Oct. 30, 2003 — Dr. Dominique Cyrille, the first Rockefeller Resident Fellow in residence at the newly opened Alton Augustus Adams Music Research Institute (AMRI) on St. Thomas, will give a public lecture Saturday, Nov. 8, titled "The Politics of Quadrille Performance in the French-Caribbean Colonies."
AMRI is sponsored by the Center for Black Music Research (CBMR) of Columbia College Chicago, which has won a three-year grant to support two scholars each year for the purpose of exploring diasporal unities in the musics and cultures throughout the Caribbean. The lecture, cosponsored by the Music Department of the University of the Virgin Islands, is free and open to the public and will be held at 2 p.m. in Chase Auditorium in the lower level of the UVI Business Building.
Cyrille, in residence since September, will be at the AMRI through January 2004. (For a profile, see Cyrille: the dance, the Caribbean, the world in the St. Thomas Source People section.) She holds a doctorate in Musicology from the Sorbonne in Paris and is an adjunct assistant professor in ethnomusicology in the Black Studies Center of Lehman College, City University of New York. She has written articles, monographs, and encyclopedia entries on French Caribbean music and musicians, and has presented papers at conferences throughout the French Caribbean and in the United States. A native of Martinique, she has taught in Martinique at the Université Populaire of Sainte-Marie and Sim Ekol, School of Music, Fort de France.
Her project while a Rockefeller Fellow focuses on the history and political significance of contredanse and quadrille, two prevalent dance forms introduced by European colonizers to black communities in several areas of the Caribbean.
In January, Cyrille will move to the CBMR in Chicago, where she will complete the second half of her fellowship. At that time, Dr. Kenneth Bilby, who is spending the first half of his fellowship in Chicago, will move to the AMRI in St. Thomas. Bilby will give a public lecture next spring on his research project, "Sounding Out Jonkonnu (Junkanoo) in the Circum-Caribbean: Explorations in Depth and Breadth," which traces the history and cultural remnants of the Jonkonnu celebration found in Jamaica, the Bahamas, and Belize.
The Virgin Islands: a musico-cultural opportunity
"The Rockefeller Fellowships facilitate international scholarship in black musics and enhance understanding of musico-cultural relationships throughout the African Diaspora," said Dr. Rosita Sands, director of the CBMR. "For scholars undertaking research in Caribbean musical styles and genres, the Virgin Islands is rife with opportunities," says Sands. "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."
Cyrille and Bilby were chosen from among a field of 23 applicants with expertise in areas such as musicology, ethnomusicology, international affairs, linguistics, folklore, medical anthropology and sociology.
The Adams Institute and its parent Center for Black Music Research
The Alton Augustus Adams Music Research Institute was established in 2001 as a branch of the CBMR that focuses on music of the Caribbean in general and the Virgin Islands in particular. Its principal charge is to facilitate the discovery, study and documentation of diasporal unities in the musical and extramusical performance elements that unify the array of styles and genres dotting the musical landscape of the Circum-Caribbean. The Institute is named for Alton Augustus Adams Sr., the first black bandmaster in the U.S. Navy, and is located on the first floor of his ancestral home in St. Thomas.
AMRI's facilities will consist of a non-circulating resource center of black music reference works with a particular focus on materials relevant to music of the Circum-Caribbean, archives of primary and secondary materials and a reading room with computer terminals providing online access to Internet research sites and the online catalog of the CBMR Library and Archives. For further information about lecture or the Institute, call 715-5680.
The Center for Black Music Research, a department of Columbia College Chicago, is the only organization of its kind. Founded in 1983, CBMR documents and preserves information and materials related to the black music experience throughout the world. It promotes and advances scholarly knowledge and thought about black music, the black musical experience and their relationship to education and to society at large. The CBMR Library and Archives is one of the most comprehensive collections dealing with black music of all genres and periods and is available for on-site study and for remote reference assistance.
The products of the Center are disseminated through its national and international conferences, publications, performances, special research initiatives, and via the CBMR Web site. The CBMR publishes a scholarly journal, two newsletters and co-publishes a book series with the University of California Press. The musical results of the CBMR's research are brought to the public through performances of the New Black Music Repertory Ensemble. For more information visit or call (312) 344-7559.
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