Fulbright Music Faculty Teaches in France

by University Relations

L’Université Paris-Sorbonne invited Kimasi Browne, Ph.D., director of ethnomusicology and music research, to share his expertise with faculty and students. A Fulbright Specialist in American Studies Grant enabled Browne to devote 16 days in Paris last March in the company of some of France’s most gifted musicians and musicologists. During that time, he presented lectures to undergraduate and graduate students, led seminars, collaborated with colleagues, and facilitated workshops for university members and the community at large, offering insight into the rich history of gospel, soul, and northern soul music.

Browne lectured on several topics, discussing the differences between popular music and American ethnomusicology, presenting research and scholarly work in the field, and making connections between soul, Motown, and northern soul, an alternative genre with roots in northern England. Browne spent time with the university’s jazz ensemble members discussing how to incorporate gospel and soul music into their repertoire. He also spoke to electroacoustic music students on electronic process innovations made by Motown during the 1960s and ’70s.

The experience proved mutually beneficial. Catherine Rudent, Sorbonne music department chair, praised Browne’s valuable contributions to the university and sincere engagement with the students and faculty. The visit also satisfied Browne’s agenda to promote an understanding of American music genres and help students realize their potential to make individual contributions to the field of music. The opportunity provided for an important exchange of ideas and knowledge between two of the world’s most musically influential countries, and strengthened Azusa Pacific’s international reputation and leadership.

Beyond the scholarly interchange, the trip fulfilled another vital purpose. Prior to his journey overseas, Browne prayed, asking God what He had planned for him and those he would encounter in France. “Encourage them,” God told him. As Browne concluded his time at the Sorbonne, he received feedback from multiple sources through emails and personal encounters. Among them, eight students and four professors specifically thanked him for his encouragement. For Browne, this sabbatical experience proved to be academically and spiritually “triumphant.”

Originally published in the Fall '16 issue of APU Life. Download the PDF or view all issues.