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Lonán Ó Briain

Associate Professor, Faculty of Arts

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Biography

I joined the Department of Music at Nottingham in September 2013 following periods of teaching at the University of Birmingham and the University of Sheffield. I've also held visiting research fellowships at the Vietnam Institute of Culture and Arts Studies and the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences. I completed my studies in ethnomusicology at the University of Sheffield. Prior to developing an interest in this field, I studied music performance (trumpet) at the Royal Northern College of Music and the Royal Irish Academy of Music.

Expertise Summary

I'm a music scholar with expertise in the global history of music, musical infrastructures and audio technologies, music and minorities, ethnomusicological theory and method, music education, and the politics of culture in Southeast Asia (Vietnam) and Northern Europe (Britain and Ireland). My research has been published in numerous journals including Asian Music, Ethnomusicology Forum, Journal of American Folklore, Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, and Yearbook for Traditional Music. This research has been supported by grants from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK), the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust, and the Association for Southeast Asian Studies in the UK. I'm an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Authority (UK). I previously served as Chair of ICTM Ireland and Ireland Representative to the International Council for Traditional Music, reviews editor for Ethnomusicology Forum, and guest editor for the world of music. I am currently multimedia reviews editor for the Yearbook for Traditional Music.

Teaching Summary

At undergraduate level, I convene the modules 'Music of Asia', 'Global Music Studies', 'Approaches to Popular Music' and 'Music and Environmentalism'. I also supervise undergraduate dissertations in… read more

Research Summary

I'm currently finishing my second monograph, Voices of Vietnam: A Century of Radio, Red Song, and Revolution (Oxford University Press). This will be the first comprehensive English-language study on… read more

Recent Publications

  • Ó BRIAIN, L., 2021. ‘I Choose Formosa Fish!’ The Cultivation of Environmental Awareness through Song. In: HARDWICK, P. and HOOD, M. M., eds., The Animal Within: Exploring Ecologies of Human and Animal Relations in the Performing Arts of Southeast Asia. National University of Singapore Press. (In Press.)
  • MANGAOANG, Á, O'FLYNN, J. and Ó BRIAIN, L., eds., 2021. Made in Ireland: Studies in Popular Music. Routledge. (In Press.)
  • GUBBINS, H. and Ó BRIAIN, L., 2021. Broadcasting Pop: The Fanning Sessions as a Gateway to New Music. In: MANGAOANG, Á, O'FLYNN, J. and Ó BRIAIN, L., eds., Made in Ireland: Studies in Popular Music. Routledge. 31-41 (In Press.)
  • MANGAOANG, Á., O'FLYNN, J. and Ó BRIAIN, L., 2021. Introduction: Irish Popular Music and its Research. In: MANGAOANG, Á, O'FLYNN, J. and Ó BRIAIN, L., eds., Made in Ireland: Studies in Popular Music. Routledge. 1-15

At undergraduate level, I convene the modules 'Music of Asia', 'Global Music Studies', 'Approaches to Popular Music' and 'Music and Environmentalism'. I also supervise undergraduate dissertations in ethnomusicology, world music, popular music studies and related areas.

At postgraduate level, I am the course director for the MA in Music. I contribute to convening and teaching various modules on this course, and contribute to the supervision and examination of MA and PhD dissertations.

I warmly welcome enquiries from potential research students on topics including East and Southeast Asian performing arts, folk music of Britain and Ireland, ethnomusicological theory and method, popular musics of the world, and music and minorities.

Current Research

I'm currently finishing my second monograph, Voices of Vietnam: A Century of Radio, Red Song, and Revolution (Oxford University Press). This will be the first comprehensive English-language study on the history of radio music ensembles in mainland Southeast Asia. The book examines the broadcast voices that reconfigured Vietnam's cultural, social, and political landscapes over a century. I draw on a year of ethnographic fieldwork at the VOV studios, interviews with radio employees and listeners, historical recordings and broadcasts, and archival research in Vietnam, France, and the United States. From the Indochinese radio clubs of the 1920s to the 75th anniversary celebrations of the VOV in 2020, Voices of Vietnam offers a fresh perspective on this turbulent period by demonstrating how music production and sound reproduction are integral to the unyielding process of state formation.

