Ethnomusicology

flaco

(photo: Flaco Jimenez, me, Santiago Jimenez, Jr. at Santiago’s studio in San Antonio, September, 2014)

In addition to my primary scholarly focus in history, I publish regularly in ethnomusicology and folklore. I am also involved in a number of applied ethnomusicological and public folklore projects I describe below.

My main research focuses on the cultural sustainability of traditional music making in the United States with a particular emphasis on the conjuntomusic culture of South Texas.  My work also investigates migration, transnationalism, and the diverse regional impacts of globalization and Latino migration as expressed in contemporary Mexican migrant music making.

I am working on a book project called Conjunto: Sustainability and Cultural Heritage in Texas. This interdisciplinary book is an exploration of contemporary conjunto music and conjunto culture in Texas and the first study to situate the broader significance of conjunto in terms of historical activism, Tejano cultural geography, and ethnomusicological theory relating to cultural sustainability and Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) issues. Conjunto music culture now flourishes in a network of community-embedded institutions and events that have developed outside of the usual channels of cultural activism in the U.S. for reasons of regional, ethnic, class, and commercial marginality. My book argues that the unrecognized and unheralded success story of conjunto music in fact stands as a model for in the ways that the intangible heritage of regional cultures in the United States can be integrated into sustainable systems of development, education, and presentation.

I have published a few articles on this project (list of publications is below) and look forward to completing the book soon

I have also been involved in a multi-year project editing an as-told-to memoir of legendary conjunto accordionist Santiago Jimenez, Jr, which is titled El Chief de San Antonio.

Other music work:

In 2017, I co-produced and wrote the liner notes for a cd titled “Old School Polkas Del Ghost Town,” released by Spring fed Records, the recording arm of the Center for Popular Music at Middle Tennessee State University. This cd features new recordings of Texas-Mexican Conjunto music by Lorenzo Martinez and Ramon “Rabbit” Sanchez, two of the finest musicians to come out of the Conjunto homeland in South Texas.

In 2014, I co-produced (with Charlie Lockwood) a cd titled “Traditional Music Of Texas, Volume 1: Fiddle Recordings From The Texas Folklife Archives”

fiddle

My recent publications on music topics:

“Reimagined Old Time Music Cultures in the Trainhopping Punk Rock South,” in Shawn Chandler Bingham and Lindsey Freeman, eds., The Bohemian South: Creating Countercultures, from Poe to Punk. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2017)

Música, Muerte, y Jaripeo: Sound, Gender, and Violence in Diasporic Mexican Rodeo Videos,” Music and Sound in American Culture Special Issue, Journal of American Culture 38: 1 (March, 2015): 63-75.

“Introduction: Music and Sound in American Culture,” Journal of American Culture 38: 1 (March, 2015): 1-3.

“Ethnographic and Folkloristic Study of Popular Culture,” in Gary Burns, ed., A Companion to Popular Culture (Wiley-Blackwell, 2015)

“Transmission of Texas-Mexican Conjunto Music in the 21st century” International Journal of Intangible Heritage PDF

Voz de Pueblo Chicano: Sustainability, Teaching, and Intangible Cultural Transfer in Conjunto Music,” Journal of American Culture 34:1 (March, 2011): 36-48.

“Conjunto as Sustainable Music,” Tonantzin: Tejano Conjunto Festival en San Antonio, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, San Antonio, Texas, 2010.

“Latino Migrant Music and Identity in the Borderlands of the New South,” Journal of American Culture 32:2 (June, 2009): 114-125. Awarded the 2010 Carl Bode Award for Outstanding Article in the Journal of American Culture in 2009 by the American Culture Association

“Sé Que Voy a Regresar:  Migrant Music and Globalization in the Nuevo South,” American Studies 31:1 (May, 2008): 1-24.

“Conjunto as Sustainable Music,” Tonantzin: Tejano Conjunto Festival en San Antonio, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, San Antonio, Texas, 2010.

“Tradition, History, and Music in a Globalized Perspective, or, Considering Banjos and Kayagums in Seoul,” The Korea Fulbright Review (2008): 25-29

Reprinted as “Tradition, History, and Music in a Globalized Perspective,” in Korea Fulbright Infusion Magazine 1 (2008): 24-28.

Tradition and Music in a Globalized Perspective, or Considering Banjos and Kayagums in Seoul,” Korea Fulbright Review (2008): 25-29.

“Making Music and Sustaining Tradition,” The Korea Times, 12 June 2008

Festival of Texas Fiddling

I am the founder and Artistic Director of the Festival of Texas Fiddling.  This is the first and only festival dedicated to the full array of ethnic and regional styles of Texas fiddling, all held in a historic dance hall.

The 3rd Annual Festival of Texas Fiddling will be held December 2, 2017 at historic Twin Sisters Dance Hall in Blanco, Texas.

Here is the webpage for the 3rd Annual Festival of Texas Fiddling

and check it out on facebook

 

I publish regularly in the major old time music magazine called The Old Time Herald, including several covers stories.

There Are Still a Lot of Records You Haven’t Heard: Italian-American Music of the 78s Era. Old Time Herald 14:2 (2015) cover story

“Handmade Strings: To Make Music Out of a Cat and a Horse’s Tail,” Old Time Herald 13:1 (2012), cover story,  PDF

 “Traditional Music Collections Online,” Old Time Herald 11:8 (2008)

“Polkas, Polkas, y Mas Polkas: The Tejano Conjunto Festival en San Antonio” Old Time Herald 11:3 (2008) PDF

“Molly O’Day and the Gospel in Old-Time Country Music” Old Time Herald 11:2 (2007)

“Saturday Night at Wayne’s Body Shop” Old Time Herald Spring 2004.  PDF

“Ladder-braced Guitars and the Enduring Mysteries of the Old-Time Sound.” Old Time Herald Winter, 2005

“The Sandia Hots: Spicing Up Old Time Music with the Flavors of the Southwest” Old Time Herald, June-July 2006 cover story

Here is my online guide to the John Donald Robb Field Recordings Collection.