Since late last century, choral musicians and music educators have been deeply invested in multiculturalism as a pedagogical tool for bridging cultural divides and building empathy. Multiculturalism’s great potential has been accompanied by a host of related problems, from cultural sensitivity and questions of authenticity, to the ethical transmission of cultural practices. More recently, the discourse has centered around cultural appropriation, coloniality, and fairness. In the center of this tangled and slippery conversation, choral musicians are struggling to find an equity-centered way of global and non-Eurocentric music-making.
Patty Cuyler is workshop leader and choral director known for her expertise in teaching Corsican, Georgian and South African music. Since 1995, she has been co-director of Village Harmony, a Vermont-based community music organization with educational and travel programs centered around communal song traditions around the world.
Mollie Stone serves as Choral Conductor and Lecturer at the University of Chicago, Director of World Music and Conductor at Chicago Children's Choir, Co-Director of Chicago World Music Chorus, and a teacher for Village Harmony. She lectures and gives workshops on Black South African choral music across the country, working to promote the work of Black South African composers, conductors and choirs.
The songs you heard throughout this episode featured the artistry of culture bearers who regularly collaborate with Village Harmony. We are particularly grateful for recordings from the Zedashe Ensemble, Bongani Magatyana and the Bongweni Old Apostolic Church Choirs, the University of Capetown Choir for Africa, Marie-Ange Geronimi, Jean-Etienne Langianni and the late Jacky Micaelli.