I'm also working on an edited volume, Sound Communities in the Asia Pacific: Music, Media, and Technology (Bloomsbury), with Min Yen Ong. With contributions by leading scholars in anthropology, ethnomusicology, sound studies, and media and cultural studies, the 12 essays this book investigate the processes of broadcasting musical culture in the Asia Pacific. We shift our gaze to the mechanisms of cultural industries in eastern Asia and the Pacific islands to understand how oft-invisible producers, musicians, and technologies facilitate, frame, reproduce, and magnify the reach of the local culture.

Past Research

My first book, Musical Minorities: The Sounds of Hmong Ethnicity in Northern Vietnam (Oxford University Press, 2018), examined how the performing arts shape understandings of ethnicity and nationality in contemporary Vietnam. Based on three years of fieldwork, I traced the circulation of organized sounds that contribute to the adaptive capacities of this diverse social group. In an original investigation of the sonic materialization of social identity, the book outlines the full multiplicity of Hmong music-making through an account of music, minorities, and the state in a post-socialist context.

Musical Minorities: The Sounds of Hmong Ethnicity in Northern ...

I edited the volume, Made in Ireland: Studies in Popular Music (Routledge, 2021), with Áine Mangaoang and John O'Flynn. Made in Ireland serves as a comprehensive and thorough introduction to the history, sociology, and musicology of twentieth and twenty-first century Irish popular music. The volume consists of essays by leading scholars in the field, and covers the major figures, styles, and social contexts of popular music in Ireland. Each essay provides adequate context so readers understand why the figure or genre under discussion is of lasting significance to Irish popular music.

Made in Ireland: Studies in Popular Music (Routledge Global ...

Future Research

This year (2020/21) I'm delivering a new module on Music and Environmentalism, which I hope will spark the embers of a large-scale collaborative research project in Southeast Asia.

