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Black American Music in Europe
Utrecht, May 1998

Introduction

Black American music greatly influenced European music worlds. Many contemporary European musicians and composers consider blues, jazz, r&b, soul, rap and house as an important part of their musical background. European concert audiences and the record buying public simply love Black American music. This form of Americanization of the music worlds went hand in hand with the new wave of American cultural products adopted after World War II. Black American music genres took on new forms in European countries, and gradually became the most important musical influences in multicultural societies, as might be best illustrated by the centrality of hip hop in youth scenes all over Europe. Black American music however is not a privilege of "minorities", and does not exclusively belong to youth scenes: this music tradition now seems to be part of European culture like blue jeans and coca cola. Black American music is studied academically because it is a dominant part of and influence on contemporary music and music making.

The European reception of Black American music was at times laden with cultural bias and was for a long time actively fought against by the authorities and the art music establishment. This fight proved to be a waste of time: by its sheer beauty, intensity and deeply touching appeal Black American music has over and over again conquered audiences. The process of mainstreamisation of black music and dance and the globalisation of American popular music resulted in gradual whitewashing of originally black elements. This inevitably has made certain genres in jazz, and the largest portion of rock, disco, house and crossover mainly identifiable as white genres.

Scholars nowadays are involved more and more in the study of the impact of Black American music in its European context and the cultural implications of this crossover. A number of interesting issues will be highlighted during this conference, the first of its kind.


Program & timings 
Friday 15 May 1998 

09.00-10.00 	Registration and coffee 

10.00 		Morning program:

10.00-10.15 	Lutgard Mutsaers (Utrecht University):
		The cool tool in the identity toolbox. Past, present and future
			of Black American Music in Europe 
10.15-10.45 	Portia Maultsby (Belle van Zuylen Professor @ Utrecht
		University):
		Issues of contextuality and the Black American music aesthetic 

10.45-11.30 	Simon Frith (Strathclyde University, Glasgow UK):
		The manifold social and cultural impact of African American
			popular music in Europe 

11.30-12.00 	Coffee break 

12.00-12.45 	Stan Hawkins (Oslo University, Norway):
		Eurogrooves: texts of theft or appropriation in pop music 



12.45-14.00 	Lunch break


14.00 		Afternoon program:

14.00-14.45 	Gust de Meyer (C. University Leuven, Belgium):
		"Funky Town": Music radio in 1980s and 1990s Belgium; format,
			selection procedures and the promotion of African 
			American dance music 

14.45-15.30 	Erwin Roebroeks (C. University Nijmegen, The Netherlands):
		The art of the dancing computer: A Techno alliance between
			Detroit and Berlin 

15.30-16.00 	Tea break 

16.00-16.45 	Tom Cheesman (University of Wales, Swansea UK):
		Elective and non-elective affinities: rappers of Germany 

17.00-18.30 	Drinks & music


21.00-00.00 	Evening program:
		Location: SJU Jazzpodium, Varkenmarkt, Utrecht
		Live music by Alex Siegers & guest musicians
		Surprise premieres (Maultsby compositions)
		Deejays
		Free entrance 

                          
Saturday 16 May 1998 

9.00 -10.00 	Registration and coffee 

10.00 		Morning program:

10.00-10.45 	Paul Oliver (Oxford Brookes University, Oxford UK):
		Great expectations. The reception of the first blues singers
			in Europe 

10.45-11.30 	Scott Barretta (Lund University, Sweden):
		"Sweet home Stockholm": Reception of blues in the Swedish
			context 

11.30-12.00 	Coffee break 

12.00-12.45 	Pim Gras & Herman Openneer (Dutch Jazz Archives):
		"The folk music of the North American Negro": image and
			function of jazz in Holland during the 1930s and 1940s
			(to be confirmed) 


12.45-14.00 	Lunch break


14.00 		Afternoon program:

14.00-14.45 	Helen Metzelaar (Amsterdam):
		Spiritual fund raising: The Fisk Jubilee Singers' tour of
			Holland in 1877 

14.45-15.30 	Derek Scott (Salford University, Manchester UK):
		The impact of African-American music-making on the European
			classical tradition 

15.30-16.00 	Tea break 

16.00-17.00 	Portia Maultsby leads speakers' forum evaluation & discussion

17.00-18.30 	Drinks & music