Black Vocality 2013

September 24-25, 2013 Columbia College Chicago

Black Vocality: Cultural Memory, Identities, and Practices of African-American Singing Styles

The Black Vocality symposium is part of the three-year project ROTVOSCIAME (The Role of Traditional Vocal Styles in Reshaping Cultural Identities Related to African Diasporas in America and Europe).
Designed by Gianpaolo Chiriacò, the research is being supported by a Marie Curie-International Outgoing Fellowship, financed by the European Union. The project looks at the history and anthropology of African-American singing styles across genres, and it aims to provide an interdisciplinary analysis of the different developments and connotations of vocality within the African diaspora.

Considering the singing voice as a complex means of expression (not only a musical instrument nor just a vehicle for the language), as the ultimate locus where cultural connections still exist and operate, the project aims to track the presence of vocal traditions developed within the African diaspora in America and Europe. It also looks at how specific vocal styles have been (and are) functional in expressing and reshaping new cultural identities.