Michael E. Veal
Michael E. Veal has been a member of the Yale faculty since 1998. Trained as an ethnomusicologist, his work has typically addressed the themes of aesthetics, technology, and politics within the cultural sphere of Africa and the African diaspora. His biography, Fela: The Life & Times of an African Musical Icon (Temple University Press, 2000), uses the life and music of one of Africa’s most influential and controversial musicians to explore themes of post-coloniality, the political uses of music, and cultural interchange between cultures of Africa and the African diaspora. Professor Veal’s documentation of the “Afrobeat” genre continued with Tony Allen: Master Drummer of Afrobeat (Duke University Press, 2013), an autobiography co-written with the man many consider to be the greatest drum set player in Africa. Dub: Soundscapes and Shattered Songs in Jamaican Reggae (Wesleyan University Press, 2007) examines the ways in which the studio-based innovations of Jamaican recording engineers transformed the structure and concept of the post-WWII popular song during the 1970s, and examines sound technology as a medium for the articulation of spiritual, historical, and political themes. Punk Ethnography: The Sublime Frequencies Companion (co-edited with E. Tammy Kim, forthcoming) collects a series of critical essays about world music that provide context for the maverick products of this controversial recording label. Professor Veal’s forthcoming book Wait Until Tomorrow: John Coltrane and Miles Davis in the Digital Age surveys under-documented periods in the careers of these two musicians that encapsulate the stylistic interventions of “free jazz” and “jazz-rock fusion,” while drawing on the discourses of sound studies and digital architecture to suggest new directions for jazz analysis and interpretation.