NEA 2016 National Heritage Fellowship recipients

The National Endowment for the Arts has announced the 2016 NEA National Heritage Fellowship recipients! This award is considered the highest honor for the folk and traditional arts in the United States. According to the NEA, this annual award has recognized 413 recipients of various art forms and traditions since 1982.

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Photo borrowed from NEA website

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Thinking from the Stage? Initial Reflections

I want to invite you to look at the following pictures. They are all photos of the main stage of the International Festival of the Celtic World of Ortigueira, a music event celebrated annually (since 1978) in the town of Ortigueira, northwestern Galicia, Spain.

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Picture by Álvaro Fernández Polo. Men from Ortigueira working as volunteers to build the festival stage (1980).

Picture by Álvaro Fernández Polo (from his personal collection). Men from Ortigueira working as volunteers to build the festival stage (1980).

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Picture given by instrument maker Antón Corral (in front). Here, we can see the Bagpipe School of Ortigueira playing on the locally built wooden stage. A small Galician flag waves from the proscenium. Continue reading

An Ethno’s Existential Crisis

What am I doing with my life? I think this might be the next phase in the “I-just-finished-comps,-what-do-I-do-now” process. I was recently speaking with my husband about an entrepreneurial educator who travels all over the world making educational games and apps for kids. In one particular area of India, the people asked him to leave. They didn’t want their children to receive a Western education because that encouraged the kids to leave the area. The man said, “Ok, what do you need? What do you want your kids to learn?” They replied, “Farming.” The guy said, “If I teach them farming, will you let me stay?” They agreed, so he developed a farming game app for the children. This story may be somewhat anecdotal but it’s gotten me thinking: what good can I do with a PhD in ethnomusicology? As ethnomusicologists, we’re trained to go into an area and say, “Please tell me about yourself.” We’re not trained, at least not overtly, to go into an area and say, “Please tell me what you need.”

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