Ubuntu – Abstracts


The conference aims to answer the questions as to whether fusion music is still relevant today in Europe and in the world, in which genres and styles, and whether the current situation is similar to or reminiscent of the early history melting pot of jazz in the USA. Some papers will be based on their authors´ musical and creative practices and will point out the artistic processes and the significance of improvisation in the genesis of a new composition. Another group of contributors will bring theoretical knowledge and new information about fusion trends in the world of contemporary music.

Ethnic music and jazz, past and present. A general theoretical approach and a focus on multi-instrumentalist Yusef Lateef

Prof. Luca Cerchiari (IULM University, Milan, Italy), E-mail


Since, according to American philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce’s theory, “an infinity of further signs both proceed and precede from any given sign”, the relation between ethnic musics and jazz is a potentially endless chapter of contemporary music history. Ethnic music is mainly associated with oral transmission, while jazz, as a genre, is a fusion of oral and written sources. European, African, and American ethnic musics, from melodies to dances, from worksongs to blues and gospel songs, were a relevant part of early jazz. Jazz became then a mostly urban and metropolitan music and, through the media system, influenced the whole spectrum of world music, leading to further syntheses in Europe (for example, with Django Reinhardt) and elsewhere.

While American jazz incorporated, for decades, several examples of international songs and dances (from Irish or Russian melodies to French and Italian songs, from Cuban to Brazilian rhythms), a precise consciousness of the potentially endless creative and theoretical relations between jazz and ethnic musics only arose after 1960. German jazz critic Joachim Berendt started to produce in 1964, for the MPS record label, the successful Jazz Meets the World record series, which included Tony Scott’s LP Music for Zen Meditation. Afro-American multi-instrumentalist and composer Yuseef Lateef, after his conversion to the islamic Afro-Asian movement called Ahmadyya, made different trips to Africa in order to study some of its traditional musics and to incorporate them in his brilliant and soulful instrumental style, both on the saxophone and ethnic instruments. Lateef’s original research fully embodies the Ubuntu spirit and is documented on LPs for Savoy, Verve, Moodsville and Impulse Records.  His lifetime commitment led to his academic tenure at Ahmerst University, Massachusetts, and to his recognition as a respected “prophet” of world music.

Keywords: jazz, islam, saxophone, rebab, world music 

Luca Cerchiari (b. 1957) teaches the history of pop and jazz and also directs the post-graduate Master of Music publishing and production programme at Milan IULM University. He is an editor-in-chief of the Contemporary Musicbook series of Mimesis Publishing Company, Milan. His numerous essays and books include Greensleeves (Stampatori, Turin 1999), Eurojazzland. Jazz and Its European Sources, Dynamics and Contexts (UPNE, Boston and London 2012), Miles Davis (Feltrinelli, Milan 2013), On Record (Odoya, Bologna 2014), Around Jazz (Bompiani, Milan 2016/2017), Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha (Mimesis, Milan 2020), Mina (Mondadori, Milan 2020), and Arrigo Polillo (Mimesis, Milan 2021). Cerchiari is currently writing a musical biography of Frank Sinatra. For his complete CV go to: www.lucacerchiari.it.

Musical fusion throughout the history, from qawwali via gospel to Bolivian Baroque

Petr Dorůžka, E-mail, E-mail, www.doruzka.com/  



In past decades, fusion was understood as something produced in a recording studio. Many purists saw fusion as a short-lived trend creating more publicity than it deserved. Blues, rock, reggae, and tango behaved like illegitimate children: it took years before they were taken seriously. On the other side, history shows dozens of examples that are now regarded as something completely natural and valid. Also, a blend of traditions is the secret behind many genres of the 20th century. Probably the oldest documented case of fusion is qawwali, initiated by Amir Khusrau (1253–1325) in India. Four centuries later, in South America,  Jesuit missionaries taught local Indians the Baroque music written by Bach and Vivaldi. The results, known as Bolivian Baroque, for decades believed to be lost forever, were rediscovered in the recent decades.

Another topic in this contribution is improvisation, a highly efficient tool used not only by Western jazz musicians but also by classical modal tradition players in India, Iran, and some Mediterranean cultures. What do modal and jazz performers share, and what are the differences in their approaches and priorities?


