AboutI am an ethnomusicologist and sound culture researcher specializing in urban Kenya. I received my PhD in ethnomusicology from Columbia University in 2009, with a dissertation on voice, place, and identity on Kenya’s Swahili coast. From 2011 to 2013, I carried out research on the recording industry in Nairobi as a postdoctoral research associate with Georgina Born’s ERC-funded project on music and digital technology at Oxford. Currently I am working on an ethnographic monograph on music, spatial relations, and cultural citizenship in urban Kenya, while also continuing my research on the recording industry in Nairobi.
EducationPhD Columbia University, Ethnomusicology, 2009
BMus New York University, Jazz Performance (Minor in Cultural Anthropology)
Work Shared in CORE
Other PublicationsArticles and Chapters
General Readership Publications
- “The Swahili Art of Indian Taarab: A Poetics of Vocality and Ethnicity on the Kenyan Coast,” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 37:2, (forthcoming 2017).
- “Traditional Music,” In Oxford Bibliographies in African Studies, ed. Thomas Spear (Oxford University Press), 2015. [WEB]
- “Space.” In Keywords in Sound: Towards a Conceptual Lexicon, eds. David Novak and Matt Sakakeeny (Duke University Press), 2015. [FULL TEXT]
- Alex Perullo and Andrew J. Eisenberg. “Musical Property Rights in Tanzania and Kenya after TRIPs.” In The Sage Handbook of Intellectual Property, eds. Deborah Halbert and Matthew David (Sage), 2014. [FULL TEXT]
- “Islam, Sound, and Space: Acoustemology and Muslim Citizenship on the Kenyan Coast.” In Music, Sound and Space: Transformations of Public and Private Experience, ed. Georgina Born (Cambridge University Press), 2013. [FULL TEXT]
- “Hip-Hop and Cultural Citizenship on Kenya’s ‘Swahili Coast’,” Africa 82:4, 2012. [FULL TEXT]
- “Toward an Acoustemology of Muslim Citizenship in Kenya,” Anthropology News 51:9, 2010. [WEB]
- “Taarab,” in Shades of Benga: The Story of Popular Music in Kenya (Ketebul Music, Nairobi), forthcoming 2017.
- “Zein l’Abdin Ahmed is the Coastal Lute Player Who Popularised Taarab” [obituary], Daily Nation (Kenya), November 4, 2016. http://www.nation.co.ke/lifestyle/weekend/1220-3441142-format-xhtml-sup44r/index.html.
- “A Tribute to Kenyan Taarab Legend Zein l’Abdin” [blog post], Music in Africa. July 26, 2016. http://musicinafrica.net/kenya-mourns-death-taarab-legend-zein-l%E2%80%99abdin?language=en.
- “Digital Technology and the Music Recording Industry in Kenya” [blog post], Music in Africa. July 11, 2016. http://musicinafrica.net/digital-technology-and-music-recording-industry-kenya?section-context=education#disqus_thread.
- “Zein l’Abdin (1939-2016)” [obituary], Songlines Magazine, 121, 2016.
- “Music, Modern Popular: Eastern Africa,” The New Encyclopedia of Africa (Scribner), 2007.
Audiovisual Media Reviews
- Hip Hop Africa: New African Music in a Globalizing World, edited by Eric Charry. African Studies Review. 57:3, 2014.
- Rumba Rules: The Politics of Dance Music in Mobutu’s Zaire by Bob W. White. American Anthropologist 111:4, 2009.
- Performing the Nation: Swahili Music and Cultural Politics by Kelly Askew. Current Musicology 75, 2003.
- Sound of Africa!: Making Music Zulu in a South African Studio by Louise Meintjes. Journal of Anthropological Research 59:3, 2003.
- “Kenya: The Obokano Lyre of the Gusii” [Recording Review], Yearbook for Traditional Music, 2014.
- “The Singing Wells Project” [Website review], World of Music 2:1, 2013.
- “Singing for Life: Songs of Hope, Healing, and HIV/AIDS in Uganda” [Recording Review], Ethnomusicology 54:1, 2010.
- “Poetry and Languid Charm: Swahili Music from Tanzania and Kenya from the late 1920s to 1950s” [Recording Review], Yearbook for Traditional Music 40, 2008.
- “Hip-Hop Colony” [Film Review], African Music Journal 8:1, 2007.
- “Badenya: Manden Jaliya in New York City” [Recording Review], World of Music 47, 2005.
- “Shalom Everybody Everywhere!: Introducing the Abayudaya Jews of Uganda” [Recording Review], Yearbook for Traditional Music 33, 2001.