CBMR 2016 Faculty Fellow Rami Gabriel, PhD

Projects and plans!

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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.

Rami Gabriel PhD

Columbia College Chicago Associate Professor, Rami Gabriel PhD

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.

Recent Articles


  • CrossTalk: Cross Talk is a student-driven, multimedia destination dedicated to original student work that explores the sound-music continuum of the African Diaspora.
  • Depth Sounding: A platform for short-form scholarship intended for a wide audience, Depth Sounding is a space for up-to-the-minute thought in which authors can experiment with format, media, content, argument construction, and more, in ways that privilege or more fully integrate sound.
  • Free/Phase: Follow the FREE/PHASE suite of sound-based art works by artists Mendi+Keith Obadike, commissioned by the CBMR.
  • From the Stacks: Reviews and reactions to lucky “finds” and new additions within the CBMR Library and Archives–updated as serendipity leads. Contributors: staff, student workers, students, interns, patrons.
  • News: Events, notices, reviews–things that are timely.
  • Publications: All the in-house publications of the CBMR, past and present plus planned, except for the monographs and the BMRJ, which are available elsewhere. Ask us!