  • Ó BRIAIN, L., 2021. ‘I Choose Formosa Fish!’ The Cultivation of Environmental Awareness through Song. In: HARDWICK, P. and HOOD, M. M., eds., The Animal Within: Exploring Ecologies of Human and Animal Relations in the Performing Arts of Southeast Asia. National University of Singapore Press. (In Press.)
  • MANGAOANG, Á, O'FLYNN, J. and Ó BRIAIN, L., eds., 2021. Made in Ireland: Studies in Popular Music. Routledge. (In Press.)
  • GUBBINS, H. and Ó BRIAIN, L., 2021. Broadcasting Pop: The Fanning Sessions as a Gateway to New Music. In: MANGAOANG, Á, O'FLYNN, J. and Ó BRIAIN, L., eds., Made in Ireland: Studies in Popular Music. Routledge. 31-41 (In Press.)
  • MANGAOANG, Á., O'FLYNN, J. and Ó BRIAIN, L., 2021. Introduction: Irish Popular Music and its Research. In: MANGAOANG, Á, O'FLYNN, J. and Ó BRIAIN, L., eds., Made in Ireland: Studies in Popular Music. Routledge. 1-15
  • Ó BRIAIN, L. and ONG, M. Y., eds., 2021. Sound Communities in the Asia Pacific: Music, Media, and Technology. Bloomsbury. (In Press.)
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., 2021. Music Industries and Historiographies. In: MANGAOANG, Á, O'FLYNN, J. and Ó BRIAIN, L., eds., Made in Ireland: Studies in Popular Music. Routledge. 17-18 (In Press.)
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., 2021. Harmonies for the Homeland: Traditional Music and the Politics of Intangible Cultural Heritage on Vietnamese Radio. In: Ó BRIAIN, L. and ONG, M. Y., eds., Sound Communities in the Asia Pacific: Music, Media, and Technology Bloomsbury. (In Press.)
  • Ó BRIAIN, L. and ONG, M. Y., 2021. Introduction: Musical Media in the Asia Pacific. In: Ó BRIAIN, L. and ONG, M. Y., eds., Sound Communities in the Asia Pacific: Music, Media, and Technology Bloomsbury. (In Press.)
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., 2020. Comment on Jean Michaud’s “The Art of Not Being Scripted So Much: The Politics of Writing Hmong Language(s)” Current Anthropology. 60(2), (In Press.)
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., 2019. Review of Television in Post-Reform Vietnam: Nation, Media, Market. Journal of Southeast Asian Studies. 50(3), 464-466
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., 2018. Musical Minorities: The Sounds of Hmong Ethnicity in Northern Vietnam. Oxford University Press.
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., 2018. Musical Cosmopolitanism in Late-Colonial Hanoi Ethnomusicology Forum. 27(3),
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., 2017. Introduction: Sounding and Silencing Ethnicity in the 21st Century. the world of music (new series). 3(2), 7-17
  • Ó BRIAIN, L. (ED), 2017. Special Issue: Sounding Ethnicity: New Perspectives on Music, Identity and Place. the world of music (new series). 3(2),
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., S. E. TAN AND A. WOOD, 2017. Editorial. Ethnomusicology Forum. 26(2), 149-150
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., S. E. TAN AND A. WOOD, 2017. Editorial. Ethnomusicology Forum. 26(1), 1-2
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., 2016. Domesticated Noise: The Musical Reformation of Identity in Urban Vietnam. Journal of Sonic Studies. 12,
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., J. STOCK AND A. WOOD, 2016. Editorial. Ethnomusicology Forum. 25(1), 1-3
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., 2016. Review of Frontier Livelihoods: Hmong in the Sino-Vietnamese Borderlands. South East Asia Research. 24(3), 439-40
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., J. STOCK AND A. WOOD, 2016. Editorial. Ethnomusicology Forum. 25(2), 143-45
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., 2016. Reports from ICTM National and Regional Representatives: Ireland. Bulletin of the International Council for Traditional Music. 132, 20-21
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., J. STOCK AND A. WOOD, 2016. Editorial Ethnomusicology Forum. 25(3), 253-254
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., 2015. Review of Korean Musical Drama: P’ansori and the Making of Tradition in Modernity. Ethnomusicology Ireland.
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., J. STOCK AND T. WIGGINS, 2015. Editorial. Ethnomusicology Forum. 24(1), 1-3
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., 2015. Vietnam. In: WILLIAMS, S., ed., The Ethnomusicologists' Cookbook, Volume II: Complete Meals from Around the World. Routledge. 44-46
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., J. STOCK AND T. WIGGINS, 2015. Editorial. Ethnomusicology Forum. 24(2), 141-142
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., 2015. Beyond the Digital Diaspora: YouTube Methodologies, Online Networking, and the Hmong Music Festival. Journal of World Popular Music. 2(2), 289-306
  • Ó BRIAIN, L. AND J. STOCK, 2015. Editorial. Ethnomusicology Forum. 24(3), 301-303
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., 2013. Qeej Tu Siav (Song of Expiring Life).” Field recording and accompanying liner notes in the compilation, ITCM-Ireland: Fieldwork.
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., 2012. Review of website, EVIA Digital Archives Project (www.eviada.org). Journal of American Folklore. 125(496), 257-258
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., 2012. Singing as Social Life: Three Perspectives on Kwv Txhiaj from Vietnam. Hmong Studies Journal. 13(1), 1-26
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., 2011. Review of Popular Music of Vietnam: the Politics of Remembering, the Economics of Forgetting. Asian Music. 42(1), 134-137
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., 2011. Getting To Know Each Other. SEM Student News. 2, 9-10
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., 2010. Review of Songs for the Spirits: Music and Mediums in Modern Vietnam. Ethnomusicology Forum. 19(1), 117-119
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., 2010. Review of The Musical Traditions of Northern Ireland and its Diaspora: Community and Conflict. Yearbook for Traditional Music. 42, 212-214
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., 2009. Review of CD recording, Vietnam: Vocal Music from the Northern Plains (VDE-Gallo CD 1207). Ethnomusicology Forum. 18(2), 285-287
  • Ó BRIAIN, L., 2008. Finding My Feet. Sheffield Ethnomusicology. 5, 1-2

Department of Music

The University of Nottingham
Lakeside Arts Centre
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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