Brown Arts

Black Music Lab

An in-development hub at Brown Arts Institute for the practice and study of African and African Diasporic musics.

The Black Music Lab is an in-development hub at Brown Arts Institute for artists and scholars on campus and in the greater Providence area who are interested in the practice and study of African and African Diasporic musics. Launched in Fall 2022, the Black Music Lab was conceived by Dr. Charisse Barron and Dr. Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo to serve as a space at Brown that centers the intellectual and creative exploration of musical forms such as hip-hop, black sacred musics, R&B, and house among other black musico-cultural traditions that remain underrepresented within academic musical spaces despite their overwhelming sonic influence and popularity across the broader global soundscape. The Black Music Lab is also invested in highlighting the works of artists and scholars who explore black expressive modes within country music, punk, noise, metal, folk, western classical, and other musical traditions that are often disconnected from popular and scholarly accounts of black musicking.

As an extension of BAI’s demonstrated commitment to interdisciplinary study and rhizomatic collaboration, the primary goals of the Black Music Lab include:

  • Amplifying the creative and scholarly projects already being undertaken by members of the Brown community as well as artists and scholars in the extended Providence communities;
  • Hosting and co-sponsoring relevant artist talks, performances, informal gatherings, symposia, film series, conferences, and other events;
  • Building new channels for crosstalk between faculty, staff, and students working in/across departments and programs such as Music, Africana Studies, Modern Culture & Media (MCM), Theatre Arts & Performance Studies (TAPS), the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America (CSREA), and the Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS), among others;
  • Creating opportunities for meaningful dialogue and collaborations with local artists, historians, and community groups as well as partners at other academic institutions who work within different black musical traditions.

Faculty Director:
Dr. Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo

  • Contemporary Black Popular Music (MCM 1250G)—Alexander Weheliye
  • Intro to Rap Songwriting (MUSC 1240R) —Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo 
  • Ghanaian Drumming and Dance (MUSC 0640)—Martin Obeng
  • Advanced Ghanaian Drumming and Dancing Ensemble (MUSC 1960)—Martin Obeng
  • Blues People:Topics in African American Religion and Culture (RELS 0085B)—Tricia Rose & Andre Willis
  • Hip Hop Music and Cultures (AFRI 0880)—Tricia Rose
  • Jazz & The Explosion Of Genre: Music, Culture, and History Between 1970 and Today (MUSC 1975)—Timo Volbrecht
  • From the Blues to Beyoncé (MUSC 0033)—Eric Nathan
  • Jazz: Race, Power, and History (MUSC 0075)—Dana Gooley
  • Miles Davis: An Evolution in Jazz (MUSC 1690A)—Dana Gooley
  • Gospel Titans, Divas, and Dynasties—AFRI 0690 (Charrise Barron)
  • Black Protest Music—AFRI 1230 (Charrise Barron)
  • Social Justice and the Musical Afrofuture—MUSC 1939 (Charrise Barron)
  • Fela Kuti: African Freedom from Afrobeat to Afrobeats—AFRI 0980 (Dotun Ayobade)
  • Caribbean Popular Culture: Reggae, Dancehall, and Calypso—AFRI 1600 (Dadland Maye)
  • Black Feminist Sonic Practices (MUSC 2090E)—Enongo Lumumba-Kasongo
  • Race, Desire, and Self-Making (TAPS 2200W)—Jayna Brown
  • Theories of Africana Thought: Literary and Expressive Cultures (AFRI 2002)—Lisa Biggs
  • Jazz and Race (MUSC 2025)—Dana Gooley
  • Black Movement Music—MUSC 2075 (Charrise Barron)

Recent Projects and Events

Lynnée Denise demonstrates how knowledge is gathered, interpreted, and produced through a DJ-oriented theoretical lens. Using the four cultural practices of what she calls “DJ Scholarship,” Denise will create a sonic map for her research and encourage witnesses to listen to a music-based critique of Black Dance Music in the 1980s.
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