is so rare and important that it should almost be treated as a ritual object, a pathway to the past and a voice for ghosts of a forgotten part of American musical history." - Nate Wooley, SoundAmerican

Listen to the podcast recording here!
Co-sponsored with UCSB Library and the Center for Middle East Studies
  1. October 30, 2019 - 5:00pm to 7:00pm
  • alexandra lippman talk poster
Wednesday, June 5th
3:30 - 5 PM (followed by reception and live DJ set)
MUS 1145
In anticipation of hosting the World Cup (2014) and the Olympics (2016), Rio de Janeiro intensified efforts to craft an auditory experience of the city that would convey the right impression to a global audience. Music and sound have long served as symbols of Brazil. I discuss how aurality becomes a political force through the emergence of two distinct forms of sonic politics around local popular music, funk carioca: criminalization and, what I call, culturalization. While criminalization mutes and controls an existing sensory world, culturalization creates an artificial or sanitized representation of sound and appeals to law to claim legitimacy as “culture.” Funk carioca’s criminalization in favelas and culturalization in the formal city reveals how different modes of governance are spatialized within the city. 
Alexandra Lippman is an Assistant Project Scientist in the Department of Anthropology at UCLA. Her manuscript, Opening Culture: Intellectual Property, Piracy, and Pacification in Brazil explores how alternative intellectual property practices impact creativity, technology, and music. She has published in Anthropology Today, Tapuya: Latin American Science, Technology and Society and Norient, has several book chapters published by MIT Press, and co-edited a volume, Gaming the Metrics: Misconduct and Manipulation in Academic Research (MIT Press, 2019). She also engages with multimodal scholarship through sound performance and curation, having founded the Sound Ethnography Project in 2010 and co-founded the music label and project Discos Rolas in 2018.
**Event to be followed by an end-of-year party and live DJ set by Dr. Lippman (aka Xandão) in the Music Bowl**
  1. June 5, 2019 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm
  • Zimbabwe Solidarity concert poster

Date: May 15, 2019, 6-9PM

Location: Loma Pelona Center 

Fashion exhibition by Cameroonian Textiles Expert Zingha Foma, Concert by award-winning, Zimbabwean musical guest Tanyaradzwa Tawengwa, and African drumming by Healing Rhythms. Event is free and dinner is provided!

Tropical Cyclone Idai hit eastern Zimbabwe (and Mozambique and Malawi) in March, causing unprecedented destruction of life from a natural disaster in the region. Homes and whole sections of towns and infrastructures were swept away, and hundreds died and thousands went missing and are presumed dead. This Pan-African Homecoming concert and exhibition at UCSB seeks to augment an on-going campaign to raise $10,000 to help relieve and rehabilitate those directly affected in Zimbabwe. It complements efforts by the Zimbabwe Musicians ’ Union, citizens, government and relief organizations on the ground. Please donate on this link or during event: Please join us in this mushandirapamwe (collective work in solidarity)!

  1. May 15, 2019 - 6:00pm to 9:00pm
  • nate hun poster
May 8, 2019
3:30 - 5 PM
MUS 2406

Between 1975 and 1979, a majority of Cambodian music and films were destroyed under the communist leadership of the Khmer Rouge. One of their main policies targeted those influenced by the west; foreign influences were set to be abolished and eliminated at any cost. Anyone in possession of this music would have been automatically deemed a traitor. Musicians, artists, singers and others were inevitably destined for death, whether a result of execution, starvation, disease, or malnutrition: a third of the population suffered the same consequences. No original studio recordings are thought to have survived, and only a mere 50 or so films out of 500+ titles were lucky enough to shine through the lens of a projector again. Despite the Khmer Rouge falling out of power in 1979, most collectors continued to hold their collections private. To find the music in its original quality was nearly impossible. Copies of the music that did survive did so in low fidelity, via cassette tapes copied over and over before reaching the market, and many CD productions added synthesized drum overdubs in the 90’s. The Cambodian Vintage Music Archive works to recover and digtially restore vinyl recordings of Cambodian popular music from the pre-Khmer Rouge “golden age” in the highest quality possible.

Nate Hun is a Cambodian music/film enthusiast hoping to revive this lost culture. He worked with director John Pirozzi on the documentary film “Don’t Think I’ve Forgotten: Cambodia’s Lost Rock and Roll” (2014) as an associate producer, and also co-founded the Cambodian Vintage Music Archive, which aims to locate collectors to preserve digital copies of Cambodian popular music recordings. Through increased awareness and global popularity, recovered materials have slowly resurfaced for the first time in over 40 years. Nate Hun is also featured in LinDa Saphan’s debut film, “Nate From Lowell, MA” (2016), which will be screened before the talk.

