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Adams Institute Scholar to Speak on Trinidad Music

Nov. 15, 2004 — Dr. Timothy Rommen, Rockefeller Resident Fellow at the Alton Augustus Adams Music Research Institute on St. Thomas, will lecture on rock music in Trinidad at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Chase Auditorium on the University of the Virgin Islands St. Thomas campus.
The free, public event will be videoconferenced to the Melvin Evans Center, Room EC-401 on the St. Croix campus.
In his lecture, "'Localize It': Rock Music and the Ethics of Style in Trinidad," Rommen will trace the history of Trinidad's rock scene and focus specific attention on three bands: jointpop, Incert Coin, and Orange Sky. He will explore the functions of rock music in Trinidad by examining demographics and the importance of authenticity, identity, and style. He will then introduce an analytical model called the "ethics of style" and discuss rock music's place in Trinidad.
Rommen will be in residence at AMRI through January 2004. He holds a doctoral degree in ethnomusicology from the University of Chicago and is an assistant professor of music at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. In his research project at AMRI, "Popular Music and the Ethics of Style in the Circum-Caribbean," Rommen examines rock/alternative music in Trinidad, junkanoo in the Bahamas, and reggae in Barbados in order to theorize how the ethical dimensions of performance and reception can reveal the extent to which style participates in local discourses of identity.
He is working on a book titled "Watch Out My Children": Gospel Music and the Ethics of Style in Trinidad and Tobago. His articles and reviews have appeared in Black Music Research Journal, Journal of Religion, the Yearbook for Traditional Music and the International Dictionary of Black Composers, and has forthcoming writings in World of Music and Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World.
Rommen will move in January to the Center for Black Music Research in Chicago, the parent agency of AMRI, where he will complete the second half of his fellowship. At that time, Dr. Rebecca Sager, who is spending the first half of her fellowship in Chicago, will move to institute in St. Thomas, where she will be in residence through May. In her research project, Sager will explore how cultural identities are embodied in the dance rhythms of Haitian zouk, Dominican merengue, and French Antillean konpa. She will deliver a public lecture on March 5 at the St. John School of the Arts.
"The Rockefeller Fellowships facilitate international scholarship in black musics and enhance understanding of musico-cultural relationships throughout the African Diaspora," Dr. Rosita Sands, director of AMRI and the CBMR, said. "For scholars undertaking research in Caribbean musical styles and genres, the Virgin Islands is rife with opportunities," she said. "They can experience many of the older, traditional genres of music as well as more recent styles brought into the region through migration and population exchange with musicians and culture-bearers from Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and other Latin American island cultures near the Virgin Islands."
The lecture is cosponsored by AMRI and the music department of the University of the Virgin Islands. For further information about the November lecture or AMRI, call (340) 715-5680. For more information about the Adams Institute, see Source articles in Showcase and Music sections. The public is invited to visit AMRI at 1-B Kongens Gade, Charlotte Amalie, Tuesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information about the Center for Black Music Research, visit their Web site or call (312) 344-7559.

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