The Daily Tar Heel

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Friday June 2nd

Annual Southern music conference comes to UNC

Yodels, transatlantic hip-hop and the Southern sounds of the banjo will fill the FedEx Global Education Center Friday and Saturday.

“Southern Sounds/Out of Bounds: Music and the Global American South,” a collaborative conference, will explore globalization’s impact on the South.


Time: Friday 1:30 p.m. – 6 p.m.; Saturday 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Location: FedEx Global Education Center


Carolina Chocolate Drops and Vusi Mahlasela
Time: Friday at 8 p.m.
Location: Memorial Hall

Abigail Washburn and Kai Welch with Wu Fei
Time: Saturday 8 p.m.
Location: Memorial Hall

The conference, annually organized by the Center for the Study of the American South and the Center for Global Initiatives, has chosen music as this year’s theme. It will also hold performances at Memorial Hall.

For the first time, the centers are collaborating with Carolina Performing Arts to weave together two performances — the Carolina Chocolate Drops with Vusi Mahlasela, and Abigail Washburn and Kai Welch with Wu Fei — into the conference, said Joe Florence, marketing manager at CPA.

“If people around here hear ‘American traditional music,’ they might think of soul,” Florence said.

“But if you ask someone across the world, traditional means something totally different. We want to explore traditional music in different cultures on the same stage.”

In addition to performing at Memorial Hall, Washburn and Fei will hold a talk about their melding of Appalachian music with Chinese traditional music as part of the conference.

Bevin Tighe, program assistant for the Center for Global Initiatives, said this conference is important because it gives an informed perspective on where the South is going in the future.

“We’re encouraging people to think critically and listen critically — not just to enjoy the music,” she said.

“But to also ask questions about where it comes from, how it’s made, the identities of the people making the music and the different historical and social currents that the music has come out of.”

Tighe also said that, as a public university in the South, UNC has a responsibility to be a catalyst for these conversations.

Jeff DeLuca, an administrative assistant for the Center for the Study of the American South, said he hopes the event will leave people with a greater understanding of how the South is changing.

“I want people to realize how the American South is reaching other parts of the world.”

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