Eminent scholar of music in East Africa Dr. Kelly Askew will present an AGEMS Colloquium Series lecture that explores how select Tanzanian popular musicians are creating morally and politically driven music aimed at promoting social justice within a context of increasingly aggressive state control and censorship of the arts. Dr. Askew will be joined by Msafiri Zawose, one of Tanzania’s foremost contemporary musicians known for his innovative take on traditional Gogo music.
The AGEMS lecture is one of the final events of the Tanzania in Texas Tour, an education-performance tour in and around Austin, Texas, showcasing Msafiri’s original music in collaboration with a collection of Austin-based musicians. The closing concert is also on Friday, November 2, 7-9PM, at the Rattletree School of Marimba in South Austin. The FREE concert will feature a pre-concert talk by Dr. Askew, a solo set by Msafiri, and a collective performance presenting new collaborative material. Msafiri will be joined by Peter Breithaupt, a Ph.D. student in ethnomusicology at the University of Texas at Austin and scholar of Tanzanian popular music, Joel Laviolette, Director of the Rattletree School of Marimba and independent scholar of Zimbabwean music, and other Austin-based musicians.
For further event information, see “Tanzania in Texas Tour” on Facebook.
These events are supported in part by the Presser Foundation and the Cultural Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.
Kelly Askew is Director of the African Studies Center and Professor of Anthropology and DAAS. She has worked for over two decades in Tanzania and Kenya. Her writings and film projects span two primary research areas: poetic arts as vehicles for populist engagement with politics, and the formalization of property rights. Recent film projects include: (1) Poetry in Motion: 100 Years of Zanzibar’s Nadi Ikhwan Safaa (Buda Musique, forthcoming 2015) on Zanzibar’s oldest taarab orchestra; and (2) The Chairman and the Lions (Documentary Educational Resources, 2013), which won 1st place at the ETNOFilm Festival (Croatia, 2013) and a Special Jury Award at the Zanzibar International Film Festival (Tanzania, 2013). She is currently in post-production on a new film entitled Maasai Remix about indigenous creativity in addressing challenges to Maasai pastoralist livelihoods.
In addition to her research in East Africa on performance, nationalism, media, postsocialism, and the privatization of property rights, Dr. Askew has pursued various film and video projects. Most recently, Dr. Askew has worked on a four-part video documentary series, Rhythms from Africa (Tomas Film/Acacia Productions, 2004), which explores music in South Africa and in Zanzibar, and a full-length feature documentary film Poetry in Motion: 100 Years of Zanzibar’s Nadi Ikhwan Safaa (Jahazi Media, 2011) covering the history of Zanzibar’s oldest taarab orchestra.
Dr. Askew is the recipient of numerous awards, including being selected as a Fellow for the Berlin Institute of Advanced Studies (to be held during the 2012-13 academic year), the Harold R. Johnson Diversity Service Award, and research fellowships from the National Science Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Ford Foundation, Council of American Overseas Research Centers, and Fulbright Association. She is Co-Principal Investigator on a $1.5 million grant from USAID to strengthen engineering education in Liberia, part of an $18.5 million effort titled Excellence in Higher Education for Liberian Development (EHELD), which constitutes a collaboration between the University of Michigan, Rutgers, North Carolina State, Kwame Nkrumah University for Science and Technology and RTI International.