Music Archive Restores Lost Cambodian Culture (June 2019) 


  1. May 8, 2019 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm
  • ruth Rosenberg's poster

Wednesday, April 10, 2019 | 3:30-5 pm Music Room 1145, UC Santa Barbara

432 Hz music is a relatively recent internet-based phenomenon that has attracted listeners and musicians from all parts of the world. Increasingly connected via social media, a community of listeners has emerged that is diverse in musical taste and proclivity, but has in common a belief that music tuned to the standard pitch of A-440 Hz is “out of tune” with nature and humanity. Instead, they find music tuned to an A-432 Hz standard provides a better listening experience and could be beneficial to listeners physically, psychologically, even spiritually. Drawing from research into the historical and scientific claims made by 432 Hz advocates, as well as from data collected from dedicated 432 Hz listeners, this talk will examine the promise of—and skepticism towards—the concept of “frequency” in this context. It will ask how the 432 Hz phenomenon relates to other internet-based forms of music consumption, self- tracking and wellness trends, and what Anahid Kassabian has called today’s culture of “ubiquitous listening.”

RUTH E. ROSENBERG is Associate Professor of Music at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she teaches courses in musicology and ethnomusicology. Her first book (and ongoing work) concerns the place of music and sound in 19th-century French travel writing. Her most recent work concerns the history of tuning standards and the 432 Hz music phenomenon, with special focus on the experiences of dedicated listeners.

Cosponsored by UCSB Ethnomusicology Forum, Music History and Theory Forum, and the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Music (CISM)


  1. April 10, 2019 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm
  • amanda weidman's poster

Wednesday, February 6, 2019, 3:30-4:45 pm

Music Room 1145

This talk will examine the reorganization of singing voices and vocal aesthetics in the music of Tamil cinema, contrasting the ideals for male and female voices from the 1960s and 70s with new ideals that have emerged since the 1990s, in the wake of India’s economic and cultural liberalization. Based on ethnographic research among playback singers, music directors, and sound engineers in the Tamil film industry, the talk will show how two now-salient aesthetics of vocal sound, “husky” and “raw,” index different, and distinctly gendered, orientations to Tamil ethnolinguistic belonging and claims to global cosmopolitanism in the post-Liberalization context. In doing so, it will explore the structures of voicing that are afforded by particular ways of cultivating the sonic/material voice.

AMANDA WEIDMAN is a cultural anthropologist with interests in music, sound, media, performance, linguistic anthropology, semiotics, and technological mediation. Within South Asia, her research focuses on Tamil-speaking South India. She is currently at work on a book project on playback singing in Indian cinema, a system where singers’ voices are first recorded in the studio and then “played back” on the set to be matched with actors’ bodies and other visual images in song sequences. This project situates the new forms of vocal sound and performance practice, celebrity and publicity, and affective attachment to voices that have been generated by this division of labor between voice and body, singing and acting, within the cultural and political context of South India from the late 1940s to the present.

Co-sponsored by the UCSB Music History and Theory Forum and Ethnomusicology Forum and the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Music (CISM).

  1. February 6, 2019 - 3:30pm to 4:45pm
  • poster for robert millis and hisham mayet talk
Date: Wed, 01/30/2019 - 3:30pm
Event Location: Special Research Collections

CISM in the Archive presents "Re-collecting the Global South" with sound artist Robert Millis and filmmaker Hisham Mayet of the Sublime Frequencies collective on Wednesday, January 30, 2019 at 3:30 pm at UCSB Library, Special Research Collections (3rd floor, Mountain Side). Millis and Mayet will share their work reissuing global popular and folk music recordings on Sublime Frequencies, an important audio and video label, and discuss their recent curated reissues of ethnographic texts, audio, and photographs by mid-century ethnomusicologists Deben Battacharya and Charles Duvelle. Co-sponsored by UCSB Library and the Center for Interdisciplinary Study of Music (CISM). Event is free and open to the public.

Robert Millis is a musician, Fulbright scholar and sound artist. He has curated many releases and films for Sublime Frequencies, the most recent being the book Paris to Calcutta: Men and Music on the Desert Road, and authored the books Indian Talking Machine for Sublime Frequencies and Victrola Favorites for Dust-to-Digital. Performing solo and as Climax Golden Twins he has released many LPs and CDs including the soundtracks to the cult horror films Session Nine and Chained, and has created installation works such as The Music Room at Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt in 2016, and radio pieces including “The Gramophone Effect” for Documenta14.

Hisham Mayet is a film maker, photographer, musical researcher and sound adventurer. He was born on the Barbary Coast of North Africa. As co-founder and co-owner of the Sublime Frequencies label (along with Alan Bishop),  Mayet has realized multiple documentary films and music recordings over the course of the label's 15 year existence. Exhilarating, hallucinatory, harrowing, ecstatic and surreal, Hisham Mayet's films and audio collections reveal a region's rituals, rhythm and landscape, with an aesthetic of extra-geography and soulful experience. Employing an unflinching methodology that continues to inspire contemporaries and audience alike, his many documentaries have been redefining the nature of ethnographic film, and continue to provoke and amaze in equal measure.  

Listen to the podcast recording here!

  1. January 30, 2019 - 3:30pm to 5:00pm