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Sunday, April 23 • 9:00am - 11:00am
Sounds of Possibility

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Sound is a catalyst for emotion and action. Musicians and composers are agents who bring a listening public into existence by using specific techniques to sculpt the properties of sound. They provide the grounds for sociality, or rather they are architects of collaboration on the shared ground of sound. This panel seeks out sounds of possibility, asking how sound can open new conditions of possibility for black Americans subject to silencing and constraint. Each panelist starts with a searching question. How does the sound of hip-hop make room for past and present narratives of southern blackness? For Regina N. Carter, growing up in 1990s Albany, Georgia, reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and rapper Pastor Troy were equally yoked in her imagination as touchstones of black southernness. How can composers respond to the realities of our current social struggles through music in a meaningful way? In Courtney Bryan’s compositions Sanctum and Yet Unheard, the stories and sounds of black women victims of police brutality inform her creative process. What might a feeling-as-epistemology sound like? Ashon Crawley hears the Hammond B-3 musician of Black Sacred Music as a sculptor, shaping relations with the congregation through desired efficaciousness. Can the sound of a musical instrument demand action? In a reconsideration of Louis Armstrong, Matt Sakakeeny suggests that virtuosic trumpet playing was a form of radical aesthetics that transformed modern blackness. In all of these different instances, sound does not simply represent social processes but actively shapes them, prompting each panelist to reevaluate music and politics.

Matt Sakakeeny, “The Radical Aesthetics of Louis Armstrong”
Courtney Bryan, “#SayHerName: Sounds of Misery and Sanctuary “
Ashon Crawley, “Sculpting Sound”
Regina N. Bradley, “When the Heroes Eventually Die: Creating Sonic Genealogies of Southern Black Protest”


Charles L. Hughes

Twitter | | Charles L. Hughes is the Director of the Memphis Center at Rhodes College. His first book, Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South, was released in 2015 by the University North Carolina Press. He has spoken and published widely on race, music, and American History. He is also a musician and songwriter. | | Roundtable: Soul Politics in the 21st Century | Since its emergence, soul has remained central to the musical manifestations of Black politics. In its early heyday in the 1960s and 1970s, it served as both symbol and mechanism of the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements and structured accompanying discussions of class, gender, region and sexuality. Since then, soul has held a treasured yet debated place in the longer history of Black creative genius and cultural resistance. It remains a powerful demonstration of the larger transformations that it accompanied and provoked, but also sometimes symbolizes a supposed degeneracy and downfall (with cries of... Read More →

avatar for Regina N. Bradley

Regina N. Bradley

Twitter | | Regina N. Bradley is Assistant Professor of African American Literature at Armstrong State University in Savannah, GA. She writes about race and sound, hip-hop, and the post-Civil Rights Black American South. Her first book, Chronicling Stankonia: OutKast and the Rise of the Hip-hop South, is forthcoming from University of North Carolina Press. She can be reached at redclayscholar.com or via Twitter @redclayscholar. | | Roundtable: Trap... Read More →
avatar for Courtney Bryan

Courtney Bryan

Twitter | | Courtney Bryan is “a pianist and composer of panoramic interests” (New York Times). Her music is in conversation with various musical genres, including jazz and other types of experimental music, as well as traditional gospel, spirituals, and hymns. Her work has been presented in a wide range of venues, including Lincoln Center, Miller Theatre, The Stone, and Blue Note Jazz Club. Bryan is an Assistant Professor of Music at Tulane University's Newcomb Department of Music. courtneybryan.com. (Photo Credit: Elizabeth Leitzell... Read More →
avatar for Ashon Crawley

Ashon Crawley

Twitter | | Ashon Crawley is Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies at University of California, Riverside. His research and teaching experiences are in the areas of Black Studies, Performance Theory and Sound Studies, Philosophy and Theology, Black Feminist and Queer theories. His first book project, Blackpentecostal Breath: The Aesthetics of Possibility is an investigation of aesthetics and performance as modes of collective, social imaginings otherwise (Fordham University Press... Read More →
avatar for Matt Sakakeeny

Matt Sakakeeny

Matt Sakakeeny is Associate Professor of Music at Tulane University. He is the author of Roll With It: Brass Bands in the Streets of New Orleans and co-editor of the volume Keywords in Sound. A sometime journalist, he has contributed to Oxford American, NPR’s All Things Considered, and other news outlets. In New Orleans, Matt is a board member for Roots of Music and the Dinerral Shavers Educational... Read More →

Sunday April 23, 2017 9:00am - 11:00am
Learning Labs MoPOP, 325 5th Avenue N, Seattle, WA 98109