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Graduate appointed as musical director for RSC

Katie Doherty

Katie Doherty, who was one of the first students to graduate with first class honours from the BMus in Folk and Traditional Music in 2005, has recently been appointed as musical director for the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of As You Like It.

The production, at The Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, was directed by Samuel West. It will be moving to The Swan theatre in Stratford-upon-Avon from 6 March as part of the Complete Works of Shakespeare festival, which runs until April 2007.

Katie, who has recently completed a Masters degree at Newcastle University, said: 'The music was based on the score by Howard Goodall, who employed me to re-arrange his original scores, compose incidental music and teach the cast.

'Since opening in Sheffield, the production has been reviewed in the national press, including The Guardian, the Daily Telegraph ("Howard Goodall's folksy music is a delight", said theatre critic Charles Spencer), and The Independent. Thankfully the music, as well as the play, has had a very positive reaction!', she added.


Sound 07

The annual celebration of the breadth and quality of student music-making at the Northeast’s universities takes place on Saturday 17th February at The Sage Gateshead, with performances featuring everything from electronica to folk, plus a special family concert. Sound 07 is a student music festival, in which bands have been selected through a competitive process culminating in presentations to a tough professional selection panel. In this final showcase day, the selected students from across the region present a day of new music of all kinds – ranging from a morning concert for families, through free acoustic performances on the Concourse and small semi-acoustic ensembles complete with afternoon tea, and a full evening concert featuring a wide range of amplified sounds from right across the map of popular music.

Family Concert

11am - Northern Rock Foundation Hall

Luna de Mayo: contemporary Hispanic folk

Laura Hewison: singer/songwriter/cellist

David Limmer: singer/songwriter/pianist

Ochre: electronica


3pm - Northern Rock Foundation Hall

Jazz Mufflers: contemporary jazz

Laura Hewison: singer/songwriter/cellist

David Limmer: singer/songwriter/pianist

Luna de Mayo: contemporary Hispanic folk


6.30pm - Northern Rock Foundation Hall

'Big Hungry Animal': a parable about mass media and popular culture

'Teatro de Nieve' (Luis Ortega and Sergio Camacho Ensemble): three word poem about loss (work in Spanish and English featuring countertenor and thirteen musicians/actors)



8pm - Hall Two

Ochre: electronica

Waxwing: contemporary and traditional folk

Alex: guitar-based indie band

David Limmer: singer/songwriter/pianist

Electro-Flamenko: dance beats, electronica and traditional


The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistos

1pm, 2.30pm, 5.15pm - Katharine Shears Studio

Johann Hasler: The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistos is a ten-minute piece for voices and accompaniment by Colombian composition student repeated three times throughout the day. This event is free to ticket holders for any of the other Sound 07 performances.

Supported by Universities for the North-East's Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning - Music and Inclusivity.


Alistair Anderson and Martin Simpson in Concert

Mr Alistair AndersonA remarkable double bill: two of the world's best exponents of their instruments - Martin Simpson on guitar and Alistair Anderson on concertina on Saturday 24 February at The Sage Gateshead. Alistair is the leading performer on the English Concertina and a fine exponent of the Northumbrian pipes. He is also one of the most widely respected composers working in the folk field - his latest work The Farne Islands - was performed to great acclaim at The Sage Gateshead and The Crucible, Sheffield, in March 2006. Martin's guitar playing is unsurpassed; he is one of the finest finger pickers and slide players of our time and was recently named one of the top artists of the decade by Acoustic Guitar magazine, while his unique vocal style brings a fresh understanding to traditional songs from both sides of the Atlantic.

Both artists have been involved in a variety of creative collaborations with other leading musicians - Martin with Martin Carthy, June Tabor, Eric Bibb, Richard Thompson, David Lindley; Alistair with The Lindsay String Quartet, jazz trombonist Annie Whitehead and classical guitarist John Williams. However this is the first opportunity for these two close friends to perform together, although Martin's superb guitar setting of Anderson's melody, The Air for Maurice Ogg, has long been a concert favourite. A deep love of their traditions plus a finely judged awareness of the potential for new growth from these roots underpins the work of both these world class artists. Together they will present a memorable concert where their consummate solo performances form the foundation of breathtaking duets.


