SOAS University of London

Department of Music, School of Arts

Angela Impey

B.Mus (Cape Town) BA Hons (KwaZulu Natal) PhD (Indiana)
  • Overview
  • Teaching
  • Research
  • Expertise
  • Publications



Programmes Convened
Courses Taught
PhD Students supervised
  • Clara Wenz, Arab-Jewish Musical Memories of Aleppo, Syria
  • Gavin Walker, Music, meaning and persuasion in South African public health compaigns.
  • Joe Browning, Cosmopolitan natures: an ethnography of the global shakuhachi scene.
  • Loreley Hahn-Herrera,
  • Maya Youssef, A Musical Intervention with Syrian Refugee Children at the Camps
  • Rasika Ajotikar, Feminisms in Performance: protest music and caste in Maharashtra, India


I am involved in three areas of research. The first examines the ways in which mobilities and gender intersect in the borderlands of South Africa, Mozambique and Swaziland, where the landscape that has been dramatically reconfigured by transboundary conservation development The research builds on narratives inspired by the revival of the jews harp – instruments once performed by young Nguni women to accompany walking, but remembered now by elderly women only – and explores how meanings given to gendered mobilities through sound, song and performance inflect local experiences of land, spatiality and belonging.  

A second project, entitled ‘Metre and Melody in Dinka Speech and Song’ was funded by the AHRC under the ‘Beyond Text’ programme: [Nilotic Prosody]. The project, which was conducted in collaboration with the Department of Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh, focused on supra-segmental features in four Dinka dialect clusters in South Sudan, and examined how song systems interact with the unique combinations of tone, length and voice quality specifications of the language. The research also sought to better understand Dinka song-making as a historically, socially and politically embedded system both within South Sudan and the Dinka diaspora. Although the project was recently completed, I continue to work on the materials and plan ongoing research in the region.

I am co-investigator on a recently funded AHRC research project in west Namibia entitled ‘Future Pasts in an Apocalyptic Moment: A Hybrid Analysis of 'Green' Performativities and Eco-cultural Ethics in a Globalised African Landscape’ (2013-2018). The project will explore tensions between local and indigenous conceptions of human/nature relationships (as encoded in songs, oral narratives and healing rituals), and crisis-driven narratives on environmental change that are being used to justify new market-based methods for creating 'green' futures. Led by Sian Sullivan, (Environment and Development at Birkbeck), the team also includes Rick Rohde (Honorary Fellow at University of Edinburgh), Chris Low (Birkbeck), and environmental philosopher, Mike Hannis (Keele University). The project is affiliated locally with the National Museum of Namibia and the Namibian film company, Mamokobo Productions. [The research is a response to the AHRC's 2012 highlight notice on 'Environmental Change and Sustainability' under the Council's ‘Care for the Future’ bid.]


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Available for
  • Radio
  • Special Study Programmes
  • Short Term Consultancy
Regional Expertise
  • Africa
Country Expertise
  • Botswana
  • Ethiopia
  • Mozambique
  • South Africa
  • Sudan
  • Swaziland
  • Zimbabwe


Authored Books

Impey, Angela (2018) In the Time of the Aloe: Remembering an African Borderland in Time and Motion. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press. (Forthcoming)

Book Chapters

Impey, Angela (2017) 'The Arts of Transitional Justice: Truth-telling and Memory in South Sudan.' In: Castelo-Branco, Salwa and Diamond, Beverley, (eds.), Transforming Ethnomusicology. New York: Routledge. (Forthcoming)

Impey, Angela (2011) 'Songs of the In-Between: Remembering in the Land that Memory Forgot.' In: Peddie, Ian, (ed.), Popular Music and Human Rights, Volume II: World Music. Ashgate Press. (Ashgate popular and folk music series.)

Impey, Angela (2005) 'Culture, Conservation and Community Reconstruction: Explorations in Advocacy Ethnomusicology in the Dukuduku Forests, Northern KwaZulu Natal.' In: Post, Jennifer, (ed.), Ethnomusicology: A Contemporary Reader. New York: Routledge, pp. 401-411.


Impey, Angela (2013) 'The Poetics of Transitional Justice in Dinka Songs in South Sudan.' UNISCI Discussion Papers (33). pp. 57-78.

Impey, Angela (2013) 'Songs of Mobility and Belonging: Gender, Spatiality and the Local in Southern Africa’s Transfrontier Conservation Development.' Interventions. International Journal of Postcolonial Studies, 15 (2). pp. 255-271.

Impey, Angela (2013) 'Keeping in Touch via Cassette: Tracing Dinka Songs from Cattle Camp to Transnational Audio-Letter.' Journal of African Cultural Studies, 25 (2). pp. 197-210.

Pavlicevic, Mercédès and Impey, Angela (2013) 'Deep listening: towards an imaginative reframing of health and well-being practices in international development.' Arts and Health: An International Journal for Research, Policy and Practice, 5 (3). pp. 238-252.

Impey, Angela and Dovey, Lindiwe (2010) 'African Jim: Sound, Politics, and Pleasure in Early ‘Black’ South African Cinema.' Journal of African Cultural Studies.

Impey, Angela (2007) 'Pathways of Song: Re-voicing Women's Landscapes in the Maputaland Borderlands.' Agenda. Feminist Media, 73. pp. 102-16.

Impey, Angela (2007) 'Sound, memory and dis/placement: Exploring sound, song and performance as oral history in the southern African borderlands.' Oral History Journal, 36 (1). pp. 33-44.

Impey, Angela (2006) 'Musical Constructions of Place: Linking Music to Environmental Action in the St Lucia Wetlands.' Southern African Journal of Environmental Education, 23. pp. 92-106.

Impey, Angela (2006) 'Sounding Place in the Western Maputaland Borderlands.' Journal of the Musical Arts in Africa, 3. pp. 55-79.

Impey, Angela (2002) 'Culture, Conservation and Community Reconstruction: Explorations in Participatory Action Research and Advocacy Ethnomusicology in the Dukuduku Forests, Northern KwaZulu Natal (South Africa).' Yearbook for Traditional Music, 34. pp. 9-24.

Book Reviews

Impey, Angela (2010) 'Review of Jürgen Schöpf, 'The Serankure and Music in Tlôkweng, Botswana'. Berlin: Verlag für Wissenschaft und Bildung, 2008.' The World of Music . (Forthcoming)

Impey, Angela (2009) 'Review of Mark Slobin (ed.), 'Global Soundtracks: Worlds of Film Music'. Middletown CT, Wesleyan University Press, 2008.' Ethnomusicology Forum, 18 (1). pp. 170-172.

Impey, Angela (2005) 'Review of Christine Lucia (ed.), 'The World of South African Music. A Reader'. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2005.' Ethnomusicology Forum, 16 (2). pp. 343-345.

This list was generated on Sun Apr 30 03:23:54 2017 BST.