Vernacular and ‘Ethnic’ Music in Higher Level Education: Colonial and Post-Colonial Perspectives


Vernacular music (a troublesome concept at best) has become embedded in the curricula of many higher level music departments across the globe. This has very often been achieved under the gaze of elite and privileged culture and in particular western academic ‘musicologies’ whose premade and potentially colonising paradigms have arguably shaped the consideration of these musical ‘others’. Ethnomusicologists among others have observed and critiqued this phenomenon in the past fifty years; however there have been few opportunities to observe these phenomena from the perspective of those academics who are shaping the spaces for folk, ethnic, popular and ‘other’ musics in higher education. 

The aim of this conference is to bring together practitioners and pedagogues within their own cultures to explore and share current and new research, addressing, but not limited to, the following: 

  • Engaging vernacular and ethnic musics in higher level education in colonial and post- colonial contexts 
  • Colonial and post-colonial perspectives on music, ethnomusicology and music education 
  • Engaged and ethical practices within cultures 
  • The effect of colonisation and occupation on shaping a third level pedagogical context 
  • Approaches in teaching and learning of vernacular and ethnic music 
  • Challenges in teaching vernacular music in diverse music education settings 
  • Curriculum development and design 
  • Enabling resilient and resourceful learners, teachers and practitioners 
  • Online and hybrid teaching and learning 

These themes are suggestions and proposals on a broad range of topics relating to vernacular and ethnic musics, ethnomusicology and pedagogy, particularly in higher level settings, are welcomed. 

Conference committee: Dr Sandra Joyce, Dr Niall Keegan, Dr Conor Caldwell, Dr Avril McLoughlin 

This Conference is free but, if you would like to attend, please register here – REGISTRATION LINK

Supported By UL Global, ICTM Ireland and the Faculty od Arts, Humanities and the Social Sciences, University of Limerick.

Friday, 9th Feb. 9am


Friday, 9th Feb. 9.10am, Theatre One

Wisdom Komabu  Challenges Of Teaching Vernacular Music In The University Community Choirs: The Case Of University Of Cape Coast 

Matthew NooneWhose World Music?  World music Pedagogy at the Irish World Academy. 

Selamawit Aragaw ErkihunThe Drawback of Edifying Traditional Music Cognizance in Higher Education Institution: The Case of Yared School of Music. 

9.10 – 10.40am Theatre Two

Francis Afenyo Dzakey Design and Development of a Syllabus: Exploring the African Traditional Drum

Avril McLoughlin – Developing an Integrative, Practice-Informed Music Theory Curriculum

Jiries BoulataOriental music performed on a Western instrument: a study case of “Rhapsody in Time of War

11-1pm Theatre Two

Dominic DB Makwa Harnessing Living Archives for Sustainable Teaching/Learning of Ugandan Musics at University 

John Kwesi Nunoo Engaging Mbombaa Rhythmic Resources In Tertiary Music Classrooms: A Post-Colonial Perspective 

Albert Essuman Arthur Music Technology As A Tool For Promoting The Study Of Vernacular And Ethnic Music In Ghanaian Institutions Of Higher Education 

Margaret Delali Numekevor Using Indigenous Terminologies In Teaching selected Ghanaian Indigenous dances 

11-1pm Theatre One

Adrian Scahill Writing about Traditional Music and the Work Concept 

Colm Kelly Harmonising Identities: Exploring Music and Social Identity in Diverse Musics 

Jessie Rubin Local Songs, Global Solidarity: Irish Vernacular Music in Northern Ireland and the Question of Palestine

Eyuel MengistuMusical Culture Of The Gamo People, Bonke Commune In Southwest Ethiopia 

1-2pm – Lunch – Pavilion
2pm – Performance / Presentation

David Shugliashvili, Natalia Zumbadze, Otar KapanadzeSoviet Era and Georgian Traditional Music 

3.20 – 4.20pm, Theatre One

Gwen Moore What Counts as Music in Higher Education? A Critical Discourse Analysis of Post-Colonial Ideologies and Musical Value in Ireland  

Senyo AdzeiIn Contrast to Decolonizing African Music and African Music Studies 


3.20 – 4.20pm, Theatre Two

Ezra Abate Yimam Teaching Music in a Multicultural Society: Safeguarding Indigenous Music Knowledge in Ethiopia 

John-Doe Yao DordzroAdaption Of Indigenous Approaches To Teaching And Learning Of Music: Perspectives From Local Brass Bands In Ghana 

4.30pm – Closing remarks – Dr. Conor Caldwell and Dr. Sandra Joyce