‘Growing into Music’: SOAS film wins award

film making; music

What music was influential to you as a child? Growing up in the UK, you may have been brought up on nursery rhymes and playground songs – but what about if you grew up in Cuba? Or West Africa? A SOAS-led project, looking at children’s musical development in non-Western countries, explores just that.

Professor Lucy Duran, of SOAS’s Department of Music, is an ethnomusicologist, researching non-Western musical traditions from West Africa and Cuba, to Mali and Gambia. Lucy leads the AHRC funded project, ‘Growing into Music’,  which looks at children learning and making music in six cultures through the medium of video. The project has resulted in a series of unique films that document the musical development of children in major oral musical traditions of India, Azerbaijan, Mali, Guinea, Cuba and Venezuela.

film; music; Lucy Duran
Professor Lucy Duran

There is a short film focusing on each culture – and one which amalgamates them all. These films have now been put onto YouTube, with a whole channel dedicated to the project.

These films have had a great reception from scholars and musicians alike. Amongst these films, ‘The Voice of Tradition: Bako Dagnon and her family’ (2015) was awarded the ‘Best AHRC-funded film since 1998′ at the AHRC 10th anniversary Research in Film awards.

Exploring the musical traditions of Asia, Africa and the Middle East is what studying Music at SOAS is all about — ours is the only Music department in the UK devoted to the study of world music. Take a look at the Music programmes we offer.

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