Sue Miller – Cuban Flute Improviser, Writer & Academic

  • British Academy Turning Points: Are older music technologies better at capturing ‘liveness’ in recordings? by Dr Sue Miller Added: June 28th, 2020

    Have contemporary technological changes in recording and the search for perfection been to the detriment of musical skills? Do today’s digital approaches create recordings that are too mechanical and lacking in the human touch? While older unedited recordings maintain their ‘liveness’ in the case of many Latin recordings of the mid-20th century, is it possible to go back to those days, now that digital layering and editing are part of the creative process? What is lost by removing the ‘imperfections’ of live performance in the mix?

  • New Charanga del Norte Album ‘Pachanga Time’ Added: June 18th, 2020

    Charanga del Norte release their new album Pachanga Time  on Spotify  here  and later in the year on Vinyl – the new tracks are also available online  here:  

  • The Charanga del Norte Cocktail Added: June 16th, 2020

    The Charanga del Norte cocktail
    18:30-19:30, The digital dinner party Friday 19 June 2020

    Join food historian and artist Tasha Marks for a unique taste of the British Academy Summer Showcase. Inspired by the work of three British Academy researchers, this cook-along and conversation is sure to be food for thought. The pairings start with a cocktail, influenced by Sue Miller’s work on Latin music. Do have fun making your own cocktail after Tasha’s demonstration and check out our new album ‘Pachanga Time’ to dance with too (released the same day) – shimmy around your back garden or living room to our music to literally raise your spirits – now you can listen and drink us at the same time!

  • British Academy Summer Showcase Feature 19-20 June 2020 Added: June 11th, 2020

    “Latin music in the USA was booming in the 1950s and 1960s, with New York recording studios humming with the sounds of Cuban flute, tenor voices, charanga violins, congas, timbales, güiro, bass and piano. Over time the move from traditional recording techniques to new technologies changed the way this music was performed. Join musicologist Sue […]

  • The Musicians’ Perspectives Added: June 9th, 2020

    In this post musicians from Charanga del Norte reflect on their recording experiences on this British Academy funded project which involved studio recordings with some live takes (for the rhythm section and then the string section) and then the live takes at All Hallows Church, Hyde Park, Leeds at the end of 2019. In these reflections, musicians talk about the pros and cons of live take recording and about capturing that all important element of spontaneity and sabor essential to Cuban/Latin dance music performance.

  • Charanga del Norte LIVE Recording ‘Bronx Pachanga’ Added: May 7th, 2020

    This is the first of several live music documentaries of Sue Miller and her Charanga del Norte made by Tim Blackwell and recorded on ribbon microphones by Paul Thompson and Barkley McKay. This forms part of a research project funded by the British Academy. Here is a live take of Sue’s arrangement of ‘Bronx Pachanga’ with a cheeky little Watusi middle.

  • New Book by Sue Miller – Improvising Sabor: Cuban Dance Music in New York Added: April 23rd, 2020

    My New Book comes out next year in hardback and paperback and if you pre-order there are really good discounts available from the University Press of Mississippi. More details here:      

  • The Cuban Flute Sound – documentary film Added: April 23rd, 2020

    This documentary forms part of a British Academy funded research project and is a shorter version of the ‘Capturing Liveness’ video available on the main British Academy page.  

  • Learning the 5-key Charanga Flute – Practice Journal Added: March 25th, 2020

    This is a practice blog on my progress learning the 5-key wooden flute used in Cuban charanga. In these two short videos I am following the fingerings Cuban flute players taught me in 2011 but I haven’t as yet had time to learn the instrument – the Covid19 pandemic has led to me teaching my University performance students online and I have asked them to keep an audio-visual practice diary. I usually don’t ask students to do things I haven’t road tested myself and although I documented my practice in my PhD I did not record my private practice in video form, only band rehearsals and live performances – so here goes for some ‘practice what you preach!’

  • Research Talk at RNCM Wednesday 26 February 2020 Added: February 24th, 2020

    Performance and Practice Research: Three Acts of Translation Dr Sue Miller (Leeds Beckett University) Wednesday 26 February 4.15pm Forman Lecture Theatre Taking Simon McKerrell’s paper ‘Towards Practice Research in Ethnomusicology’ as a starting point I present here three examples of my own practice research which use performance as ‘a central methodology,’ as a ‘translation […]