Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

FUAIM Research Seminars Autumn Colin P McGuire

Music and Martial Arts: Intertextuality in the Sounds of Diasporic Chinese Kung Fu

Rhythm is essential in both music and martial arts. While there are many differences between these two areas, there are also interesting connections. Many martial arts around the world feature musical accompaniment. Scholars, however, have only recently begun to address this area, with work on Brazilian capoeira and Indonesian-Malay pencak silat leading the charge. Colin's research focuses on the percussion music of southern Chinese martial arts and lion dance, and is based on eight years of performance ethnography at a diasporic kung fu club in Toronto, Canada. According to Colin's consultants, investigating this percussion separately from hand combat would be missing the point. They hear their gong & drum ensemble as a type of martial art, which suggests a distinctive way of thinking about humanly organized sound. Colin proposes the term martial sound for the musical aspect of kung fu, which encompasses not only percussion music, but also “hearing” the rhythm of combat as musicking. Through considerations of embodied knowledge and heroic display, this seminar reveals martial sound’s intersections with kung fu and lion dance. Far from glorifying violence, Colin engages with issues of resistance, community, and identity in diaspora that are of pressing global concern. Colin P. McGuire holds a PhD in Ethnomusicology (2015) from York University and is now an IRC Postdoctoral Fellow in UCC’s Department of Music. Writ large, his academic work centres on the locus of music and body. He is particularly interested in how hearing connections between movement and sound can contribute to understandings of being-in-the-world, relationships, values, and beliefs. Through investigations of intertextual meanings, transnational identity construction, and resistance to oppression, McGuire contributes to wider discussions of embodiment and diaspora. Currently, McGuire’s research focuses on music and martial arts, examining transmission processes, tradition/legacy, body-experience, community/identity, and heroic display. Between 2008 and 2016, he conducted ethnographic fieldwork on Chinese martial arts, the lion dance, and percussion music at Toronto, Canada’s Hong Luck Kung Fu Club. This research project was the subject of his PhD dissertation, and is now being revised and expanded for a monograph.

Category: Public Lectures and Seminars: Arts Celtic Studies and Social Sciences
Time: 11am-1pm
Location: O'Riada Hall, Dept of Music, Sunday's Well
Target Audience: All welcome
Admission Price: € Free
Contact: Celena O'Brien

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