Key words: qawwali, Bolivian Baroque, Baroque music of American Indians, modal tradition, improvisation Petr Dorůžka  (b. 1949) is a music journalist, World Music Charts Europe panellist,  presenter for the Czech National Radio in Prague, a founding team member of the Czech Music Crossroads conference/showcase festival, consultant for world music festivals, board member of the Czech Music Office, recipient of the 2017 WOMEX Professional Excellence Award, occasional adjuticator (Sayan Ring festival, Austrian World Music Awards) and, since 2002, a lecturer in world music for non-musicians at the Department of Cultural Ecology of the Faculty of Humanities at Charles University in Prague. Dorůžka has written for Pop Music Express, Melodie, Mladý svět, Populár, and Gramorevue and published the monograph Šuplík plný Zappy [A drawer of full of Zappy; Prague 1984, 1993]. He was also a co-authored and an editor of Hudba na pomezí [Music on the crossrod; Prague 1991]. In collaboration with A. Matzner, I. Poledňák, and I.Wasserberger, Dorůžka produced the 3-volume Encyclopaedia of Jazz and Modern Popular Music (Pragua, 1980, 1986/1987, 1990).  


Preparing an indigestible dish: Macchina Maccheronica and Rock In Opposition as a genre

Prof. Franco Fabbri (IULM University, Milan, Italy; University of Huddersfield, UK),
E-mail, https://www.francofabbri.net/, https://hud.academia.edu/FrancoFabbri


Macchina Maccheronica is the seventh studio album by the Italian group Stormy Six, recorded in 1979 and released in 1980; Macchina Maccheronica was also an alternative name for the band: an effort to switch to Italian from the rather obsolete name created when the band was formed in 1965. ‘Latino maccheronico’ (macaronic Latin) was a way, in the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance, to mix Latin and vernacular Italian, and it became a literary genre. ‘High’ and ‘low’ were also the basic ingredients of Stormy Six’ music and lyrics at the end of the 1970s. As a matter of fact, Stormy Six travelled across genres along their whole career: from r&b to psychedelic pop, to country rock, to folk and protest songs, to progressive folk and progressive rock, and to alternative rock. When the material for Macchina Maccheronica was composed, Stormy Six were one of “the five rock groups the record companies don’t want you to hear”, as a poster went in 1978, announcing the first Rock in Opposition Festival in London. Ironically, Macchina Maccheronica has become one of the canonic examples of RIO, a sub-genre of progressive rock that emerged after the demise of the league of independent bands (Henry Cow/Art Bears, Univers Zero, Samla Mammas Manna, Etron Fou Leloublan, Art Zoyd, and Stormy Six) and gave birth to that acronym.

Both the album and the genre are a good field to investigate musical and lyrical creative processes based on the interaction of different materials and models: folk and vernacular, structured (written) composition, improvisation, rock, jazz, and cabaret. In 1980 Macchina Maccheronica was awarded the Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik for the best rock record of the year. The Police scored second.


Keywords: Italian rock, Macchina Maccheronica, Stormy Six, rock in opposition, independent band

Franco Fabbri (b. 1949) teaches popular music history, analysis and economy at the IULM University and at the State University of Milan, and is Visiting Professor at the University of Huddersfield, UK. He is among the founders and has served three times as chairman of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM). Fabbri has published on the rapport between music and technology (Elettronica e musica, with an Introduction by Luigi Nono), on the confrontation of musical cultures in contemporary world (L’ascolto tabù), and on the intricate fabric of influences and coincidences in the history of popular music (Around the clock). His most read book, Il suono in cui viviamo (3 editions), contains articles on diverse subjects including genres, analysis of popular music and aesthetics of sound. His latest books are Non è musica leggera (2020) and Il tempo di una canzone (2021). He is co-founder and co-editor, with Goffredo Plastino (Newcastle University), of the Routledge Global Popular Music series. Fabbri has also worked as a musician, recording eight studio albums and two live albums with the band Stormy Six and two own albums of electronic music. In 2019 he was awarded the Tenco Prize for cultural operator. In 2021 he received IASPM’s honorary membership.


Ethnic Music and Slovak-American Jazz. Eugen Botošs Finally ensemble, Radovan Tariška’sFolklore to Jazz and Hanka G’s Universal Ancestry projects

Prof. Yvetta Kajanová (Dpt. of Musicology, Faculty of Arts, Comenius University, Bratislava, Slovakia), E-mail, E-mail, E-mail


Present-day jazz artists create one of three types of fusion: stylistic, polystylistic, and polygenre. Unlike fusion music where interpreters do not transgress the boundaries of its defined stylistic features, the possibilities in open-concept blends have not yet been exhausted. Whilst polystylistic compositions elaborate upon historical styles, polygenre projects pave the way for a merging of influences and inspirations from the wide world of diverse-provenance music and represent a new entity for the 21st century. In terms of an aesthetic, compositional, and interpretative approach, jazzmen adopt three ways of reworking diverse cultural sources: 1. transcription, adaptation, and appropriation (thus creating hybrids); 2. citations, allusions, and collages (resulting in novel hybrid forms); 3. forging innovative structures through synthesis. In search of new aesthetic values and compositional principles, a significant role is attributed to divergent musical thinking: artists, regardless of their race (whether Romani, or Afro-American, or American-European-Slovak), erudition, national identity, and gender affiliation, respect one another on the basis of humanity and mutual understanding. In this contribution, the author examines three Slovak-American projects – those that represent established and closed fusion music styles and those with open concepts for ethnic and jazz music fusions.


