Interviews with ethnomusicologists

John Baily interviewed by Carolyn Landau. (1 of 2).

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  • Interviewees

    Baily, John (speaker, male, interviewee)

  • Interviewers

    Landau, Carolyn (speaker, female, interviewer)

  • Recordist

    Landau, Carolyn (speaker, female

  • Abstract

    Track 1 [00:35:14] [Session one: 29 April 2010] John Sebastian Baily (JB) was born in July 1943, Glastonbury, Somerset, UK. Comments that his name indicates how keen his parents were on music, with lots of JS Bach being played in the home. Father was solicitor by profession and very musical, playing the piano and later the concertina; also played the clarinet, guitar, clavichord. Brought up in Chichester. Remembers there being lots of instruments in the house. Father hoped JB would be chorister at Chichester Cathedral and JB remembers lots of practice in advance of audition, although he was not successful and his musical talent was then written off for next five years. JB regrets this, as he remembers there being several very good music teachers at his Quaker boarding school in Somerset. He remembers Skiffle being very popular in this period and his father teaching him the guitar and learning Lonnie Donegan songs, also interested in Lead Belly and English folksong (Albert Lloyd, Ewen MacColl). Description of grammar school he attended where he was exposed to the folk music scene in London. Remarks that he never had any formal music training. At Oxford, JB was involved in British Blues movement as a singer and pianist and later organ player, whilst studying psychology and physiology, becoming very interested in human movement and special orientation. Comments on the high quality of his tutors, one of whom he followed to Sussex under whom he completed his PhD in 1970. Mentions that he had discovered the existence of ethnomusicology two years previously through reading Bruno Nettl and later Mantle Hood, which he thought seemed much more interesting than experimental psychology. Describes how he moved gradually from one field to another. Mentions recent communication with Dan Slobin (Mark Slobin’s brother), a psycho-linguist. Description of period of travel post-PhD, first to Australia via Nepal where he spent 7 months in Kathmandu; learnt to play tabla and Indian music on the guitar. Mentions the influence of various musicians he met and learned with at this stage, as well as some important LPs. Comments on his first publication on Indian music and how useful this early training was. Further remarks on his backpacking and travelling periods. Describes 3 month stint playing with London folk rock band McGuiness Flint at the end of 1971. Describes period in Brighton where JB met wife, Veronica Doubleday, a singer with various choirs. Describes interest in becoming an ethnomusicologist. Describes 1965 road trip and its influence on his interest in Afghan and other ‘world’ musics. Mentions his time with a Blues band (The Glands) with Eric Clapton in 1965, hoping it would tour its way to Australia, but ending “in disaster” (JB mentions that this is documented elsewhere – c.f. Describes continued travels through Turkey, Jordan, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Remarks how Afghanistan made deep impression at this stage, including the music. Mentions next trip to Afghanistan (en route to Australia), when JB had cassette recorder thanks to his father who used them for his work (remarks that his grandmother had also had a very early tape recorder - a sound mirror); mentions making field recordings, also in Nepal. Describes how these early recording experiences were particularly informative. Discusses reasons for making recordings at this stage and collaboration with 2 Indian musicians and impact on later fieldwork and research. Mentions book, “Recorded Music”, edited by Amanda Bayley with CUP in relation to importance of making good quality field recordings. Describes John Blacking’s role in encouraging and developing JB interest and career in ethnomusicology in Herat, at Queen’s, Belfast and through funding proposals. Mentions other recordings he made at this stage (e.g. religious zikr ceremonies). [32:38] Continuation of description of JB’s time in Devon (1971-2) after he was sacked from McGuinnessFlint, followed by Brighton, before meeting Blacking and pursuing further research in Afghanistan. Mentions going to Dartington hoping to meet Alistair Dick to talk about Indian music, but meeting Jack Dobbs instead. Mentions meeting Professor David Pocock (expert on the caste system in India) at Sussex University who recommended he contact Blacking. Remarks that he had no further notions of ethnomusicology at this stage. [End of track.]

  • Description

    Interview with John Baily (1 of 2). The ethnomusicologist talk about his research. Interviewer: Carolyn Landau.

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