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Music, Difference, Empathy, and Africa (i.e., Zimbabwe)

In this pre-recorded talk I introduced the mbira, a spiritual instrument from Zimbabwe that I play. I talked about how it makes me feel connected to my friends and colleagues from Zimbabwe in seemingly positive ways, but I also raise the possibility of unintended consequences. Like the legacies of the banjo, or yoga, or a number of other examples, what are the consequences of consuming and performing difference through music. Does empathy have a dark side?

Faculty Member: Tony Perman
Discussion Date: April 19, 2021 at 11:30 a.m. CT

Meet Professor Perman

Tony Perman (ethnomusicology) is a specialist in the music of Zimbabwe and the semiotics of music and emotion. He has received degrees from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign (PhD), the School of Oriental and African Studies in London (MMus), and Kenyon College (BA). Before coming to Grinnell, Dr. Perman previously taught at Bowdoin College and Pomona College.

His book Signs of the Spirit: Music and the Experience of Meaning in Ndau Ceremonial Life was published by the University of Illinois Press in 2020. He has written previously about mbira music, aesthetics, religious experience, and popular music in Zimbabwe in Ethnomusicology, Ethnomusicology Forum, The Journal of Musicological Research, The Journal of Religion in Africa, African Music, African Studies Review, and other edited volumes.

He has played and taught the mbira dzavadzimu and mbira dzaVaNdau for many years, having been taught primarily by Chartwell Dutiro, Tute Chigamba, Musekiwa Chingodza, Davison Masiza, Zombiyi Muzite, and Zivanai Khumbula. He is also a student of the Chinese guqin.

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Monday April 19
11:30 AM - 12:30 PM
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