IASPM Book Prize 2007

A public award will be given by the International Association for the Study of Popular Music  for two outstanding 'first' books on popular music, one in English, the other either in Spanish or Portuguese, at the 2007 Mexico City IASPM conference.

Nominations are invited from IASPM members of books they consider to be possible contenders for such an award. Authors nominated should preferably already be members of IASPM, or should become members of IASPM after being nominated, in order to be eligible.

Authors may either self-nominate, or other members may nominate authors and books they regard worth considering for the award.

Books nominated must have been already published and be on the market since January 1st 2005, until December 31st 2006, and a copy of the book must be sent by the publisher to each of the three members of the judging panel (see below), before March 31st 2007.

The judging panel consists of Vanessa Knights (UK - chair), Vincenzo Perna (Italy), and Juan Pablo González (Chile).

Nominations can be sent by email in the first instance to Vanessa Knights (V.N.M.Knights@newcastle.ac.uk).


Special Honorary Degree Congregation University honours world poverty campaigners

A special Congregation Ceremony will be held at which Honorary Degrees will be conferred upon major contributors to the Make Poverty History campaign, including Bob Geldof, KBE, initiator and organizer of Band Aid, Live Aid and, more recently, Live 8 on Monday 8th January 2007 at The Sage Gateshead.


Culture Awards

Click on the link below to enter (you can vote for ¡VAMOS! in either  newcomer of the year or best event category)


All photography by James Postlethwaite  www.jamespostlethwaite.co.uk


Cultural Technologies of the Body: Spectatorship

This afternoon symposium (2-5pm, Friday 8 December at Culture Lab) features two papers on music:

A Separate Music: Meredith Monk and Notation, Performance, Voice, Paul Attinello (ICMuS)

This presentation will feature several video clips of Monk's performance art, and give a brief overview of the most unusual aspects of her multimedia work

The Oruro Carnival, Ximena Cordoba (PhD student, School of Modern Languages)

The Oruro Carnival in Bolivia is one of the most exuberant displays in the world. It attracts over 30,000 diverse people from within the country and abroad, taking part in a multiplicity of celebrations. This paper will address the mestizo voice of history as it is danced, sung, dramatised and displayed on people’s bodies.

The final paper of the afternoon is drawn from Film Studies, Sarah Leahy (SML) talks about embodied spectatorship in relation to the theory of Jean-Louis Baudry.


Volver poster Love thy neighbour?: toward a political economy of musical neighbours

Ian Biddle gave the last paper of the semester in the ICMuS seminar series on Wednesday, 6th December 2006. The paper was about the idea of musical communities, territories and neighbouring, illustrated with examples from popular music and Pedro Almodóvar's latest film, Volver.





Sex, death and popular Latino music


Vanessa Knights was invited by the Institute of Latin American Studies/School of Modern Languages and the School of Music, University of Liverpool to deliver a paper entitled, ‘Sexo contra muerte: AIDS and Latino popular music’ about the disproportionate impact of the AIDS crisis on the US Latino community and the reaction in popular song (particularly the 1989 track ‘El gran varón’ by Wilie Colón) on 30 November 2006. This paper is based on joint research with Paul Attinello into Hispanic musical responses to the AIDS crisis.


 Vanessa Knights talking about AIDS and music

Queer Readings Book Launch

On Wednesday 29th November at 7.30pm, Paul Attinello, Ian Biddle and Vanessa Knights took part in a Queer Reading book launch at The Monro, Duke St, Liverpool promoting 4 exciting books about music, all containing queer themes:

Queering the Pitch… the 10-year anniversary reprint

Queering the Popular Pitch… a popular music companion to the above

Sounding Off: theorizing disability in music

Oh Boy! masculinities and popular music... an exclusive chance to see this before it’s on the shelves

This well-attended event was organised by Freya Jarman-Ivens, editor of Oh Boy!, whose doctoral thesis on voice, subjectivity and fragmentation in popular music was supervised by Ian Biddle at Newcastle University.

Paul Attinello spoke about Philip Brett and his legacy, especially remembering that, in addition to being importantly responsible for two of the books, he had also been a major force in the entire development of queer and gender studies that resulted in all four books notably his championing of a fair and open approach to gender parity, subjectivity, tradition and radicalism, and an open approach to various genres...


