Dr. Lucy Durán, School of African and Oriental Studies (SOAS), Music Department, University of London

Thursday 6th June

1.00 – 2.00

Room: 944

Further details from Lucy Green, l.green2@ioe.ac.uk

All are welcome

This paper will present some key findings about childhood music learning from her film Da kali, the pledge to the art of the griot, filmed on location in Mali between 2009-12, illustrating her talk with a selection of excerpts featuring children in four celebrated griot families learning song, dance, kora and jembe.
With the high international profile of Malian musicians, it is tempting to think that griots (hereditary musical artisans, or jelis as they call themselves) and their music are thriving. By exploring how, what, and when young children of jeli families learn to perform the music and dance of their heritage, the film Da Kali constitutes unprecedented research on how children in Mali ‘grow into music’, and suggests a more nuanced view of the current state of play with Malian music (just before events in 2012). Despite the commitment of elder jelis to the transmission of their art to the new generation, the reality is that they are competing with many other factors, such as globalised youth culture, the media, old social prejudices about the artisans, and the lack of institutional support for their music, threatening the future of this ancient art form.
The film is officially being launched as part of the AHRC Beyond Text Growing into Music project on June 7, 2013, at SOAS.

Lucy Durán is a university lecturer specialising in West African music, and is based in the Music Department of the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. She has published widely on Mali’s star women singers, and on the kora. She is also a broadcaster (she has been the regular presenter of BBC Radio 3’s leading world music programme World Routes since it began in 2000).
Durán has a long professional involvement with the music industry, and has been at the forefront of the promotion and dissemination of Malian music for the past 20 years. She is also a music producer, and has produced many Malian artists including Grammy award-winning kora player Toumani Diabate, and the highly acclaimed Malian ngoni player Bassekou Kouyate.
Having devoted much of her professional life to balancing her broadcasting, recording, and academic work, Durán argues for the need to forge better links and understanding between the media and academia. She is committed to the promotion, production and dissemination of Malian music, and to finding ways of creating a contemporary voice for Malian artists working within their own traditions. Her work as Principal Investigator of the AHRC funded project Growing into Music has sparked off a special interest in oral transmission of music across generations.