Radical Black Music (feat. Marc Hannaford)


Today, I’m presenting an episode from my “News and Arts” show, which I host on WKCR-FM, Columbia University’s student-run radio station.

On this show, which aired live on April 11, 2019, I spoke with Marc Hannaford, a musician, PhD candidate in music theory, and course instructor at Columbia University. During the Spring 2019 semester, Marc taught, “Beyond Boundaries: Radical Black Experimental Music,” a course he designed that addresses radical Black musicians and their music throughout the 20th and 21st centuries.

In our conversation, we covered a range of topics. Marc outlined his history with music, his interest in music scholarship, and his identity in relation to the music he engages. We talked about his course, the difficulties and virtues of teaching radical music, people’s response to radical and improvisational music, and the ways to approach the work and context of Black art throughout history. Additionally, we listened to and dissected “Galaxy Around Oldumare,” a 1972 song from legendary Alice Coltrane.

Wadsworth Jarell, AACM, 1994

Wadsworth Jarrell, AACM, 1994. This piece is the cover art of Hannaford’s syllabus. Jarrell is an artist from Chicago and, in 1969, co-founded AFRICOBRA (African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists).