Why Study World Music and Culture?

Why Study World Music and Culture?

The study of music and culture reveals the importance of music in the everyday life of the people’s of the world. Students come to understand what is music both as a cultural practice and a system of organized sound. These concepts are then explored in diverse musics from around the world. Through discussion of reading and listening assignments, enhanced by hands-on exposure to different ways of making music, students increase their understanding of the connection between society and music and the ways in which musical elements come together from at times divergent sources to form unique styles. Students will ultimately gain the vocabulary and listening skills necessary to engage with music of the world as an integral component of culture.

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World Musics and Cultures at Union

World Musics and Cultures at Union

The World Musics and Cultures Program at Union College is an interdisciplinary program offering courses, concerts and performance opportunities that explore the diversity of the world’s people and the music that we make in a vibrant academic setting. Grounded in the Departments of Music and Anthropology, students can take a range of courses that reveal the intersection of music and cultural anthropology, develop skills in ethnographic methods, and encounter specific styles through both hands-on performance and academic study of the musics and cultures of Africa and the African Diaspora, Asia (Central, East, South and South East), Europe, Latin America, and North America. Through the study of music, students gain a unique understanding of culture!

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World Musics and Cultures in Concert

World Musics and Cultures in Concert

Students may participate in the Union College Jazz ensemble, which performs a wide variety of styles from Bebop to Latin and regularly gigs on and off campus. Zakuro-Daiko, the Union College Japanese drumming ensemble, features not only Japanese musical styles, but also incorporates diverse musics from such varied areas as South Asia, the Caribbean, and Indonesia. In addition to these faculty-lead student ensembles, Union College regularly welcomes renowned global artists to perform on campus. Students may also pursue private study of world instruments.

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News & Updates

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Journey West  Oct. 13, 2017

Journey West
Oct. 13, 2017

Posted by basirick on Oct 2, 2017

Journey West will perform at the Taylor Music Center at Union College on October 13th at 7 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public. Journey West is a musical program chronicling the Migration of melody through an interactive multi-media performance. The musical performance is a high energy dynamic virtuosic display of multi-instrumental talent which features no less than 15 musical instruments. Journey West tracks melodies and changing instrumentation beginning in the Middle East, traveling through Eastern to Western Europe, ultimately arriving in the United States. The program illustrates the primary factors in carrying melodies to distant lands: wars, imperialism, nomadic dispersions, mass emigrations due to political oppression, and musical crazes that sweep the globe. The Journey West is designed with multiculturalism in mind; to educate those interested in distant ethnicities and to allow members of ethnicities presented in the program to enjoy music of their homeland or ancestors. In addition, the group supports and performs with refugee musicians and donate 5% of their income from performance fees and CD sales directly to the UNHCR, to help thousands of refugees around the globe. Currently, Journey West is collaborating with two refugee musicians Imad Yassin and Basam Batbouta. A Note from the Director – Max Buckholtz  The multi-cultural community I grew up in has had a profound effect on my relationships and worldview. The Buffalo Suzuki Strings musical community fostered by its founder Mary Cay Neal provided a positive ‘family’ environment in which I could seek refuge during trying times when my mother was sick for a decade. The student body was comprised of nationalities of diverse cultural and...

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Nathan Bell  Oct. 19, 2017

Nathan Bell
Oct. 19, 2017

Posted by basirick on Oct 2, 2017

Nathan Bell will perform at the Taylor Music Center at Union College on October 19th at 7 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public. Paul Kerr, AmericanaUK- 2017 Every now and again an album comes along that shakes my world so I never quite see it the same again. Blood Like a River is one of those… Twenty-five years ago, the buzz in Nashville said Nathan Bell would be “the next Steve Earle.” But Bell laid down the guitar, put on a tie and walked into a world — middle management, wife, kids, golf — he thought was stable. But, of course, it was not. Folk songs used to be about the poor farmer. Then, they were about hardworking blue-collar folks. But who’s going to write the songs for all the white-collar working stiffs who did the right things and got laid off anyway? Downsized once at age 48, then again at 54, Nathan Bell may be the Woody Guthrie we need in the age of globalization. Holly Gleason for Bitter Southerner Songwriter Nathan Bell is known for his straightforward yet poetic lyrics and expert musicianship.  His stories are of everyman, sung with honesty and empathy. Though his subjects are often dark and troubled, Bell never leaves the listener without, as Cohen wrote, “the crack, where the light comes through.” A master guitarist, Bell often performs solo, allowing his instrument to turn his poetry to song, his metaphors to melody. No Depression Magazine described his live performance during SXSW as “something very special and rare.” Bell’s career developed in the mid-80’s as part of the acoustic duo Bell...

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Anna & Elizabeth  Feb. 23, 2018

Anna & Elizabeth
Feb. 23, 2018

Posted by basirick on Oct 2, 2017

Anna & Elizabeth will be performing at the Taylor Music Center at Union College on  February 23, 2018 at 7 p.m. The concert is closed to the Union College Community – with ID only. “Simply amazing.” -No Depression Magazine “Heartbreakingly great.” -Jeremy Gara (Arcade Fire) “They brought many of us to tears with some of the most yearning harmonies I’ve heard at the Tiny Desk…Take a deep breath and soak it all in.” – Bob Boilen (NPR MUSIC) “Impossibly intimate, an experiment of the timelessness of human thought and emotion, right here and now. One of my favorite bands around.” -Abigail Washburn “I’m consistently knocked out by the way they combine the raw materials mined from traditional American music and culture with a highly creative, open-minded approach to art to create something visceral and surprising.” -Chris Eldridge (Punch Brothers) “They bring past lives to the present through exquisite music, storytelling and their wonderful stage presence.” -Brighton Festival “This is pure folk music—it doesn’t get much better than this.” -Folk Alley Their show is like no other. Through their immersive creative process and bold interpretations, Anna & Elizabeth’s visionary partnership pioneers new ways of presenting old songs and stories to modern audiences. Since 2011, with a deep and shared love of old Appalachian music, they stand at the vanguard of tradition and the avant-garde, transforming traditional music with innovative, modern arrangements. Their captivating performance integrates visual art, movement and experimental film with breathtaking harmonies. The performance magic comes from unique strengths of each artist: Elizabeth LaPrelle, lauded as the finest traditional singer of her generation, is rooted in rural Virginia and...

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