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Professor Kevin Dawe

Professor of Music


Kevin Dawe is an ethnomusicologist who researches a wide range of musical genres and styles, music industries and musical infrastructures around the world by working closely with musicians, bands, instrument makers, teachers, artist and label managers, retailers, and creative, cultural and community organisations.

I joined the School of Music and Fine Art at Kent as Head of School and Professor of Music in early November 2013 (after 12 years at the University of Leeds where I was Professor of Ethnomusicology). I am also a member of the University of Kent’s Centre for Ethnographic Research. My own ethnographic field research includes time spent in Greece, Turkey, Spain, Canada, USA, Papua New Guinea, and East and West Africa. My research is orientated towards the anthropology of sound and music, musical instrument and material culture studies, popular music and music industry studies, ecomusicology and environmental studies, music education, and community and wellbeing projects. My first monograph (2007) focused on bandleaders and entrepreneurship within a Greek island music industry and infrastructure in relation to other performing arts and crafts. My second monograph (2010) was a cross-cultural and contemporary study of the guitar.

Current research publication and public engagement projects include:

  • a co-edited volume on the anthropology of music and dance;
  • a book chapter on the work of an ‘environmental composer’ based in Canada;
  • two book chapters arising out of my research into the history, material culture, ethnography, performance and pedagogy of the guitar, mandolin family and fiddles, especially the Eastern Mediterranean area;
  • a guitar-based adult education/music in the community project working with Kent County Council;
  • involvement in and facilitation of the University of Kent’s Music, Health and Wellbeing Research Group.

I am on sabbatical for the 2016-17 academic year.

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  • Allen, A; Dawe KN (2015) Current Directions in Ecomusicology (Edited collection). Routledge.
  • Dawe KN (2013) Guitar Ethnographies: Performance, Technology and Material Culture (Edited Collection, Special Issue of Ethnomusicology Forum). Taylor and Francis/Routledge.
  • Dawe KN (2010) The New Guitarscape in Critical Theory, Cultural Practice and Musical Performance (Single-Authored Book). Ashgate.
  • Dawe KN (2007) Music and Musicians in Crete: Performance and Ethnography in a Mediterranean Island Society (Single-Authored Book). Europea. Scarecrow Press.
  • Cooper DG; Dawe KN (2005) The Mediterranean in Music: Critical Perspectives, Common Concerns, and Cultural Differences (Edited Collection). Scarecrow Press.
  • Dawe KN (2004) Island Musics (Edited Collection). Berg Publishers.
  • Bennett A; Dawe KN (2001) Guitar Cultures (Edited Collection). Berg Publishers.

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Journal Articles

  • Dawe KN (2013) “Guitar Ethnographies: Performance, Technology and Material Culture”, Ethnomusicology Forum Dawe K (eds.). 22.1
  • Dawe KN; Eroğlu S (2013) “The Guitar in Turkey: Erkan Oğur and the Istanbul Guitarscape”, Ethnomusicology Forum Dawe K (eds.). 22.1
  • Dawe KN (2006) “Arcadia Calling: Cretan Music and the Popular Imagination”, Journal of Intercultural Studies. Volume 28.2: 227-236.
  • Dawe KN (2005) “Symbolic and Social Transformation in the Lute Cultures of Crete: Music, technology, and the body in a Mediterranean society”, Yearbook for Traditional Music (UCLA). 37: 58-68.
  • Dawe KN (2003) “Lyres and the Body Politic: Studying Musical Instruments in Crete”, Popular Music and Society. 26.3: 263-283.
  • Dawe KN (2001) “People, Objects, Meaning: Recent work on the study and collection of musical instruments”, Galpin Society Journal. 54: 219-232.
  • Dawe KN (2000) “Roots Music in the Global Village: Cretan ways of dealing with the world at large”, The World of Music. 42.3: 47-66.
  • Dawe KN (1999) “Minotaurs or Musonauts?: Cretan music and ‘world music’”, Popular Music. 18: 209-225.
  • Dawe KN (1998) “Bandleaders in Crete: Musicians and entrepreneurs in a Greek island economy”, British Journal of Ethnomusicology. 7: 23-44.
  • Dawe KN (1996) “The Engendered Lyra: Music, poetry and manhood in Crete”, British Journal of Ethnomusicology1996. 5: 93-112.



