The Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns annually tackles subjects as diverse as the course catalogue at Wesleyan, from the politics of oil to issues of race in the 18th century. This year, the Shasha Seminar explores current trends in the role of music in public life, locally, nationally and internationally. CFA Arts Administration Intern Monica M. Tinyo ’13 talked with Mark Slobin, Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music at Wesleyan, who is leading the seminar this year (November 8-9).
Shasha Seminar this year begins with a keynote address by Anthony
Seeger on Thursday, November 8, entitled “Can We Safeguard Disappearing
Musical Traditions? And if We Can, Should We?” Mr. Seeger, a renowned
author and professor at UCLA, has acted as Executive Producer of Smithsonian Folkways
label, and comes from a long line of prolific folk musicians. He has
also worked for forty years with the Suya people in the Amazon
rainforest. His wide-ranging experience informs a singular knowledge of
music and its impact. Beyond his work in Amazonian music and record
production, he has participated in international frameworks including
committees of UNESCO.
evening's keynote address will be followed by two lively performances
that represent the many facets of the Middletown community: the
contemporary gospel group, the Cross Street A.M.E. Zion Church's Unity Choir [under the direction of Wesleyan University Adjunct Professor of Music and vibraphonist Jay Hoggard], and the well-established string-band, Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem
[featuring Rani Arbo on fiddle and guitar, Andrew Kinsey on bass,
banjo, and ukulele, Anand Nayak ’96 on electric and acoustic guitars,
and Scott Kessel ’88 on percussion].
On Friday, November 9, Ethel Raim, the Artistic Director of New York City’s Center for Traditional Music and Dance,
will be speaking. Professor Slobin explains “the Center has been
helping communities develop their own musical and artistic
representation on stage for over forty years. They are not concert
managers, but rather community developers. They produce these
extraordinary groups out of collaborations with communities.” The
musical groups showcased Friday night in Fayerweather Beckham Hall will
be Merita Halili & The Raif Hyseni Orchestra, an Albanian music
ensemble led by Raif Hyseni, and La Cumbiamba eNeYé,
a Colombian ensemble led by Martin Vejarano. The Friday events also
include two panels with members of the Middletown and Wesleyan
communities, as well as other experts in the field.
structure of this year’s seminar, unlike seminars in other years,
incorporates panels and discussions along with workshops and concerts
because, as Professor Slobin explains, “if you are going to get involved
and engage with music, you have to do it yourself.”
The Shasha Seminar is an extension of Wesleyan’s year-long initiative Music & Public Life. Professor Slobin explains, “Music and Public Life
is a program that was initiated by Wesleyan Vice President and Provost
Rob Rosenthal, who thought that the large and impressive music offerings
and faculty, along with the immense amount of music on campus, would be
a great focus for a year-long exploration. This year-long initiative,
and more specifically the Shasha Seminar, is organized around the idea
that music engages on so many different levels. Music works on the local
level, showcased in the concerts of Wesleyan and Middletown groups,
[while simultaneously] working on a more national scale.” This is
exemplified in local venues blending into the larger American music
umbrella. “Music is also transnational. There is an undeniable
transnational flow of capital, people and music. More than anything
really, music cuts across boundaries of race, class, gender and national
Music & Public Life provides a year-long
exploration of music through many lenses. Please join us for the Shasha
Seminar events today and Friday, and mark your calendar for next
Wednesday’s talk by New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff [November 14].
The 11th Shasha Seminar for Human Concerns
Keynote Address at 7:30pm by Anthony Seeger—“Can We Safeguard Disappearing Musical Traditions? And if We Can, Should We?”
following the keynote address by Rani Arbo & daisy mayhem, and the
Cross Street A.M.E. Zion Church's Unity Choir
Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 7:30pm
Crowell Concert Hall
, 50 Wyllys Avenue
Before the keynote address, there will be a welcome by Provost and Vice
President for Academic Affairs Rob Rosenthal, as well as a musical
invocation by the Wesleyan Gamelan Ensemble, directed by Professor of Music Sumarsam and Artist in Residence I.M. Harjito.
Merita Halili & The Raif Hyseni Orchestra & La Cumbiamba eNeYé
Friday, November 9, 2012 at 8:30pm
Fayerweather Beckham Hall
, 45 Wyllys Avenue
FREE! Tickets required.
Call 860-685-3355 or visit the Wesleyan University Box Office for free tickets.
A Talk by Ben Ratliff of The New York Times
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 at 4:15pm
Daltry Room (Music Rehearsal Hall 003)
, 60 Wyllys Avenue
Ben Ratliff has been a jazz and pop critic for The New York Times since 1996. He has written three books: The Jazz Ear: Conversations Over Music (2008); Coltrane: The Story of a Sound (2007) a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Jazz: A Critic’s Guide to the 100 Most Important Recordings (2002).