Keywords: polystylism, polygenre music, citation, allusion, divergent musical thinking


Yvetta Kajanová (b.1964) is a Professor of musicology at Comenius University in Bratislava-Slovakia, where she gives lectures in jazz and rock history, musical criticism, sociology and management of music. Her recent monograph, The History of Rock Music (2014), was published by Peter Lang academic publishers. Yvetta Kajanová participated in international conferences in Vienna, Prague, Regensburg, Berlin, Budapest, Warsaw, Krakow, London, Porto, Graz and Marburg. Prof. Kajanová was a member of the International Research Team, Jazz in the Eastern Block, in Freie Universität Berlin between 2008 – 2010. She is the author of nine monographs on aesthetics and sociology of music, jazz, rock, pop music and gospel music. Some of her latest monographs include Gospel Music in Slovakia (Bratislava: Coolart – Lux 2009), Postmodernism in Music, Minimal Music, Rock, Pop and Jazz (Bratislava: VUK 2010), To the History of Jazz (Bratislava: CoolArt 2010, To the History of Rock (Bratislava: CoolArt 2010), On The History of Rock Music (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang 2014), Slovak Jazz – Contexts and Relationships (Bratislava: UK, 2014), Yvetta Kajanová & Gertrud Pickhan & Rüdiger Ritter (eds.):  Jazz from Socialist Realism to Postmodernism, vol. 5, (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang 2016), Jan Blüml & Yvetta Kajanová & Rüdiger Ritter (eds.): Popular Music in Communist and Post-Communist Europe, vol. 6 (Berlin: Peter Lang 2019). She gave lectures in Prague, Olomouc, Brno, Krakow and Milan. Her newly prepared book, Musica Rock: Suono, ritmo, affetto, e l´invenzione della chitarra elettrica, will be published by Mimesis International Milano in 2022.

Sitting in a circle – the Angrusori method and hybridity in practice

Prof. Nils Henrik Asheim & Prof. Petter Frost Fadnes (University of Stavanger, Norway), E-mail,E-mail, www.nilshenrikasheim.no,




In her fieldnotes, Jana Belišová writes about a singer performing the halgato – “building a castle from the blocks of flats” – observing how “she invents things”, or rather combines, and that “[f]rom a number of fixed images, idioms, and melodious phrases every time she creates a totally different song”.

During the course of a week in September 2016, twelve performers from diverse musical and cultural backgrounds – Norwegian, Slovakian, and Czech artists representing jazz, classical, and contemporary music, and the Roma diaspora – sat down in a practice room at Tabačka Kulturfabrik in Košice. For hours and days, they listened attentively to each other, mimicked gestures and songs, and attempted to play as an ensemble. Their project, now called Angrusori, set out to fuse the performance practices of Roma music of Eastern Slovakia with contemporary experimental music, searching for a genuine and unique way to avoid otherwise established ‘world music’ idiomatic markers.

From the very beginning, challenges were complex and multiple, including language barriers, cultural differences, as well as issues surrounding work methods, aesthetic preferences, technical abilities, idiomatic understanding, and theoretical knowledge. Nevertheless, despite all the difficulties, we found crucial forms of communality hidden within the music, as well as between us as individuals, ranging from musical approaches, improvisational performativity, and listening skills to, quite simply, patience and respect. 

This paper gives a snapshot view of the Angrusori ‘method’, and how we developed our music, sitting in a circle.


Key words: Roma diaspora, improvisation, hybridity, performance practices, contemporary music.

Nils Henrik Asheim (b. 1960) is a renowned and award-winning composer and organist, active also as a pianist, curator and organizer. In addition, he is Professor of Music at the University of Stavanger. Asheim has written chamber music pieces, works for symphony orchestra, organ and choir, as well as public space projects and those involving dance, theatre and opera. He has performed in many European countries and the U.S.A., being acclaimed by critics for his improvisational style on the organ. Since 2012 he has been the resident organist of the Stavanger Concert Hall and is a cofounder and member of the Stavanger-based Kitchen Orchestra. In the Angrusori project, Asheim plays the harmonium and leads the ensemble.