  • Dawe KN (2015) “Materials Matter: Towards a Political Ecology of Musical Instrument Making.” In:Current Directions in Ecomusicology, Aaron Allen & Kevin Dawe (eds), Routledge.
  • Dawe KN; Papadatos J (2015) “From the Parea to the Pop Charts: Negotiating Cretan Musical Tradition through the Work of Alexandros Papadakis.” In: Tragaki D (ed.) Greek Popular Music. Global Popular Music Series. Routledge.
  • Dawe KN (2015) “The Worlds of Popular Music: Ethnomusicological Approaches.” In: Bennett A; Waksman, S (eds.) Sage Handbook to Popular Music. Sage.
  • Dawe KN (2013) “The Cretan Lyra in Performance”, In: Cuneyd Orhon and the Kemence. State Conservatory of Music, Istanbul Technical University/Porte Akademik.
  • Dawe KN (2011) “Foreword”, In: Island Songs: A Global Repertoire. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow.
  • Dawe KN (2011) “The Cultural Study of Musical Instruments”, In: Middleton R; Herbert T; Clayton M (eds.) The Cultural Study of Music.
  • Dawe KN (2009) “The Woven World: The Mainstream and the Alternative in Greek Popular Music”, In: Scott DB (eds.) Ashgate Research Companion in Popular Musicology. Ashgate.
  • Dawe KN (2007) “Regional Voices in a National Soundscape: Balkan music and dance in Greece”, In: Buchanan D (eds.) Balkan Popular Culture and the Ottoman Ecumene. Scarecrow. 175-190
  • Dawe KN (2005) “Performance on a Mediterranean Theme: Musicians and Masculinity in Crete”, In: Cooper D; Dawe K (eds.) The Mediterranean in Music: Critical Perspectives, Common Concerns, Cultural Differences.. Scarecrow Press.
  • Dawe KN (2004) “Island Musicians: Making a Living from Music in Crete”, In: Dawe K (eds.) Island Musics. Berg Publishers.
  • Cooper DG; Dawe KN (2003) “Introduction”, In: Cooper D; Dawe K (eds.) The Mediterranean in Music: Critical Perspectives, Common Concerns, Cultural Differences.. Scarecrow Press. xiii-xvi
  • Dawe KN (2003) “'Power Geometry' in Motion: Space, place and gender in the lyra music of Crete”, In: Whiteley S; Bennett A; Hawkins S (eds.) Music, Space and Place: Popular Music and Cultural Identity. Ashgate. 55-65
  • Dawe KN (2002) “The cultural study of musical instruments”, In: Clayton M; Herbert T; Middleton R (eds.) The Cultural Study of Music: A Critical Introduction. Routledge (London).
  • Dawe KN (2002) “Between East and West: Contemporary grooves in Greek popular music (c. 1990-2000)”, In: Plastino G (eds.) Mediterranean Mosaic: Popular Music and Global Sounds in the Mediterranean Area. Routledge/Garland (New York).
  • Dawe KN (2001) “Handmade in Spain: the culture of guitar making”, In: Bennett A; Dawe K (eds.) Guitar Cultures. Berg. 63-87



  • Dawe KN (2001) Sounds of Paradise: Clans, Conflict and the Music of Pai Minai, Papua New Guinea (BBC documentary). BBC:
  • Dawe KN (2001) How to be a Rock God: Heavy Metal Music and Classical Virtuosity (BBC documentary).
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External appointments

  • Member of the Ethnomusicology Committee, Royal Anthropological Institute, London
  • Editorial Board Member, Ecomusicology Newsletter
  • Editorial Board Member, Journal of World Popular Music (Equinox)
  • Royal Musicological Association Conference Programme Committee (2013-14)
  • Editorial Advisory Board Member, Music, Nature, Place series, Indiana University Press
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“Ethnomusicology; the anthropology of sound and music; ecomusicology and acoustic ecology; music and wellbeing. My most recent field research has been in Turkey and the UK. But I have also conducted field research in Crete/Greece, Spain, and less extensively in parts of Africa and Papua New Guinea. My current research considers musical instrument making and manufacture in global perspective; with a focus on the guitar, the project has four main strands: cultural significance, customisation and musical localisation; use of natural resources/materials/renewable energies; community development; design in relation to health and disability.”  - Professor Kevin Dawe

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Kevin’s more recent PhD students have completed their theses on a wide range of subjects, including the alternative rock band REM, the role of audio-engineers in Jamaican popular music, women musicians in Iran, film music in Mongolia, and the soundscape of Toronto's subway, the recordings of Vasilis Tsitsanis , notions of authenticity in fado, the role of the parea in the Cretan lyra music tradition, and transculturative processes and networks involved in the construction of British flamenco.

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Last Updated: 10/08/2017