Senior Lecturer in African Music
Senior Lecturer in African Music
- Dr Lucy Durán
- Email address:
- 020 7898 4374
- 020 7898 4699
- SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square, London WC1H 0XG
- Russell Square: College Buildings
- Office No:
- Office Hours:
- Tuesdays, 3-5pm
Lucy Durán (PhD SOAS, BMus MMus King’s College, London) is Senior Lecturer in African music and UG Music Admissions Tutor. Her main regional interests are in West Africa and Cuba. She has been researching music in Gambia, Senegal, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, Mali and Cuba for nearly forty years, and is widely published on Mande traditional and popular music, women singers of Mali, the kora, oral transmission of musical knowledge in Mande jeli (griot) families, and Cuban son and rumba. All these are topics she teaches at SOAS, also drawing on her media experience in film, radio and music production.
Apart from her academic research and teaching, Lucy has a long career as a radio broadcaster. She was a regular presenter on the BBC from 1987-2013, winning a Sony Award for her World Service programmes ‘Latins in the USA’. She presented BBC Radio 3’s World Routes, their flagship world music programme, for the duration of its life on air (2000-2013). This involved researching and recording music on location in over forty countries including Cuba, Bolivia, Madagascar, Mali, Equatorial Guinea and Cape Verde which gave her first-hand insight into the changing contexts of music of oral transmission. Her course ‘Presenting World Music on Radio’, which teaches script-writing and presentation skills with a focus on world music, is unique in this country and was awarded the SOAS Director’s Teaching Prize in 2009.
Lucy is an acclaimed music producer, with more than twenty albums to her name, featuring leading musicians from West Africa including Bassekou Kouyaté, Kassé Mady Diabaté and Toumani Diabaté, for whose albums she has received three Grammy nominations. Her latest album productions are Ladilikan, a new collaboration between the renowned Kronos Quartet and the Malian Trio Da Kali, to be released on the World Circuit label in September 2017; as well as the forthcoming Oaxaca'O, an album featuring a little known Afromexican musical tradition recorded on location in Oaxaca, Mexico, to be released on the Mexican label Xquenda.
In 2015 she was hired by the production team of ROOTS – the remake of the famous TV series based on Alex Haley’s best-selling book – to advise on Mandinka music and culture along the Gambia river in the 18th century. The series was broadcast in the UK in 2016. In recognition of her important contribution, the ROOTS production team donated several scholarships to SOAS’s Music Department to enable music students to conduct research on Mande music. To date, two scholarships have been awarded.
Lucy was Principal Investigator of the film-based research project, ‘Growing into Music’, funded by Beyond Text (Arts & Humanities’ Research Council) and conducted in Cuba, Venezuela, Mali, Azerbaijan and north India between 2009-12 by a team of four ethnomusicologists. This resulted in unique in-depth documentaries that document the musical progress of children in specialist musical families. Her own films follow children in leading Mande jeli (griot) families in Mali and Guinea; of which ‘The Voice of Tradition: Bako Dagnon and Family’ won the prize for Best AHRC/AHRB- funded film since 1998 in the AHRC’s Research In Film awards, 2015. They are available for viewing online.