Fall / Spring Faculty Fellowship at the CBMR
Rami Gabriel, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Psychology, Department of Humanities, History, and Social Science at Columbia College Chicago. As a Research Fellow at the CBMR, Rami has taken on three projects. First, in the Fall 2015 semester, he undertook research and preparation of course material on ‘Soul, Country, and the USA,’ taught in J-term 2016. This work focused on recorded African-American music from the mid-1940s (race records, early R & B) through the beginnings and apex of soul music in the 1950s to the 1960s, and its subsequent transformations in the 1970s. Guest performers ranging from country blues to gospel and soul artists performed at the CBMR as part of the course.
In the spring, Rami investigated the relationship between Egyptian classical music from the early twentieth century—a genre he is familiar with as a professional performer on the oud and as a composer—and a traditional music of Swahili and Arabic-speaking Zanzibar named Taarab. Preparatory research for this project included a survey of African music and history.
Finally, also in spring of this year Rami completed two recording projects of original compositions inspired by his research at the CBMR, one a set of pieces uniting classical Arabic traditions with American folk traditions, and another consisting of original soul and country songs.
Summer BMRC Fellowship
In summer, Rami is honored to take part in the Black Metropolis Research Consortium program. He is planning to create an audio postcard entitled “The Sounds of Chicago: Black Metropolis,” and will be consulting the archival collections at the University of Chicago, the Harold Washington Public Library, as well as at the CBMR.
From his project description:
The impact of Gabriel’s archival work will be giving audio that is rarely consulted for musical purposes a place in the history of the city and reflecting a new understanding of how the ordinary sounds of living have their own poignant beauty. The impact of his field recordings will be, firstly, giving the sounds of contemporary Black Chicago as heard in public spaces a new context as an artistic work. The finished work will be mastered and produced into a limited edition run of 100 copies, which will also be posted free-of-charge on the CBMR’s blog and other online channels. Gabriel plans to ‘perform’ the work at various venues.