2016 Nettl Lecture: Dr. Portia Maultsby — “Performing Blackness: Black Gospel Music in the Netherlands”

▪The Bruno and Wanda Nettl Distinguished Lecture in Ethnomusicology▪

Performing Blackness: Black Gospel Music in the Netherlands

Portia K. Maultsby, Laura Boulton Professor Emerita of Ethnomusicology
Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology
Indiana University


Since the 1990s, African American gospel music has become a global phenomenon. Its popularity across national, cultural, racial, ethnic, and religious boundaries has resulted in the proliferation of gospel choirs throughout the world. In this new context, Black gospel music is used in diverse ways and serves multiple functions, giving rise to localized meanings and performance expectations. Although African American expatriates occasionally serve as choir directors, many choirs are led by non-African American musicians.   With varying success, some directors strive to preserve “original” performance aesthetics and, often, the rituals associated with African American worship settings. Yet others reference black gospel music as inspiration to create localized religious expressions.

As a case study, my presentation will focus on Edith Casteleyn, the Euro-Dutch director of four choirs in the Netherlands performing what she describes as “authentic” Black American gospel music. Specifically, I will examine the processes for translating and negotiating differences in the musical values, cultural practices, religious orientations, and social conventions distinguishing African American and Dutch societies, and the way these differences impact the teaching, performance, and reception of gospel music in this new context.

4:30 PM

Friday, September 16, 2016

Music Building Auditorium
1114 W. Nevada St., Urbana, IL 61801

Free and open to the public

Sponsored by:

Center for Advanced Study
Department of African American Studies
Department of Anthropology
School of Music
European Union Center (Title VI Grant, Dept. of Education)



Spanish and Portuguese Colloquium: Mike Silvers – “Brazilian Carnauba Wax at the Dawn of Recorded Sound”

Thursday, September 15 (4 PM, Lucy Ellis Lounge – FLB 1080)
Mike Silvers (Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, UIUC) 

Brazilian Carnauba Wax at the Dawn of Recorded Sound 

Music scholars have, in recent years, begun investigating the sustainability of natural materials used in the construction of musical instruments and other music technologies. In this talk, I narrate a commodity biography of carnauba wax from northeastern Brazil as it was used in the fabrication of wax cylinders and 78 RPM records in the early years of sound reproduction. I suggest the story of the exploitation of (sustainably grown) natural resources for mass-produced music technologies is one of labor and trade relationships within the Brazilian Northeast and, above all, between the Global North and the Global South.
For the full calendar and updates you can check: