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Faculty of Music

Dr Stephen  Wilford


Research Associate (Past and Present Musical Encounters across the Strait of Gibraltar)
Junior Research Fellow, Wolfson College
Sound Studies
Music and Diaspora
Hip Hop


Stephen Wilford is a Research Associate within the Faculty of Music and a Junior Research Fellow of Wolfson College Cambridge. He is part of the team working on the European Research Council-funded project ‘Past and Present Musical Encounters across the Strait of Gibraltar’. He studied at the University of Aberdeen, Leeds College of Music, and Goldsmiths, University of London, before completing his AHRC-funded PhD at City, University of London, with a thesis focusing upon music-making among the Algerian diaspora community of London. He has taught at City, University of London, the University of Southampton and Goldsmiths, University of London.

Stephen’s work focuses upon North African musics, particularly those of Algeria, and spans a range of traditional and contemporary styles, from the region’s various Andalusi traditions to the Franco-Algerian hip hop scene. His research interrogates the intersections of music and sound within public and private spaces throughout the colonial and postcolonial periods, and is concerned with ideas of collective identity, cultural memory, diaspora and transnational flows of music. He is particularly interested in the role of sonic and audio-visual technologies in the production and circulation of music and musical meanings among composers, performers and listeners, and the connections that these form between North Africa and Europe.

His current research is formed of a number of strands: visual representations of music and music-making in Algeria during the colonial period; North African musics at the French colonial expositions of the nineteenth and early twentieth century; musical encounters and dialogues within contemporary Franco-Algerian hip hop; and the role of sound and music in the recent Hirak protests in Algeria.

He was formerly an Early Career Research Fellow of the Institute of Musical Research and is currently a member of both the national committee of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology, and the Ethnomusicology-Ethnochoreology committee of the Royal Anthropological Institute.


Algerian music and culture; ethnomusicology; music and (post)colonialism; music and diaspora; music and technology; ethnographic film; hip hop


Key publications: 

Book Chapters

‘Musical Pathways through Algerian London’. 2020 (forthcoming). Musical Spaces: Place, Performance, and Power. Jenny Stanford Publishing.

‘The Algerian Woman is very Strong’: Music, Identity and Gender in Algerian London’. 2020 (forthcoming). Routledge Handbook on Women’s Work in Music.

Journal Articles

'Seeing Music in Early Twentieth-Century Algeria'. 2022 (forthcoming). Twentieth-Century Music, 19(1).

‘"We are all Algerian here”: Music, Citizenship and Multiculturalism in Algerian Diaspora Communities’. 2022 (forthcoming). Ethnomusicology Forum.

‘Music, Identity and the Construction of Contemporary Algerian-London’. 2018. Musicology Research (Special Issue on ‘Geography, Music, Space), 4(1): 77-98.

‘”We are all Algerian here”: Music, Community and Citizenship in Algerian London’. 2017. Sounding Board: Ethnomusicology Review.

‘”In our culture poets have more power than politicians”: The lives, deaths and legacies and Lounès Matoub and Cheb Hasni’. 2015. Journal@IASPM (The Journal of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music), 5(2): pp. 41-57


Review Article: ‘Islam and Popular Culture’ (Karin Van Nieuwkerk, Mark Levine and Martin Stokes, eds.) (Forthcoming). Ethnomusicology Forum.

Review Article: ‘World Music Studies’ (Regine Allgayer-Kaufmann, ed.). 2017. The World of Music (New Series). 6(2): 145-147

Review article: ‘This Thing Called Music: Essays in Honour of Bruno Nettl’ (Victoria Lindsay Levine and Philip V. Bohlman, eds.), Ethnomusicology Forum, 25(3): 380-383


Hearing and Seeing Judeo-Arabic Music in Colonial Algeria’. Yallah: Judeo-Arabic Music Workshop and Conference. SOAS, University of London, 9-10 February 2020.


The Prince Zal Iranian Music Project (2013)

 Sahara Nights [Studio Live] (2012)

 New Beginnings (2011)


 ‘A Taste of Algerian Music’. History Today Magazine, July 2012.