Posted on 08. Aug, 2010 by admin in Uncategorized
“[R]esearch into Afro- American [music] must become the concern of musicologists if the definitive history of American music is ever to be written, “ Eileen Southern, music scholar and pioneer in the still largely untapped field of Black music history in the U.S., wrote in “New Needs and New Directions: Needs for research in Black-American music.” Southern, Harvard’s first black female tenured professor, wasn’t taken seriously by her colleagues, but their disregard motivated her to continue her studies and research and eventually, self-publish. What Southern began decades ago has grown into a legitimate field in some U.S. academic institutions, but the importance of African American, of Black music history has yet to fully take hold.
Columbia College’s Center for Black Music Research (CBMR) is helping to fill the void. CBMR, founded in 1983 by Samuel A. Floyd, Jr., houses a library and archives filled with primary and secondary sources about black music worldwide. CBMR is the “only repository where you can find classical black music and Jamaican field recordings by some of the world’s leading ethnomusicologists,” said Monica Hairston, CBMR Executive Director. CBMR hosts educational, outreach and performance programming for students, scholars, musicians, teachers, the public.
The New Black Music Repertory is CBMR’s current performance group—an ensemble of up to 80 musicians provides performances that exemplify the wide variety of music from the African Diaspora. “[T]he challenge is really getting the word out past the academy. It’s our history, everybody’s history, American history,” said Hairston. “It’s not a museum, it’s not a lending library, but as long as there’s a serious interest in learning anyone can come.”
CBMR is located at 618 S. Michigan Ave. For more information, call 312-369-7559.