Orange Alert

Skip to main content
Syracuse University, College of Arts and Sciences

Ray Smith Symposium continues music of conflict theme with Refugees and Exile Feb. 17-18

Ethnomusicologists John Baily and Michael Frishkopf examine music's role among those facing displacement and alienation

Jan. 28, 2011, by Rob Enslin

Michael Frishkopf
Michael Frishkopf
The Ray Smith Symposium in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences continues its yearlong exploration of “Music of Conflict and Reconciliation” with a two-day program titled “Refugees and Exile.”

Events include a colloquium, featuring ethnomusicologists Michael Frishkopf (University of Alberta) and John Baily (University of London), on Thursday, Feb. 17, at 7:30 p.m. in Kittredge Auditorium in Huntington Beard Crouse Hall; a mini-seminar with professors Frishkopf and Baily on Friday, Feb. 18, from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in The SU Humanities Center Seminar Room (304) in the Tolley Building; and a concert by Baily, playing the Afghani rubab, and Dibyarka Chatterjee, on the tabla, on Feb. 18 at 8 p.m. in Shemin Auditorium in the Shaffer Art Building.

Additional activities include the screening of Baily’s award-winning documentary “Amir: An Afghan Refugee Musician’s Life in Peshawar, Pakistan” (Royal Anthropological Institute, 1985) on Feb. 18 at 3 p.m. in Gifford Auditorium (HBC Hall), and the Syracuse Symposium Seminar “Music of the Middle East and West Asia” (HOM/HUM 300), taught this semester by program organizer Carol Babiracki.

For more information about the program, which is free and open to the public, call (315) 443-4184.

Babiracki says that music is vital to exiles who are faced with displacement and alienation. “Music can help them carry memories of their homeland and construct new social and cultural identities. In highly-charged and tragic circumstances, it can also be used to promote solidarity, to serve as an agent of catharsis and to negotiate strategies of survival,” explains the associate professor of art and music histories. She reinforces her point by quoting Baily: “New cultural performances created and constructed in exile may end up as models shaping cultural practices at home.”

Frishkopf (above) doubles as associate professor of music and associate director of the Canadian Centre for Enthnomusicology at the University of Alberta. His research interests include Sufi and West African music, the Arab music industry, sound in Islamic ritual performance, music and religion, comparative music theory, the sociology of musical taste, social network analysis and digital music repositories. Frishkopf is an accomplished composer and musician, performing “world” and jazz piano and Middle Eastern reed flute. His colloquium topic is “Cultural Dimensions of the ‘Responsibility to Protect’: Sustainable Peace-Building Though Popular Music in the Buduburam Liberian Refugee Camp, Ghana.
John Baily
John Baily
Baily (right) serves as professor emeritus of music and head of the Afghanistan Music Unit in Goldsmith College at the University of London. His research interests are cognitive ethnomusicology, performance, ethnomusicological film, and music and migration. He came into ethnomusicology by way of experimental psychology, with a Ph.D. in human spatial coordination and motor control from the University of Sussex. His colloquium topic is “The Global Circulation of the Music of Afghanistan.”

“Refugees and Exile” is organized and presented by the Department of Art and Music Histories. Symposium co-sponsors are the Mellon CNY Humanities Corridor, an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation initiative; The SU Humanities Center; South Asia Center; and The College of Arts and Sciences’ Co-Curricular Fees. The mini-seminar is sponsored by The SU Humanities Center.

The Ray Smith Symposium concludes with “Reconstruction and Reconciliation” (March 24-25).