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Dr Stephen Wilford

Dr Stephen Wilford

Research Associate (Past and Present Musical Encounters across the Strait of Gibraltar)

Junior Research Fellow, Wolfson College


Stephen Wilford is a Research Associate at the Faculty of Music, University of Cambridge and 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 focussing 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. He has a strong interest in the Arab-Andalusi traditions of Algeria, in both colonial and postcolonial contexts. His research is concerned with ideas of collective identity, cultural memory, diaspora and transnational flows of music. He is particularly interested in the role of technologies in the production and circulation of music among composers, performers and listeners, and the connections that these form between North Africa and Europe.

His current research is formed of three strands: the role of music in colonial and postcolonial Algeria, with a focus upon the dialogues between Arab-Andalusi and Western Art musics; the practices of contemporary Arab-Andalusi musicians and ensembles within transnational contexts; and the development of Franco-Algerian hip hop since the 1990s.

He was an Early Career Research Fellow of the Institute of Musical Research (2016-17), and is currently a member of both the national committee of the British Forum for Ethnomusicology and the ethnomusicology committee of the Royal Anthropological Institute.

Research Interests

Algerian music and culture; music and diaspora; music and technology; ethnographic film 

Other Professional Activities

British Forum for Ethnomusicology Committee Member

Royal Anthropological Institute Ethnomusicology Committee Member

Key Publications

Journal Articles

‘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



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.