Dr Janne Rantala
School of Film, Music and Theatre
Janne Rantala (Marie Skłodowska-Curie research fellow) is a southern Africa based Hip Hop scholar, currently working in the Music Department of the University College Cork in collaboration with Professor Griff Rollefson's ERC CIPHER project about global Hip Hop gems of wisdom. Rantala's EC funded project ‘Performing Political Memory’ focuses on Hip Hop's performance of historical knowledge in four Mozambican cities. With his original concept ‘political ancestor’, his research cuts across the rarely associated fields of global Hip Hop studies and political memory studies in southern Africa.
In 2021, he was lead researcher of the EU funded project, conducting participatory fieldwork about conflicts and peace building in five Mozambican provinces in the Instituto dos Estudos Sociais e Económicos (IESE). In 2018-2019 he worked in Cape Town as a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Centre for Humanities Research, University of the Western Cape (UWC). He defended his PhD in cultural anthropology in 2017 at the University of Eastern Finland. His stand-out paper about Mozambican rap is ‘‘Hidrunisa Samora’: Invocations of a Dead Political Leader in Maputo Rap’, published in the Journal of Southern African Studies (JSAS), which led him to win the journal’s Colin Murray Grant, awarded annually for engaged and original fieldwork.
He also contributed to the first two anthologies about Lusophone Hip-Hop, of which one in English (2018) and another in Portuguese (2019). More recently he has been busy with submissions about 1. sampling space and time in Chimoio´s Hip Hop production, 2. sonic biography of Mozambican alternative hero Uria Simango, 3. peace and contemporary war in Mozambican Rap, and 4. regional power dynamics through Hip Hop communities´ histories. In addition to his academic interests, he is a member of the international Hip Hop collective, Interligados, founded in Mozambique and Chile. Among other activities, he designed a general theme for the group’s song ‘O Poder dos Fracos’ (Power of the Weak), which gave a title to the group’s debut album.