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Faculty of Music



Assistant Professor, Ethnomusicology, Popular Music and Sound Studies
Fellow, Wolfson College
Director of Studies in Music, Wolfson College
Tutor, Wolfson College
Takes PhD students
Sound Studies
Music and Diaspora
Hip Hop


Dr Stephen Wilford is Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, Popular Music, and Sound Studies, and a Fellow of Wolfson College Cambridge. His work focuses upon the musics and soundscapes of North Africa, and in particular those of Algeria. His interests span a range of traditional and contemporary musics, 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 the circulation of music and sound.

He studied at the University of Aberdeen, Leeds Conservatoire, 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 previously taught at City (University of London), the University of Southampton, and Goldsmiths (University of London), and has delivered guest lectures for Bucknell University (USA) and the London Arts and Humanities Partnership.

Stephen is currently writing a monograph for Liverpool University Press which explores the musical and sonic relationships between Algeria and France throughout the colonial and postcolonial periods. He is the co-editor of Ethnomusicology and its Intimacies: Essays in Honour of John Baily (Routledge, 2023) and is currently co-editing a collected volume for the British Academy (Oxford University Press). He has published widely, including book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles on a range of topics. He has presented his research at conferences, seminars, lectures and workshops throughout the UK and internationally.

Stephen is currently Treasurer of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology, and a committee member of both the Royal Anthropological Institute’s Ethnomusicology-Ethnochoreology committee and the Society for Ethnomusicology’s Global Online Chapter .He was formerly a researcher on the European Research Council-funded project ‘Past and Present Musical Encounters across the Strait of Gibraltar’ and a member of the University of Cambridge’s Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement.

Alongside his role within the Faculty of Music, Stephen serves as Director of Studies in Music and a Tutor to part-time students at Wolfson College.


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


Key publications: 


Music and Sound in Franco-Algerian Encounters. 2024 (forthcoming). Liverpool University Press.

Edited Volumes

Ethnomusicology and Its Intimacies: Essays in Honour of Professor John Baily. 2023. Stephen Wilford, Stephen Cottrell and Dafni Tragaki (eds.). Routledge.

Sonic Conversations in the Western Mediterranean. 2024 (forthcoming). Stephen Wilford and Vanessa Paloma Duncan Elbaz (eds.). Proceedings of the British Academy (Oxford University Press).

Other publications: 

Book Chapters

‘Problematic Coexistence: Music, Identity, and Community in Algerian London’. 2024 (forthcoming). The Musical Afterlives of al-Andalus: Identities and Encounters beyond History. Matthew Machin-Autenrieth and Charles Hirschkind (eds.). (Open Book Publishers)

‘Introduction’ (with Vanessa Paloma-Elbaz). 2024 (forthcoming). Sonic Conversations in the Western Mediterranean. (forthcoming). Stephen Wilford and Vanessa Paloma Duncan Elbaz (eds.). Proceedings of the British Academy (Oxford University Press).

‘Musical Pathways Through Algerian London’. 2021. Musical Spaces: Place, Performance, and Power. James Williams and Samuel Horlor (eds.) Jenny Stanford Publishing. Chapter 3: 41-58.

‘“The Algerian Woman is Very Strong”: Music, Identity and Gender in Algerian London’. 2021. The Routledge Handbook on Women’s Work in Music, Rhiannon Mathias (ed.). Chapter 5: 43-52.

Journal Articles

‘“We are all Algerian here”: Music, Citizenship and Multiculturalism in Algerian Diaspora Communities’. 2024 (forthcoming). Ethnomusicology Forum.

‘Seeing Music in Early Twentieth-Century Colonial Algeria’. 2022. Twentieth-Century Music, 19(1): 65-92.

‘Music, Identity and the Construction of Contemporary Algerian London’. 2018. Musicology Research (Special Issue on ‘Geography, Music, Space). 4: 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): 41-57


Review Article: 'Recording History: Jews, Muslims and Music Across Twentieth-Century North Africa' (Christopher Silver). 2024 (forthcoming). International Journal of Middle East Studies.

Review Article: ‘Writing the Black Decade: Conflict and Criticism in Francophone Algerian Literature’ (Joseph Ford). 2022. Modern Languages Review. 117(1): 129-130.

Review Article: ‘Islam and Popular Culture’ (Karin Van Nieuwkerk, Mark Levine and Martin Stokes, eds.) 2019. Ethnomusicology Forum. 28(1): 122-125

Review article: ‘World Music Studies’ (Regine Allgayer-Kaufmann, ed.). 2017. The World of Music (New Series). 6(2): 145-148

Review article: ‘This Thing Called Music: Essays in Honour of Bruno Nettl’ (Victoria Lindsay Levine and Philip V. Bohlman, eds.). 2016. Ethnomusicology Forum, 25(3): 380-383

Press and Media

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


‘Hearing and Seeing Music in Early Twentieth Century Colonial Algeria’. Creative and Artistic Encounters in the Western Mediterranean Conference. University of Aberdeen, 5-7 September 2022.

‘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)                                                                                                       

Teaching and Supervisions


Introduction to Ethnomusicology (Part IB); Global Popular Musics (Part II); undergraduate and MPhil supervision.

Other Professional Activities

Treasurer, British Forum for Ethnomusicology

Committee Member, Royal Anthropological Institute Ethnomusicology-Ethnochoreology Committee

Committee Member, Society for Ethnomusicology Global Online Chapter

Contact Details

01223 762765