Department of Music

Lonán Ó Briain wins inaugural book prize

Lonán Ó Briain, Associate Professor of Music, has won the inaugural book prize of the International Council for Traditional Music for his book, Musical Minorities: The Sounds of Hmong Ethnicity in Northern Vietnam. Published by Oxford University Press, Lonán‘s book has received glowing praise by musicologists, anthropologists, and Southeast Asianists.

“Lonán Ó Briain has done his homework meticulously…. [This] monograph is written in
a clear prose that avoids arcane semantics. It offers a perceptive, heart-felt, and accurate
analysis of the persistence of un-normalized thoughts and practices by people under strong
state and market domination…. Very few such deep-rooted studies are being conducted,
let alone published, on these peoples and places, making this book a must-read to anyone
caring about the richness of marginal cultures and their power of resilience.”
Asian Ethnicity

“This book is a fascinating, wide-ranging and deeply intriguing account of Hmong musical
and cultural life in northern Vietnam in the early years of this century. It is the product of
very careful and thoughtful scholarship, sensitive fieldwork, and musical acuity.
Congratulations are due to Ó Briain for producing such a valuable addition to our
knowledge about the sonic world of the Hmong in northern Vietnam.”
Hmong Studies Journal

“Ó Briain offers a work of great intellectual integrity and transparency, based on empirical work illustrated by case studies, discussing the research of other scholars and presenting his own interpretations based on his personal experience and his informants' perceptions.… The numerous case studies, discussions of the states of the art, and the described musical analyses make the book accessible to a larger audience, from the ethnologist working in the area to others willing to learn more about Hmong and related musical cultures in Southeast Asia.”
Asian Music

“This is an important ethnographic contribution regarding the performing arts of the Southeast Asian Massif and its upland ethnic minority residents. Focusing on the music-making of an ethnic minority group in Vietnam, and based on three years of meticulous fieldwork—the permissions for which are challenging to acquire, especially for the northern borderlands where this book is based—Lonán Ó Briain is to be commended for this carefully documented account.”
Sojourn: Journal of Social Issues in Southeast Asia

"Musical Minorities remains a highly commendable ethnomusicological study with important ramifications for ethnic relations, tourism economies and the politics of representation in Vietnam and beyond. More than that, this book provides a model for those wishing to conduct interdisciplinary research on the performing arts of marginalised groups."

Posted on Tuesday 7th April 2020

Department of Music

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