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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Ethnomusicologist to speak on campus

A post-doctoral fellow at UC Berkeley, Dr. Rui Cidra, will be giving a lecture on his paper on the music of Cape Verde and its reflection of indentured workers from plantations in São Tomé and Principe.

Cidra will give his lecture on Feb. 7 at 3 p.m. in Everson Hall, Room 233. The lecture will be presented as part of the Valente Lecture series.

“My paper focuses on use of music as social memory between colonial and post-colonialism,” Cidra said. “I analyzed two modes of memory, music performance and music experience, while focusing on popular music between the 1960s and the present.”

Dr. Cidra will also discuss what the music means.

“The circulation of such music focuses on a national memory on the plantations of São Tomé,” Cidra said. “I interpreted narratives on indentured workers, which conveyed an ethics of survival and the experience of indentured work on a plantation. This music brings together different paths around the same events, broadening our ideas of pasts and present.”

Dr. Cidra’s research began at the end of the 1990s, when he began interviewing Cape Verdeans who lived in Lisbon. This eventually led to a nine month stretch doing field research in Cape Verde before he returned to Portugal to finish his research.

Dr. Cidra ended up at UC Berkeley when he wanted to do a post-doctoral program outside of Portugal.

“I contacted a professor in the music department, Jocelyne Guilbault, because I fond of her work,” Dr. Cidra said. “I think that the context and problematics of her work in the Caribbean and mine in Cape Verde had something in common. I got funding from Portugal to do this and I ended up here doing this program.”

Dr. Katherine Lee, who has been organizing the ethnomusicology lectures for the Valente series for a year, got Dr. Cidra to give a lecture at UC Davis while visiting Berkeley for an event.

“We met a faculty at Berkeley who suggested he give a lecture in Davis,” Dr. Lee said.

Dr. Cidra believes that his lecture will be interesting to audiences.

“First of all, they’re going to hear very nice music from different genres of Cape Verde music,” Dr. Cidra said. “Second, I think that this can bring new empirical and theoretical materials on music and social memory. It can help answer the very broad and global question of how music can shape social memory.”

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