Anna Stirr

Anna Stirr
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa | UH Manoa · School of Pacific and Asian Studies

PhD
Director, Center for South Asian Studies at UH Manoa. Singing and writing about folk and progressive song in/of Nepal.

About

23
Publications
4,178
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Citations
Introduction
My research is ethnographic and historical with a focus on expressive practices in music, language, and dance. Current projects include: 1) a study of Nepali progressive performance in relation to modernity, love, development, and communism; 2) a translation of Surendra Bikram Shah's scholarship on Nepali folklore, musicology, and music theory; 3) a study of indigenous knowledge in the Tamang language Tamba repertoire of songs and stories; and 4) lok dohori and the popular folk music industry.
Additional affiliations
July 2017 - present
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
January 2012 - July 2017
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
September 2011 - December 2011
Leiden University
Position
  • PostDoc Position
Education
August 2003 - October 2009
Columbia University
Field of study
  • Ethnomusicology
September 1998 - June 2002
Lawrence University
Field of study
  • Religious Studies; Music

Publications

Publications (23)
Article
Full-text available
Subi Shah (1922-2008) was a Nepali performer and educator whose life’s work was to preserve and promote Nepali folk genres of music, song, dance, and drama, especially the wide variety of these that make up the tradition known as Pangdure. Raised in this tradition, he became one of its leading exponents. He did so outside of the academy and was thu...
Article
The Nepali communist cultural group Raktim Pariwar (literally "Family of Blood") stands out among the many such groups in Nepal for their songs and especially for their dances. Active since 1987, their ideology and aesthetics have been strongly influenced by Chinese communism. While this is true of most Nepali communist parties and associated cultu...
Article
Full-text available
This article examines the moral and material economy of "being a musician" (Neuman 1980) in Nepal's popular folk music industry, which includes the broad genre of lok gīt (folk song) and the more specific subgenre of lok dohori (folk duet song). Through ethnographic attention to a debate about what it means to be an artist, and how musicians can bo...
Article
Full-text available
Throughout the history of movement between country and city in the Nepali-speaking areas of the Indian subcontinent, musical links between cities and the rural hills have integrated emotional associations with rural hill life into the fabric of city life. Songs in the thematic genre of viraha – longing and the pain of separation – articulate lyrica...
Book
An ethnographic study of music, performance, migration, and circulation, Singing Across Divides examines how forms of love and intimacy are linked to changing conceptions of political solidarity and forms of belonging, through the lens of Nepali dohori song. The book describes dohori: improvised, dialogic singing, in which a witty repartee of excha...
Article
Full-text available
This is a book review of Richard Widdess's book on Dapha music in Bhaktapur, Nepal.
Article
This article examines how the interaction between the oral/aural and written aspects of language and song has shaped a modern Nepali-language public sphere and its uneasy relationship with the politics of difference and inequality in intimate life. To do so, it traces the history of the musical and poetic genre of jhyāure in Nepal and northern Indi...
Article
Full-text available
This is a review of an album recorded by Alejandro Sanchez-Samper and faculty and students of the Kathmandu Jazz Conservatory.
Article
Full-text available
Pacific Island cultures loom large in the touristic imagination of the Global North, and a great deal of ethnographic work conducted in the Pacific is central to the canons of anthropology (Malinowski; Strathern) and ethnomusicology and dance ethnology (Feld; Kaeppler). Yet there are fewer publications that give readers a sense of the locally roote...
Chapter
Full-text available
Article
Full-text available
Near the end of the introduction to Sounds of Secrets, the ethnomusicologist Raymond Ammann attempts to account for the unique structure of this book, which is neither an in-depth study of one particular group’s musical life in Vanuatu, nor a conceptual examination of theoretical themes: It was neither the idea nor the intention to write a thesis,...
Chapter
Full-text available
Nepal's twentieth-century tradition of leftist music, known as pragatisil git or progressive song, developed musically during the 1960s and 1970s along with state-sponsored nationalist genres meant to serve as musical representations of Nepali identity. The differences were primarily in the lyrics: pragatisil git's leftist themes were deemed too in...
Article
Full-text available
This article looks at the deudā songs of Nepal's far-western region and their relationship with changing ideas of Nepal as a nation. Drawn from regional folk dances, deudā songs have become popular in the commercial music industry. The deudā industry is centered in the studios of the far west but has increasingly become part of the central music in...
Article
Full-text available
The Nepali dohori song embodies the political and social changes of "New Nepal" as the genre struggles in a shift from traditional love song to commercialized music.
Article
Full-text available
This is a research report from early days of my dissertation research. It is NOT an actual peer-reviewed article. To properly cite the research referred to in this report, please cite any of my other articles, my dissertation (which has a similar title), or my book, Singing Across Divides. Again, this is an EARLY RESEARCH REPORT and it is NOT an ap...

Projects