I’m Simon Keegan-Phipps, and I’m a Senior Lecturer in Ethnomusicology at the University of Sheffield.
Like all ethnomusicologists, my overriding interest is the study of music in global perspective – how music reflects, affects or otherwise relates to its social and cultural context. But, again like all ethnomusicologists, I have my particular interests…
My main research areas are folk and traditional music in the contemporary Anglophone world, with a particular specialism in English folk music and dance. I’ve spent much of my career to date looking at the ways in which English folk music in contemporary England relates to broader ideas about English national and cultural identity. The main place to see what I’ve written about this is the book I have co-authored with Trish Winter, entitled Performing Englishness: Identity and Politics in a Contemporary Folk Resurgence.
A secondary interest (not especially linked to ethnomusicology) is the study of music and humour. I teach an undergraduate course on this topic, but I’ve not got around to publishing anything on this… not just yet…
Then there’s the music…
I’ve played a few different things professionally for some years:
- English Concertina (mainly for English Folk, ceilidhs, etc.)
- Guitars, mandolins and banjos (mainly for English and Celtic traditional musics, although I’ve recently wandered into the strange world of Americana..!)
- Piano (mainly for jazz – think Oscar Peterson… at least, that’s the aspiration…)
- Other dabblings include trumpet (my one-time “first” instrument), piano accordion, harmonica (the ultimate travelling instrument), and its diametric opposite – double bass.
And I’ve had a lot to do with morris dancers over the years, too.