Petter Frost Fadnes (b. 1974) is a Norwegian saxophone player, lecturer and researcher based at the University of Stavanger. Frost Fadnes’ interest is focused on improvisational thinking; methods and approaches related to performative processes. In parallel with varying degrees of transdisciplinary theory, his research tends to utilize ethnographic and reflective approaches, with the aim to contribute multiple perspectives of subjectivity to the improvisational discourse. He was for many years part of the highly creative Leeds music scene and now performs regularly with The Geordie Approach, Mole, and Kitchen Orchestra. He is Professor of Improvised Music at the Faculty of Performing Arts, and his book Jazz on the Line – Improvisation in Practice was published in 2020 by Routledge. He is also a cofounder and member of Stavanger-based Kitchen Orchestra. 

afterPhurikane: A multi-ethnic music project inspired by ancient Romani songs

Jana Belišová, PhD. (Comenius University, Bratislava)


The basis of the afterPhurikane music project was the 2001–2006 ethnomusicological research that mapped ancient Romani songs (Phurikane giľa) in Slovakia. During a number of improvisational workshops in 2007–2008, six untrained Romani instrumentalists and singers combined their natural talent with the professionalism and creativity of several non-Romani musicians who were inspired by the intimacy and deep emotionality of ancient Romani laments.

The key principle of this ethnically and culturally mixed ensemble’s cooperation was to provide an equal opportunity for all its members to express themselves. The Romani musicians were rather conservative and followed their traditional songs and vocal style. The professional artists initiated a shift from the Romani tradition towards a creative interpretation without, however, seeking fixed compositional arrangements. This music-making resulted in a concert rendition of the original material. The first lot of approximately twelve compositions then provided a foundation for the album afterPhurikane.

Untraditionally, the recording took place in Veľký Slavkov’s Lutheran church; it was an opportunity for musicians and people from diverse cultural and social backgrounds to not only find a common professional ground but also to get to know others more closely. This is captured in the 2010 documentary Cigarety a pesničky [Cigarettes and songs]. The ensemble’s activities in the following years led to many concerts both nationally and abroad, as well as to collaborations with foreign musicians, such as Eddie Stevens and the singer Jana Kirschner. Nevertheless, following the 2012 death of its popular singer Béla Pokuta, afterPhurikane’s initiatives drew to a close. Hence, the planned second album, which was largely based on Béla’s singing, could no longer be produced.


Keywords: Romani music, untrained and professional musicians, improvisation, multiethnicism, ancient Romani songs


Jana Belišová, PhD. (b. 1965) graduated in 1990 in ethnology and musicology at the Faculty of Arts of Comenius University in Bratislava and, in 2010, earned a PhD degree for her dissertation “The Romani Vocal Culture in Slovakia”. From 2010 to 2019 she worked at the Institute of Musicology of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Bratislava, and, since 2019, she has been employed at her alma mater. Specializing in Romani music, Belišová has initiated and accomplished many research projects, which include Phurikane giľa (ancient Romani songs), Hojna nejna (Romani dance songs), Karačoňa (Romani Christmas songs), Odi kaľi mačkica (Romani children songs), Neve giľa (new songs), Šun, Devla, šun tu man (2015), afterPhurikane (creative dialogue between Romani and non-Romani instrumentalists and singers), and Phuterdo Ore (joint project of the Norwegian Kitchen Orchestra’s members, Romani musicians from Slovakia, and the singer Iva Bittová). Her field research has resulted in the publication of song anthologies, CDs and DVDs, academic studies, concerts, exhibitions, articles, lectures, as well as in the production of the documentary films Cigarety a pesničky [Cigarettes and songs, 2010], Zvonky šťastia [The bells of happiness, 2012], and Ťažká duša [Heavy heart, 2017], and of a series of 25 documentary videos Šilalo Paňori [Cold water, 2017]. She was also a professional advisor to the movies Cigáň [Gypsy, directed by M. Šulík], Sherlock Holmes (directed by G. Ritchie), Černá srdce (…zem není gulatá) [Black hearts (… earth is not a sphere), directed by B. Rychlík], and Návrat bocianov[The return of storks, directed by M. Repka]. Along with her membership in the Music and Minorities, and the Audiovisual Ethnomusicology study groups, Belišová is a member of the International Council for Traditional Music (ICTM).


