Poetic Protest: Women, Hip-hop, and Islam

Felicia Miyakawa (Round Rock, TX) When we think about protest music, we tend to think about music sung at political rallies or music created for a cause—the labor movement for example, or anti-war songs. But sometimes protest music is subtle. Sometimes performance itself—the getting up on stage in front of people, the very act of … Continue reading Poetic Protest: Women, Hip-hop, and Islam

How Musicology Became That Town in Footloose

By: Sara Haefeli (Ithaca College) // The eleventh century music theorist Guido d’Arezzo is best known for his innovations in musical notation. But he also made a clear distinction between those who could contemplate music’s theoretical complexities and those who actually sang or performed. Guido called those in the first category musicus (musicians), and those … Continue reading How Musicology Became That Town in Footloose

DJ Kool Herc: The Man with the Master Plan

By: Jeff Chang (Stanford University) // From What’s That Sound? An Introduction to Rock and its History, Fourth Edition, by John Covach and Andrew Flory (W. W. Norton & Company, 2015) When Cindy Campbell and her brother Clive “DJ Kool Herc” Campbell threw a party in 1973, they had no idea what they were about … Continue reading DJ Kool Herc: The Man with the Master Plan

Improvisation vs. Notation: DJ Spooky Meets the Orchestra

By: Felicia Miyakawa (Round Rock, TX) // On March 19, 2004, I had the good fortune to attend the West Coast premiere of Devolution, a new orchestral work by composer Anthony Paul DeRitis. I was compelled to buy a ticket after reading a feature essay by Andrew Gilbert called “New Work Brings DJ into Orchestral Mix” … Continue reading Improvisation vs. Notation: DJ Spooky Meets the Orchestra

Hip-Hop Diplomacy, Part 4

The scene: Two teenage boys—doing their utmost to appear cool—loiter against a concrete wall in Patna, India. Two smiling teenage girls, deeply engaged in their own conversation, walk by the boys, who immediately start whistling, cat calling, and ogling, demanding the girls’ attention. The girls ignore them, but the boys follow them down the street with cries of “Oh, sexy!” and “What’s your name, baby?”

Hip-Hop Diplomacy, Part 3

By: Felicia Miyakawa (Austin, TX) // The video above captures part of a “cypher,” an improvised dance where participants show off their best moves while onlookers beatbox in a circle around them. Here dancer Amirah Sackett demonstrates “popping,” a type of dance closely associated with Hip-hop culture, popularized by dancers like Jorge “Popmaster Fabel” Pabon in … Continue reading Hip-Hop Diplomacy, Part 3

Hip-Hop Diplomacy, Part 2

By: Felicia Miyakawa (Austin, TX) // According to Hisham Aidi, the State Department’s primary reason for using Hip-hop in diplomatic overtures is to prevent Islamic radicalization. In a lengthy essay published in Foreign Affairs, Aidi describes instances in which these efforts have failed, not because immigrants went on to radical acts, but because government officials … Continue reading Hip-Hop Diplomacy, Part 2