Music and Marginality in the Balkans: The Edginess of Edges

Conference: Music and Marginality in the Balkans: The Edginess of Edges
University of Chicago
January 27-29, 2012

Balkan music is remarkable for its complexity and variety. The preservation of relatively archaic forms such as the Balkan Slavic and Albanian oral epics that gave rise to the Perry-Lord hypothesis is one example, and to date the Albanian oral epic has received much less attention that the Slavic. The rhythmic patterns known as kajda found among Romani musicians in Kosovo also represent an apparently archaic and as yet only minimally investigated tradition. The music of the Gorans—Slavic-speaking Muslims of southwest Kosovo and adjacent Albania whose dialects are closest to Macedonian—has undergone significant change in the past fifty years, but has received very little attention. Similarities among Aromanian, Greek, Macedonian, and Albanian polyphonic vocal music in Epirus and adjacent parts of Macedonia, the rise of Ottoman-folk-Western fusional genres such as tallava among Albanian-speakers, the marginalized but hugely popular genres of chalga in Bulgaria, manele in Romania, and turbo in Serbia (and also Macedonia, Bulgaria, and even Albania) are all in need of investigation, and many younger and more senior ethnomusicologists are working on precisely these topics. Related musical phenomena in Turkey (oriental) and Greece (skyliadhiko) are also relevant. The intersection of traditional and modern, especially beyond the pale or urban elites, is a vital link in understanding both the past and the future of the Balkans. This conference with bring together scholars of these less commonly studied musical genres to both share knowledge and create synergies for new directions in research.

Sponsored by CEERES, the CSRPC, CIS, the Dept of Music, the Dept of Slavic Languages and Literatures, and the Franke Institute for the Humanities.

Posted in: Calls for Papers and Upcoming Conferences

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