Hybridity, Fusion, Tradition: contemporary Romani musical landscapes in Slovakia

Ass. Prof. Jana Ambrózová, PhD. (Constantine the Philosopher University, Nitra)


The Roma, especially the ethnic sub-groups of Slovak Roma (slovačike/service Roma) and Hungarian Roma (ungrike Roma), owing to one of their professional characteristics, i.e., the production of instrumental music in the service of non-Roma communities, have significantly contributed to the development of musical culture in both rural and urban environments. Because of their historically important role in establishing and developing string and cimbal bands in our territory (more pronounced from the 18th century), traditional Romani instrumental ensembles, particularly in rural environments, have been the focus of systematic ethnomusicological research and documentation since the 1950s.Ethnomusicologists now have access to audio recordings of one or, sometimes, two generations of players within individual municipalities on which they can conduct further analyses.

During the second half of the 20th century, many spheres of social life and culture in the village environment underwent major changes under the influence of various internal and external factors. Hence, the life and functioning of traditional bands, which were an integral part of local rural communities, also changed. Romani musicians, in particular, have always responded vivaciously and flexibly to both the demands and aesthetic preferences of their audiences and contemporary popular music trends. Since the 1960s, and to a much greater extent since the 1990s, we have seen several significant changes in the Romani performers’ repertoire and its interpretation, the instrumental cast, and in their social functions and ways of involvement in the daily life of local communities.

In this contribution, the author, using music examples and data collected through ethnographic interviews with Romani musicians and participant observations in different Central and Eastern Slovakian localities, presents selected developmental aspects of the Romani music scene in Slovakia with an emphasis on instrumental casts and repertoire. Ambrózová places the principal evolutionary trajectory of the stylistically diverse and distinctive forms of Romani instrumental music from the second half of the 20th century up to the present within the broader social and cultural context.


Keywords: Romani, instrumental music, Romani string enesembles, rom-pop, modern bands, music repertoire, popular music

Jana Ambrózová (b. 1982) (b. 1982) is an ethnologist and a musician (both singer and instrumentalist). She works as a lecturer and researcher at the Department of Ethnology and Folklore Studies in the Faculty of Arts at Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra. Her research focuses on analysing the playing styles in string ensembles in Slovakia and on musical cultures of Roma with an accent on their instrumental expressions. Ambrózová is a co-author of the monographs Hudobné a tanečné tradície Hrušova [Music and dance traditions of Hrušov] (2019) and Vidiek tradičný, moderný, inšpiratívny : Dediny roka Malé Dvorníky, Liptovská Teplička, Soblahov, Vlachovo  [Traditional, modern, and inspiring rural communities: Malé Dvorníky, Liptovská Teplička, Soblahov, and Vlachovo as the Villages of the Year](2021). During 2016–2017 and 2021, she conducted an intensive audiovisually documented research on the Romani dance typology within the municipalities of Horehronie. Furthermore, in 2018, she gave attention to the issue of soundscape and its development throughout the second half of the 20th century in the context of music production in the village of Telgárt. In her 2021 studies Rytmický sprievod kontrášov v Telgárte 1:Pohyb ako kritérium klasifikácie a systematizácie modelov rytmického sprievodu [The rhythmic accompaniment of the violinists/violists in Telgárt traditional music 1: Movement as a criterion of classification and systematization of rhythmic accompaniment models]and Sekundárne rytmické štruktúry v hudobnom sprievode kontrášov v Telgárte a Šumiaci [Secondary rhythmic structures in the accompaniment of Telgárt and Šumiac violinists/violists with accompanying function in traditional string bands]Ambrózová presented an innovative analytical and classification method of rhythmic accompaniment patterns (motifs) in traditional string ensembles in Slovakia. She is a guarantor of the digital crowdsourcing project focused on Slovenské spevy [Slovak folk songs], the largest Slovak folk song collection, which resulted in the Ľudo Slovenský Internet portal. She has also directed and edited the project Ľudové piesne regiónov Slovenska [Folk songs of Slovak regions], an 8-volume educational publication for elementary schools. Ambrózová is a tutor in traditional multipart singing and the interpretative styles of violinists in traditional Central Slovakian string ensembles. She founded the Tradana Civic Association, through which she has conducted an extensive documentation of the traditional playing styles of traditional string and cimbal ensembles and produced three recordings of traditional Romani music from Šumiac (Ľudová hudba Pokošovci, 2014; and Ľudová hudba Pokošovci, 2 CDs, 2019).

Supported by VEGA grant 1/0015/19 (Composition in the Context of Jazz, Rock, 20th-Century European Music, and the Present)