Charanga del Norte at Cambridge’s Big Weekend July 2016 in pictures
I am honoured that the multi-talented flute player Nestor Torres has reviewed my book for the Association of Recorded Music Sound journal (ARSC):
‘I declare that Cuban Flute Style is brilliant and without precedent. The research work is thorough and meticulous. The historical narrative of the flute styles and its protagonists is comprehensive, consistent and most importantly, respectful of the music’s tradition and filled with palpable affection. Her improvisation transcriptions and music samples from a wide selection of recordings (most of them commercially released) are accurate and accessible. . . .Sue Miller has created a work that celebrates and guarantees the perpetuation of Charanga and its Cuban Flute Style Tradition for many generations to come. Its historical, cultural, and pedagogical value cannot be overstated.’ (ARSC Journal)
Sue Miller’s chapter on improvisation in university music education has a review in the Journal of Music, Technology & Education:
‘As in Part 2, the arrangement of chapters in Part 3, Experiments in Teaching, brings out their thematic connections. Improvisation, composition and the experience of diverse musical cultures are prominent in this section. Sue Miller describes using her practice-led research in Latin improvisational styles to inform research-led teaching (Chapter 6, ‘Activating improvisational creativity in the performance of “World” and “Popular” music’). She argues for the positioning of improvisation at the centre of musical education, and against the cultural imperialism of most university music curricula.
Charanga del Norte perform at The Big Weekend in Cambridge on 10 July 2016. Featuring Guillermo Monroy on vocals the band will play as part of a 3 day world music festival and it’s FREE! Held on Parker’s Piece, Cambridge.
Charanga del Norte are playing the Cambridge Big Weekend festival this year on 10 July time tbc but likely to be around midday on Parker’s Piece. It is a FREE event! More information from Cambridge Big Weekend
Sue Miller provides an intricately argued call for the study of both theoretical and practical improvisation to take centre-stage in higher music education (Chapter 6), a point pursued by Esmée Olthuis, who posits that improvisation can foster musical leadership and critical skills of self-reflection.
Sue Miller’s monograph on Cuban flute style will be of interest to ethnomusicologists and flautists alike. It is a clearly written, highly musical book that serves as both a guide to performance practice and an academic text. Miller brings together performance as a research technique, interviews with musicians, lessons with renowned flautists, and detailed and extensive transcription and analysis of recordings to create a ‘musical archaeology’ (246) of creative processes, interpretation and improvisation in Cuban charanga flute performance.
Charanga del Norte (the southern team) performed at Reading University on 25 November 2015. Los Musicos joined the band to form a male coro section. Great gig – we had lots of fun!
Sue’s panel at the Society for Ethnomusicology’s annual conference in Texas Austin takes place on 3 December at 4pm. Also on the panel are renowned scholars of Latin American music Professor David Garcia (University of North Carolina) and Dr Ben Lapidus (CUNY).
Panel Abstract: ‘Clave feel’ is often cited as one of the main elements of Afro-Cuban/salsa improvisation yet very little to date has been done to demonstrate this concept analytically. Building on research in this area by Christopher Washburne, Peter Manuel, David Garcia, Robin Moore, Lise Waxer, and Robert Farris Thompson, scholars of Latin improvisation consider how clave remains a point of tradition, pride, and practice for many performers of Afrocuban music in New York City. Brass, woodwind and piano clave-based improvisation styles are examined to demonstrate how clave feel can define both the artistry and identity of performers. Ethnographic research informs the musical analyses of solo improvisations from both recordings and live performances to demonstrate how clave sensibility permeates the artistic work of New York-based Latin soloists.
Sue will be presenting a paper ‘Getting into Bed with the Cultural Theorists’ at the NIMiMS conference to demonstrate how the detailed analysis of sound connects directly to cultural aspects of the music and to advocate closer working partnerships with scholars in musicology and cultural studies.The aim of the symposium is to bridge gaps and create positive dialogue between different approaches within music studies. The symposium is focused on two questions.
 How can music analysis and cultural studies benefit from each other?
 How can music theory and musical practice benefit from each other?
Organizing parties: NIMiMS, Musicology at the Helsinki University Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies, Helsinki Pop & Jazz Conservatory, and the Finnish Music Archive JAPA.