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Foundation for Endangered Languages

FEL XIX - FEL NOLA, New Orleans, USA
7-10 October 2015
Report from the conference

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FEL’s nineteenth annual conference took place from 7th to 10th October 2015 on the beautiful campus of Tulane University, New Orleans. The conference was hosted by the Tunica-Biloxi Tribal Council and the University’s Anthropology Department.

The state of Louisiana is home to a number of endangered languages, and the state’s French-speaking heritage adds to the rich cultural mix. Four of the state’s indigenous groups gave a presentation on the last day of the conference: the Chitimacha, Koasati, Houma and Tunica tribes.

The conference theme ‘The Music of Endangered Languages’ was interpreted in a variety of ways by the participants. While all languages possess a kind of inherent music, vocal and instrumental musical practices add further layers to human communication and culture. Conference papers dealt with many threatened musical traditions from North America, Australia, Asia, and Europe.

Although the conference was largely about music, and not of music, participants couldn’t fail to notice the rich and proud musical heritage of New Orleans, particularly the French Quarter. After landing at Louis Armstrong International Airport, music never seems to be out of earshot!

FEL is grateful to Tulane University and the Tunica-Biloxi Tribe of Louisiana for making us all so welcome and for organizing our stay so superbly.

Chris Moseley

 

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