Amanda Villepastour, 2 May 2013

Title of the Talk: Ethnography of a SideWoman

When? Thursday 2 May 2013 (17:00-18:30)

Where? The Barn at St John’s College (Kendrew Quad)

Speaker: Dr Amanda Villepastour (Lecturer in Ethnomusicology, Cardiff University)

Abstract: This talk lets the audience into the inner world of a living pop musician using unprecedented access to diaries, letters and intimate conversations with an ethnomusicologist. While scholars generally seek vocalists and band leaders, Villepastour will lead the audience into the life of a session musician who has worked alongside some of Britain’s biggest stars. By describing some of the general issues around conducting ethnography, Villepastour approaches the lecture both as one who was once in the industry, and as an ethnomusicologist.


Speaker Biography: Dr Amanda Villepastour is a graduate of University of Western Australia (BMus, composition) and The School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (MMus, PhD ethnomusicology) where she completed her PhD in 2006. Her research interests include the music of Africa and the African diaspora (with a focus on the Yorùbá), gender, organology and linguistics. Dr Villepastour’s recent monograph Ancient Text Messages of the Yorùbá Bata Drum: Cracking the Code (Ashgate 2010) is a study of the drum’s speech surrogacy system. Her book Wood that Talks: Transatlantic Perspectives on the Orisha of Drumming (University Press of Mississippi) is multi-disciplinary edited collection about a transatlantic religious drumming tradition. Before coming to Cardiff, Dr Villepastour held appointments as curator for Africa and Latin America (The Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix Arizona, 2009-2010), Ethnomusicology Instructor (Bowling Green State University, Ohio 2008-2009) and Course Convenor for The Graduate Diploma in Music Teaching to Adults (Goldsmiths College, University of London 2001-2008). After completing her PhD, Dr Villepastour was awarded two consecutive post-doctoral fellowships at The School of Oriental Studies, University of London and The Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC (2006-2008). Before her re-entry into academia, Dr Villepastour had a prestigious career as a keyboardist in the popular music industry, writing, recording and touring with British artists including Boy GeorgeBilly Bragg and The Gang of Four.


Convenor: Jason Stanyek (Associate Professor; Fellow and Tutor, St. John’s College)


Event hosted as part of the Seminar in Ethnomusicology and Sound Studies Series, based at St John’s College, University of Oxford.

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