Migration Streams - Music and Migration: The Movement of Sounds

Music and Migration: The Movement of Sounds

Within impactmania’s Human Mind and Migration program, the possibilities of topics to explore are endless. I am choosing to pursue the subject of music and how it relates to the individual and cultural experiences of migrants because music has always been an integral part of my life.

As a pianist, I understand the power that listening to or creating music can have on someone’s mind; for me, I use piano playing as a tool to relieve stress and exercise creativity without judgement. Still, I can only imagine the significance music can have on a migrant’s life, which is why I intend to discover and bring out this perspective through my research.

There are many songs written about migration, culturally significant instruments and styles of music that go back for generations, and countless artists who migrated during their lives. It is clear that music and migration are interconnected in multiple ways, and I aspire to look deeper into a few. For instance, how can a piece of music share the feeling of moving to a new place? What is it like to play a traditional instrument in a new culture? Do different styles of music blend together via migration? These are the types of questions I am excited to explore in the coming year.


Dr. John Baily: Afghan Music and its Significance for Migrant Musicians


musicians playing in dutar band

Dutar band playing the long-necked four-stringed dutar, Nowruz (New Year) (courtesy of John Baily)

John Baily is an ethnomusicologist who has extensively researched and worked with the music of Afghanistan. He has lectured at Queen’s University of Belfast, as well as Columbia University in New York. In 1990, he joined Goldsmiths, University of London, where he has taught as a Professor of Ethnomusicology.

Alice Taylor, impactmania and AD&A Museum, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) student speaks with John Baily to better understand the situation of Afghan and migrant musicians, learn about his experiences working as an ethnomusicologist and musician, and discover his thoughts on the importance of music.

Read the full article here: Migration Streams - Dr. John Baily on Afghan Music | Human Mind and Migration - UC Santa Barbara (ucsb.edu)