Festival debut for composer's latest work

Mystical Dances, a new composition by Agustín Fernández, senior lecturer in the International Centre for Music Studies, has been premiered at the Huddersfield Festival, Britain's most prestigious festival of contemporary music. Agustín's new work was specially commissioned for, and played by, Northern Sinfonia, conducted by their musical director, the Austrian violinist and conductor Thomas Zehetmair.

After the concert, Agustín commented: 'I am very pleased with the performance. The orchestra did a splendid job. I was rather nervous before the performance. The Huddersfield Festival has a reputation as a showcase for very hard-core experimental and modernist music, whereas my composition is innovative in a different sense, but the signs were that it was very well received by the audience.'

Agustín's compositions also featured in the second concert of the I3 series, which took place in The Sage Gateshead recently. I3 is the creative strand of the ICMuS CETL (Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning - Music and Inclusivity) activities, at the heart of which is a series of concerts held in partnership with Durham University and The Sage Gateshead.

Agustín Fernández's next premiere will be the first complete performance of A to Z, at Nybrokajen 11, Stockholm, on 5 December. The next I3 concert, featuring works by composers from Newcastle and Durham Universities, will be performed at The Sage Gateshead on 14 January.


New Online Journal

Radical Musicology, a new online journal, will be peer-reviewed and produced in the International Centre for Music Studies. Richard Middleton is the co-ordinating editor and Richard Elliott the Associate Editor.

The journal has been established to provide a forum for progressive thinking across the whole field of musical studies.

Radical Musicology will be published in annual volumes, with new content added continuously when available. As well as major academic articles, it includes essay-reviews of particularly significant books, recordings and concerts, and, in the interests of furthering dialogue, also welcomes thoughtful responses to articles. Email enquiries@radical-musicology.org.uk for more information.




British Forum for Ethnomusicology Annual Conference International Centre for Music Studies, Newcastle University, UK

April 18-21, 2007

The International Centre for Music Studies at Newcastle University is pleased to host a BFE Conference for the first time.


Salwa El-Shawan Castelo Branco (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)

Philip V. Bohlman (University of Chicago)


Deadline for receipt of abstracts: 15th January, 2007

If it is true that the ethnographic Other is now fully plugged in, and the ethnomusicologist is no longer the only person in the field with high-tech equipment (Lysloff and Gay, Jr.); that the differences between world and traditional folk musicians have collapsed, and for many of them the local marketplace and the global market are at some level the same (Bohlman); then it is probably time (again) to think to what extent, on the level of scholarship ­ within cultural studies, subcultural theory, ethnic studies, and ethnomusicology ­ the music [still] features within grids of distinction and political position clearly indebted to older discourses in folkloristics, anthropology and Romantic Kulturkritik (Middleton). In the light of this, how does ethnomusicology consider new vernacular and post-vernacular musics? Is the difference between folk and popular still valuable, or even necessary? It is probably time (again) to question the extent to which ethnomusicological theory is now responding to the always changing process of the stratification of [musical] codes, each one in a state of constant change and adaptation, each one recognized and owned by several communities (or sub-communities) with different degrees of competence, and sometimes in conflict with each other (Fabbri).

We welcome papers and panels on the following themes, although these should not be taken as exclusive:

- Ethnomusicological theories and processes of categorization
- Folk music and popular music revisited: distinctions, overlaps and convergences
- Ethnomusicology of new vernacular and post-vernacular musics
- Folk music performance on the contemporary stage
- Tradition and new authenticities
- Is 'World Music' dead? (After rock, jazz, and punk, is it time for another kind of 'funeral'?)
- Different histories of/in ethnomusicology
- Genre and/or style studies


The official language of the conference will be English. Papers should last no longer than 20 minutes, including audio and visual illustrations.

Abstracts (up to 250 words, plus a note of audio-visual requirements) should be sent, by email (rtf. files), by 15th January 2007 at the latest, to the local organiser, Dr Goffredo Plastino, to whom other enquiries may also be addressed. Abstracts should clearly display the knowledge of previous research, and should indicate both ethnographic and theoretical perspectives.

Abstracts will be evaluated anonymously by a small panel, and authors may expect to be advised of their acceptance or otherwise by 20th February 2007.

