« Program: Venezuela: The Rise of Afro-Venezuelan Music to the Present Day Hugo Chavez Era

Scholar: TM Scruggs

T.M. Scruggs is an anthromusicologist and musician.  On a Fulbright grant for Venezuela 2005 to 2006 he taught at the Universidad de Los Andes in Mérida and crawled around a good part of the country, concentrating on the time-honored ethnographic field method of hanging-out.He is currently a Research Associate at the Univ. of California at Davis, and has taught at the Universidad Centroamericana (Managua, Nicaragua); Florida International University (Miami); and until recently was the token ethnomusicologist at the University of Iowa. His primary research focus is on the use of music to construct social identity in the Americas.  He has published on Central American music and dance in audio, video and print format, being the principal contributor and consultant for major reference works on the subject. His recordings done inside musicians’ living rooms and in street processions were released as Nicaraguan Folk Music from Masaya on Flying Fish Records and was nominated for two “Indies,” for best liner notes and World Music release on an independent label. Unknown sources within Nicaragua continue to honor the album by continually bootlegging it.  He received the Society of Ethnomusicology’s annual prize for the most significant article published in 2005, but maintains that his highest distinction has been receiving the appellation “El Marimbero Gringo” [“The Gringo Marimbist”] from Carlos Mejía Godoy, Nicaragua’s leading musician.His most recent projects include sections on Central America, Colombia and Venezuela for a forthcoming textbook, The Musics of Latin America; a CD of socially conscious popular music from Venezuela; and co-producing a documentary The Resurrection of Víctor Jara.He is proud to be an accordionist.  He can be reached at:  tm-scruggs@uiowa.edu.