Salwa Castelo-Branco receives the Glarean Award
On december 5 the forth Glarean Award for musical research will be presented by the Swiss Musicological Society in Bern. This year, the award goes to Salwa El-Shawan Castelo-Branco.
Salwa El-Shawan Castelo-Branco is director and professor at the department of ethnomusicology at the Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal. The Glarean Award (10 000 francs) is named after the Swiss humanist and music theorist Heinrich Glarean (1488–1563).
Salwa Castelo-Branco, what are your relations to Switzerland?
Although I do not have formal institutional relations with Switzerland, I have been following closely the academic activities and publications of Swiss Institutions and colleagues. In particular, I follow the activities and publications of the Ateliers d’Ethnomusicologie in Geneva, especially the Cahiers d’Ethnomusicologie, the main French language journal in Ethnomusicology. I have also been in touch with ethnomusicologists who work in Switzerland, especially Laurent Aubert and Britta Sweers who deal with themes that are central to ethnomusicological research in Portugal like copyright and music revival movements.
What does receiving the Glarean Award for musical research mean for you personally?
Receiving the Glarean award is a great honor and a much appreciated recognition of the work that I have been carrying out on the history of popular musics in Portugal from an ethnomusicological perspective and also of my efforts in institutionalizing ethnomusicology in this country and creating a team of ethnomusicologists who collaborate in carrying out fundamental research. The Award is a great incentive for me as well as for my team to continue the work we have been carrying out, to widen the scope of my publications both in Portugal and internationally.
Does this Award have any implications for musical research, in particular Ethnomusicology in Portugal?
The award has major implications for music research and ethnomusicology in Portugal. The prestige and recognition that the Glarean Award confers will have major implications for expanding ethnomusicology not only in Portugal, but also in other Lusophone countries. It will also increase our chances of receiving funding from national, European and international sources.
At the award ceremony you will talk about «fado» in Portugal. What is your special interest in this kind of folk song?
At the award ceremony, I will talk about music and nationalism in modern Portugal. Fado of course will be included as it has been considered a «national song» in several periods of its history. My talk will examine how nationalist ideology, colonialist policy, and political resistance are articulated discursively and performatively through music and other modes of expressive culture in modern Portugal, with particular reference to the totalitarian regime that ruled the country between 1933 and 1974. In dialogue with recent ethnomusicological research on music and nationalism, I will attempt to show how music has been implicated in the articulation of the nation-state, national belonging, politics of representation and power relations. I will emphasize the centrality of cultural practice to the inculcation of political ideologies and hegemonic rule, and to the efficiency of resistance movements that eventually led to its overthrow.
Where do your general research interests lie at present?
I will continue my work on music and nation building, having in mind a book. I am currently working on the following themes: the construction of nation through music discourse and discourse about music; the sonic representation of nation and empire in world fairs and local expositions in both colonial and post-colonial Portugal; censorship, regulation and resistance; and, fado’s national and transnational narratives.
Thank you very much for the interview.
Salwa Castelo-Branco liess sich am Konservatorium in Kairo und an der Manhattan School of Music in New York zur Pianistin ausbilden. 1975 erhielt sie den Master of Arts in Ethnomusicolgy an der Columbia University und promovierte 1980 ebenfalls in New York. Von 1979 bis 1982 lehrte die Musikethnologin an der New York University und war regelmässig Gastdozentin an der Columbia University, Princeton University und Chicago University. Sie war langjährige Präsidentin der Portugiesischen Gesellschaft für Musikwissenschaft (1992-2006), sowie von 1997-2001 und seit 2009 erneut Vize-Präsidentin des International Council for Traditional Music (UNESCO). 2013 wurde Salwa Castelo-Branco schliesslich zu dessen Präsidentin gewählt.