To permit blind evaluation, please type the title of the paper and the body of the abstract at the top of the page (left alignment), and your name and institutional affiliation in the bottom left-hand corner. Do not include your name in the body of the abstract.


NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE is easily accessible by rail and well served for overseas visitors by Newcastle International Airport. For delegates requiring overnight accommodation there is a range of options within easy walking distance. Booking details and additional information will be available on February 2007 on the conference website



Dr Goffredo Plastino

International Centre for Music Studies

Newcastle University

Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 7RU, UK

Email: goffredo.plastino@ncl.ac.uk

Tel. +44-(0)191-222-3578


13th Northern French Media Research Group one-day conference

Saturday 4 November 2006 (Royal Station Hotel, Newcastle upon Tyne, 5 minutes walk from Newcastle Central Station)

Registration is £25 (PGs £10). Please send cheques payable to 'Northern media research group' to H Dauncey at School of Modern Languages, Old Library Building, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE17RU.

Programme of the day, speakers and topics

10.00-10.30. Welcome and coffee.

10.30-11.10. Mr Franck Michel (Newcastle University): 'The political communication of Valéry Giscard d'Estaing.

11.10-11.50. Dr Bridget Knapper (formerly University of Westminster): 'Beur FM: the management of an inclusive space'.

11.50-12.50. Dr Philippe Le Guern (Université d'Angers / CNRS): 'Les radios en France : un vecteur de la concentration culturelle?'

12.50-13.50. Lunch (taken quickly and cheaply in an adjacent eatery).

13.50-14.30. Dr Jane Chapman (Lincoln University): 'George Sand as ‘engaged’ journalist: pre-commercial ethics and fictional devices'.

14.30-15.20. Professor Máire Cross (Newcastle University) will lead a 'Workshop' session on media reactions to Ségolène Royal.

15.20-16.00. Dr Pam Moores (University of Aston) and Dr Sheila Perry (University of Nottingham): 'The Media reception of International Women's Day in France and Britain'.

16.00-16.30. Roundup, tea and discussion of future plans (FMRG14 in May 2007 and FMRG15 in November 2007).

The FMRG would like to acknowledge continuing financial assistance afforded by the Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France (ASMCF) to the day-conferences. Thanks are also due to the Newcastle Institute for the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (NIASSH) for funding.

Contact Dr Hugh Dauncey for further details of the conference or the FMRG.


French Recording Industry Seminar

On Thursday November 2nd at 4pm, Philippe Le Guern of the Université d'Angers/CNRS will give a paper on the French recording industry in the Research Beehive (Newcastle University), room 2.22:

L'industrie du disque en France : comment repenser la crise de la diversité culturelle?

 Dr Le Guern is currently working on a number of collaborative projects with network member Dr Hugh Dauncey, including edited volumes on French popular music and the study of popular music in France and Great Britain, and a comparative study of independent record labels.


Music Research Seminar Programme

The full series of music research seminars at Newcastle University can found by clicking here.

As part of this programme there will be a one-day symposium:

The philosophy of the vernacular: Richard Middleton's Voicing the People in context

Mladen Dolar, Jodi Dean, Mark Fisher, Freya Jarman-Ivens, Ian Biddle, Will Edmondes, Richard Elliott and Richard Middleton

Saturday, 25th November 2006, 9:30am, CETL seminar Room, Armstrong Building


Kathryn Tickell’s Northumbria

On 10 October, Channel 5 showed Kathryn Tickell’s Northumbria, an exploration of the influence of place on her music, from incredible rural landscapes to the urban edge and modernity of Newcastle and Gateshead.


Latin culture exploded onto city streets

From 7th to 16th July 2006, NewcastleGateshead played home to an explosion of Latin and Lusophone cultures involving theatre, film, art, photography, literature, cuisine, fashion, dance, classical, popular and club music.

The ¡VAMOS! festival involved staff from the Popular Music Research Network including two of the festival organisers, Vanessa Knights and Ian Biddle. Along with festival director, Nik Barrera of NAME and festival co-ordinator Jill Bennison of Blue Sky Events, they launched the festival at Dance City with free dance classes, performances by Flamenco Norte and Los Que lo Dan, and a peña flamenca.

