The Life and Times of an African Musical Icon
Michael E. Veal
"Fela: The Life and Times of an African Musical Icon is both timely and bold.... [It] has the potential of becoming a classic of African biography. It is written in an accessible style, rich in local color and musically informed.... Veal's study is not the first book written of Fela. But it is by far the best." —Veit Erlman, Chair of Music History in the School of Music, University of Texas, Austin
Specializations: Ethnomusicology (African and Caribbean Music), African-American Music (Jazz and Popular Music) .
B.M. Berklee College of Music (Jazz Composition and Arranging); 1986
M.A. Wesleyan University (Ethnomusicology); 1994
Ph.D Wesleyan University (Ethnomusicology); 2001
Michael Veal has been a member of the Yale faculty since 1998. Before coming to Yale, he taught at Mount Holyoke College (1996 – 1998) and New York University (1997-1998). His work has addressed topics of biography, history, analysis, and interpretation in various musics of Africa and the African diaspora. His socio-contextual biography of the late Nigerian musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti uses the life of one of the most influential African musicians of the post-WWII era to explore themes of African post-coloniality, musical and cultural interchange between cultures of Africa and the African diaspora, and the political uses of music in Africa. His current work-in-progress on Jamaican dub music examines the ways in which the studio-based innovations of Jamaican recording engineers during the 1970s created a sonic space for the emergence of a distinctly post-colonial Jamaican culture locally, while they worked to transform the structure and concept of the post-WWII popular song globally.
Undergraduate courses have included: Music Cultures of the World; Traditional and Contemporary Musics of Sub-Saharan Africa; Jazz in Transition - The 1960s; Funk – The Re-Africanization of the American Popular Song Form; and Theory and Practice of Ethnomusicology. Graduate courses have included: Music in Africa and Theory and Practice of Ethnomusicology. Courses in development include Music of the Caribbean and Popular Music: The Experimental Tradition.