Foyle Arts Building, University of Ulster, Derry/Londonderry BT48 7JL

June 27th-July 1st, 9am-1pm daily


Eventbrite - NAFCo 2012 Conference: Ón gCos go Cluas/From Dancing to Listening


(NAFCo conference registration covers attendance at 5 mornings of papers at NAFCo; delegates may also choose to attend DRFI conference sessions on Saturday/Sunday June 30th/July 1st also taking place in the Foyle Arts Building, University of Ulster )

A unique conference set in a week of exceptional music performances in Derry city and Co. Donegal which addresses a challenging issue for Traditional musics in the 21st century – the shift of emphasis from music for dancing to music for listening

Guest speaker: Neil Rosenberg, Professor Emeritus, Department of Folklore, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Editor of Transforming Tradition and of key works on Bluegrass music

Rapporteur for the conference is Dr. Alan Jabbour, oldtime fiddler and leading figure in US folklore who for a quarter century was director of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, Washington DC.

Traditional music has moved from a primary purpose of servicing dance, to expressing artistic preference. This is particularly so for the fiddle, one of the most versatile, accessible and universal of acoustic instruments. The conference will explore its current popularity in North Atlantic musics in terms of the shift of folk cultures’ interest from social process to aesthetic product. Now predominantly a free-standing performance genre, at its outer fringes traditional melody-making now shades into other forms – jazz, contemporary classical, rock and pop – and indeed the antithesis of genre, so-called ‘world’ music. Does this bring Alan Lomax’s ‘cultural grey-out’ closer to reality? Might traditional fiddling disappear in a cloud of intermeshed idioms and clichés expounded with fabulous virtuosity? Could Traditional musics lose their sense of aesthetic just as easily as their once-local meaning in relation to dance? Ó Cos go Cluas broadly addresses the process, product and the potential of this progression in 20 sessions which have 80 papers from all regions of the North Atlantic.

Full interactive Conference Schedule

NAFCo 2012 Summary of papers