International Council for Traditional Music

A Non-Governmental Organization in Formal Consultative Relations with UNESCO

Winners of the 2022 ICTM Prizes

The International Council for Traditional Music is pleased to announce the 2022 prizes for Best Article, Best Book, and Best Documentary Film or Video. Details on each of the winning submissions are followed by comments from the members of the three subcommittees.

Prize Committee: Brian Diettrich (Chair), Lee Tong Soon (ex-officio), Marcia Ostashewski, Razia Sultanova, Sean Williams, J. Lawrence Witzleben, Louise Wrazen

Student Paper Prize Subcommittee: Brian Diettrich (Chair), Marcia Ostashewski, Lónan Ó Briain

Article Prize Subcommittee: Marcia Ostashewski (Chair), J. Lawrence Witzleben, Zhang Boyu

Book Prize Subcommittee: Sean Williams (Chair), Clare Chan, Kirsty Gillespie, Lonán Ó Briain, Terada Yoshitaka

Documentary Film or Video Prize Subcommittee: Razia Sultanova (Chair), QiaoQiao Cheng, Sylvie Le Bomin, Nicola Scaldaferri, Zoe Sherinian

Best Student Paper

Winner

TBA

Best Article

Winner

Öğüt, Evrim Hikmet. 2021. “The Short History of Syrian Street Music in Istanbul: Challenges and Potentials.” Music and Minorities 1:1–28.

  • The article shows how music can cross national boundaries to connect people, and to offer opportunities for immigrants to live in and unite with a guest community. Music is not only a way to make a living, but also a way to create understanding.
  • The author has deep and rich field experiences, and the writing is clear and engaging. The themes of diaspora, migration, and minorities are some of the most important in our field today.
  • The voices of the street musicians are featured prominently in the article, giving it a multi-vocal flavor. The links to video interviews (with English subtitles) greatly enhance the written component of the article.

Honourable Mentions

Szego, Kati. 2021. “Kinetic Songscapes: Intersensorial Listening to Hula Ku'i Songs.” In Perspectives in Motion: Engaging the Visual in Dance and Music, edited by Kendra Stepputat and Brian Diettrich, pp. 19–40. New York: Berghahn Books.

  • The strategy of letting students respond to recordings with both words and drawings is quite innovative, and the results are fascinating. The connection between sound and movement, in the students’ responses and in the author’s analysis, is particularly compelling.
  • The author elucidates listening as a culturally specific and intersensorial practice, and shows how the listeners bring musical sound into their lived, gendered experience. 

Weintraub, Andrew N. 2021. "The Act of Singing: Women, Music, and the Politics of Truth and Reconciliation in Indonesia." Yearbook for Traditional Music 53:1–44.

  • The research that went into this article is exemplary, and the combination of ethnography, history, and aural analysis gives it exceptional breadth.
  • Although the author is neither a woman nor an Indonesian, he is a strong advocate for these singers and their families, and he takes an unequivocal stance on the side of reconciliation and recognition of the injustices they suffered. Given that the period of history when their imprisonment took place is still a sensitive topic in Indonesia, this is probably a story that could only be told by an outsider.

Best Book

Winner

Belkind, Nili. 2020. Music in Conflict: Palestine, Israel and the Politics of Aesthetic Production. London: Routledge.

  • This book uses the lens of expressive culture through which to view political and structural violence in Palestine-Israel. It focuses on borders and centers, nation-building and home-making as aspects of living in a place of everyday violence; the author hears sound as highly political. The book goes straight to the heart of what seems for most of us outsiders an intractable conflict and, in doing so, walks us right into the middle of it. It also gives us a birds-eye view of how people can wield discourses about music to try to force peace or conflict. The writing is clear, even in its complexity, and effectively complicates our understanding not just of resistance, but of genre and place.
  • This is an extremely important and well written book, absolutely vital in current times. It is a long-view and personal music ethnography which is riveting, theoretically grounded, and very well researched and delivered.
  • This work problematises borders, cultural policy, terminology, genre, music and conflict (music as coexistence, music as resistance). It reads/listens across the divide and from a thoughtful personal perspective (appropriately described at length in the Introduction and returned to in the Epilogue). It features a strong layout of chapters with case studies clearly identified in section titles for the curious reader, and a gradual, sensible progression through the book.

Honourable Mention

Bonini Baraldi, Filippo. 2021. Roma Music and Emotion. New York: Oxford University Press.

  • This book focuses on the Hungarian Roma of rural Transylvania, using extensive ethnographic data to reveal a deeper, very localized theory of music and emotion.
  • Bonini Baraldi explores a wide range of disciplines including psychology, philosophy, and science. He ventures beyond ethnographic methodology, utilizing technological tools including digital analysis of sound waves and motion capture technology to capture gestures. These methods address a gap in the study of ethnomusicology—the relationship between music and emotions.
  • This is an impressive work in the anthropology of music and sound; it is a great ethnography with an excellent focus (empathy/emotion), with relevance across the discipline of ethnomusicology and beyond.
  • It includes original interview data and musical analysis, contextualised with comparisons across other Roma ethnographies and with historical examples situated alongside contemporary. These practices also inform our understanding of theories of music and emotion beyond the local.

Best Documentary Film or Video

Winner 

Baldassarre, Antonio. 2021. Mussem, 1 hour 28 min

“Mussem”, a 1 hour 28 minute long film by Antonio Baldassarre (Italy), documents Moroccan popular Sufism and its ritual communities’ activities during 'Aïd al Mawlìd Nabawi-the birthday  celebrations of the Prophet Mohammed.  Geographical context shots, market scenes, animal sacrificing rituals and the video recordings of a circumcision are absolutely superb and rich in detail. The immersive camera technique perfectly builds the intimacy between the researcher and investigated subjects. One can clearly see the rhythmical relationship between gimbri (plucked lute)  and the man in trance. The end of the film is brilliant in execution and leaves a lasting impression; it also explains the concepts of Jinn and the philosophy behind trance states. It showcases excellent material on instruments and a variety of genres. All these features make it a fantastic teaching tool on contemporary Sufism.

Honourable Mentions

Rappoport, Dana. 2020. Death of the One who Knows. 1 hour 24 min

“Death of the One who Knows”, a 1 hour 22 minute long film directed by Dana Rappoport (France), is a good ethnographic film which vividly illustrates the situation of local tradition on Sulawesi island through the life and death of “the one who knows”. Its biographical focus on one individual,  who witnessed the crucial change brought about by the impact of religious transformation, was covered in-depth. The film director’s twenty year-long research preserved precious cultural heritage of the region, presenting it as feedback to the local society. The camera and sound recordings are highly professional, offering a nice sense of a narrative. The sobbing and singing scene in the beginning and at the end frame a wonderfully complete story of the to minna master’s life.

Wolf, Richard Kent. 2022. Two Poets and a River. 2 hours 4 min

“Two Poets and a River” is a 2 hour 4 mins long film directed by Richard Wolf  (USA). It is the first documentary account of a region of Central Asia, which was historically divided by two different political systems. The narrative, using the theme of the river as a border, is about love and loss through music, poetry and the lives of two Wakhi musicians: Qurbonsho in Tajikistan and Daulatsho in Afghanistan. These two poet-singers share a common language and culture and yet remain separated by the political boundaries of their countries.  The depth of the approach is shown through the love songs, which use nature metaphors and through the rich detailed descriptions of musical instruments. Aesthetically, it is beautiful and filmed in difficult research conditions, giving the viewer access to extremely interesting ethnomusicological heritage.