Visiting Fellow, Spring 2019
Nicoletta Demetriou is Research Fellow in Ethnomusicology and Life Writing at Wolfson College, University of Oxford, and Tutor in Narrative Non-Fiction on the University of Oxford’s Master’s program in Creative Writing. She has written on Cypriot traditional music, its history and historiography, and is co-editor of Music in Cyprus (Routledge 2015). She has also led the British Academy-funded project ‘The Cypriot Fiddler’, which resulted in an ethnographic documentary on the last surviving Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot traditional fiddlers (The Cypriot Fiddler; 2016). Nicoletta is currently completing a Greek-language book based on this project, while also working on a critical edition concerning the tradition of tsiattista (Cypriot improvised rhyming couplets), funded by the Ministry of Education and Culture of Cyprus. The first of three volumes was published in May 2018; the second will be published in spring 2019. Nicoletta is also an active performer of Cypriot folksong, and has sung and recorded both in Cyprus and abroad.
This project concerns the writing of a narrative history of Cypriot traditional music in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The book considers how, through a process of selection, rejection, reification and folklorization, and during a period when Cypriots were trying to redefine themselves historically and politically, the body of what we now recognize as “Cypriot traditional music” came to be created. The book follows the making of this tradition from the turn of the twentieth century, when research interest in Cypriot traditional music first emerged, through the nationalist politics of the 1950s and 1960s and the process of folklorization that followed the island’s de facto partition in 1974, to the present-day revival of traditional music and its commercialization on the radio, the TV, and the internet. Drawing on methodology from both ethnomusicology and narrative non-fiction, this book is written with an emphasis on stories: there are stories about individual actors, about groups, and about musical genres. The aim throughout is to present the findings in the mode of an engaging narrative, so that the book can have the widest possible impact.