Sergio Camacho & Mariano Otheguy

Sergio & Mariano at Saltwell Park

Staff and students linked to the network participated in numerous events with the backing of the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning - Music and Inclusivity. PhD student Sergio Camacho sang at Saltwell Park as well as having one of his compositions performed at All Saints Church in a programme which also featured Senior Lecturer in Composition, Agustín Fernández and a pre-concert talk by Ian Biddle. Students also performed alongside international Djs at the World Headquarters club following a competition to compose an electronica track using Hispanic/Lusophone source materials. They were a visible presence in their ¡VAMOS! t-shirts as the festival street team throughout the city!

Paco & Cesco

Paco & Cesco at WHQ

During the festival the University also hosted an international conference on Popular Musics of the Hispanic and Lusophone Worlds from 14th to 16th July organised by Dr Biddle (Head of Music and director of CETL) and Dr Vanessa Knights (Senior Lecturer in Hispanic Studies, School of Modern Languages with support from the Popular Music Research Group , CETL and Newcastle Institute for the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities, Newcastle University in conjunction with the University of Nottingham and the Sage Gateshead. Support for speakers was also provided by the British Academy and Instituto Camões. The conference brought together scholars from Europe and the Americas.

There were several papers delivered by Newcastle staff and students including Dr María Fernández-Toro’s innovative research into the use of Guarani in Paraguayan song and Dr Vanessa Knights and Dr Paul Attinello’s groundbreaking work on popular music and AIDS.

María also performed with her a cappella group, Voice Quad, at a civic reception offered for conference delegates by the Lord Mayor, Diane Packham.

For further information on the festival please visit:


Here’s to ¡VAMOS! 2008!

¡VAMOS! was financially supported by: Arts Council North East, Newcastle City Council, Gateshead Council, The Northern Rock Foundation, CETL (Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning - Music and Inclusivity).

Photography courtesy of ¡VAMOS! 2006 by James Postlethwaite


Review of  McFall's Performance

Mr McFall’s Chamber, an ensemble whose accomplished members play with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, gave a rich, enjoyable concert at All Saints Church in Newcastle on a cool Sunday afternoon [9 July 2006]. The program had a Spanish/Latin American focus (to be expected, as it was part of a Hispanic music festival), but with a heavy Parisian accent; the musical choices, ranging from pleasurable to powerful, all tended to emphasize sensual sound, or sounds about sensuality. Several of the composers weren’t familiar to me – I noted the Cuban Fabio Landa, whose Pequeña Suite Cubana started the concert with a ravishing, Ravelesque quality, and two lively Cuban piano dances by Ignacio Cervantes. There was some Piazzolla, of course – extremely well played and enjoyable; but more noticeable were the local composers, the songs, and the saw.

Locals included Sergio Camacho’s Four Names for the One Moon, whose fascinating, fragmentary beginning showed a lot of promise; and Agustín FernándezBotanic Spider, which was definitely the ‘powerhouse’ work of the afternoon. I’m not just saying this because he’s a colleague of mine – no, honestly – but it was a truly powerful piece with a massive impact: the intellectual intricacies of the first movement set up a seriousness that was fulfilled by a final movement whose power recalled for me such works as Wolpe’s Passacaglia. Leavening all that intensity were four cabaret songs, wonderfully performed by Taylor Wilson; she had chosen dramatic longer songs by Jobim, Weill and Brel, and delivered them with a dark, throaty quality that thoroughly sold the tragic, erotic ‘wrist-slashers.’ There was also an unexpected cameo for musical saw – I was, perhaps pardonably, distracted by trying to figure out exactly how Su-a Lee (normally the group’s cellist) was producing those sounds. The result was campy, but quite wonderful, especially as the first violinist had such a good ear for playing along with the saw.

My strongest final impression was of the easy confidence of these artists; their flexible approaches to programming, and assured skills at making a variety of musics sound very good indeed, were carried off without effort or fanfare. There should be more chamber groups in the world that are both this dazzling and this intimate; if there were, we’d all probably enjoy chamber music the way it was enjoyed a century ago.

 Paul Attinello (ICMuS)

This concert could not have taken place without the generous support of the Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning - Music and Inclusivity and the International Centre for Music Studies

McFalls Chamber Orchestra

Photography courtesy of ¡VAMOS! 2006 by James Postlethwaite