Migration Paths - Music and Migration: The Movement of Sounds

Music and Migration: The Movement of Sounds

Within impactmania’s Human Mind and Migration program, the possibilities of topics to explore are endless. I am choosing to pursue the subject of music and how it relates to the individual and cultural experiences of migrants because music has always been an integral part of my life.

As a pianist, I understand the power that listening to or creating music can have on someone’s mind; for me, I use piano playing as a tool to relieve stress and exercise creativity without judgement. Still, I can only imagine the significance music can have on a migrant’s life, which is why I intend to discover and bring out this perspective through my research.

There are many songs written about migration, culturally significant instruments and styles of music that go back for generations, and countless artists who migrated during their lives. It is clear that music and migration are interconnected in multiple ways, and I aspire to look deeper into a few. For instance, how can a piece of music share the feeling of moving to a new place? What is it like to play a traditional instrument in a new culture? Do different styles of music blend together via migration? These are the types of questions I am excited to explore in the coming year.

Dr. John Baily: Afghan Music and its Significance for Migrant Musicians


musicians playing in dutar band

Dutar band playing the long-necked four-stringed dutar, Nowruz (New Year) (courtesy of John Baily)

John Baily is an ethnomusicologist who has extensively researched and worked with the music of Afghanistan. He has lectured at Queen’s University of Belfast, as well as Columbia University in New York. In 1990, he joined Goldsmiths, University of London, where he has taught as a Professor of Ethnomusicology.

Alice Taylor, impactmania and AD&A Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) student speaks with John Baily to better understand the situation of Afghan and migrant musicians, learn about his experiences working as an ethnomusicologist and musician, and discover his thoughts on the importance of music.

Read the full article here: Migration Streams - Dr. John Baily on Afghan Music | Human Mind and Migration - UC Santa Barbara (ucsb.edu)

Dr. Fabio Rambelli: Music, Religion, and the Preserved Tradition of Japanese Gagaku

Professor Fabio Rambelli

Fabio Rambelli is a professor of East Asian and Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, whose research mainly surrounds Japanese history and religion within the traditions of Shinto and Esoteric Buddhism. Originally from Ravenna, Italy, he also spent time teaching at Sapporo University in Japan. Currently, Dr. Rambelli is engaged in a collaborative project concerning Gagaku and Bugaku, the music and dance of the Imperial court of Japan. He is doing considerable work with the shō, a traditional Japanese mouth organ.

Alice Taylor, impactmania and AD&A Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) student speaks with Fabio Rambelli to delve into many of the unique aspects of Gagaku and the shō, how the style of music has spread via globalization and migration, the interaction of music and religion, among other topics involving music’s role in the world.

Read the full article here: Migration Streams - Dr. Fabio Rambelli on Gagaku

Sounds of the Digital World: The Global Phenomenon of Lo-Fi Music

Individual using soundboard and computer to make music

Lo-fi music is a growing genre that exists almost entirely online; although it has existed for a number of years, there has been a recent surge of creators and listeners that has formed a unique internet community, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Alice Taylor, impactmania and AD&A Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) student, and Gabriele Pilotto, Messaggero Veneto Scuola and University of Udine, Italy student collaborate to create an article on lo-fi music and an original lo-fi composition.

Read the full article here: Migration Streams - The Global Phenomenon of Lo-Fi Music