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Christopher Ballengee

Dr. Christopher L. Ballengee teaches courses in world music, popular music, music history, and music and gender. Dr. Ballengee holds a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of Florida, master of music in ethnomusicology from Bowling Green State University, and a B.A. in music from Lenoir-Rhyne University. Dr. Ballengee’s wide-ranging research interests include music of the Caribbean, world music pedagogy, online and hybrid teaching methods, theater sound design, and ethnographic film.

His scholarly work in ethnomusicology has centered on the music of Trinidad and Tobago, especially that of the Indian diaspora. His dissertation, From Indian to Indo-Creole: Tassa Drumming, Creolization, and Indo-Caribbean Nationalism in Trinidad and Tobago, is the first large-scale study of tassa drumming that highlights the organology, repertoire, and socio-cultural impact of tassa performance. Dr. Ballengee’s research on tassa has been presented at numerous regional, national, and international conferences. His experience as a percussionist encompasses a variety of Western and non-Western traditions including Trinidadian tassa, Guatemalan marimba, Balinese gamelan, Cuban rumba, Brazilian samba, and Mande and Ewe drumming.

Dr. Ballengee formerly served as an instructor in World Music at the University of Florida and as instructor in music and technical theatre at Santa Fe College, where he also worked as a live sound engineer and theatrical sound designer.

Recent and forthcoming publications:

Sweet Tassa: Music and Tradition of the Indo-Caribbean Diaspora. DVD and streaming video. 60 min. Forthcoming.

“Steel Orchestras and Tassa Bands: Identity, Multiculturalism, and the Potential of Co-National Instruments in Trinidad & Tobago,” in Orchestras in Global Perspective, edited by Tina K. Ramnarine. Forthcoming.

“An Ethnographic Video Project for the Music Classroom,” in The Music Documentary: Acid Rock to Electropop, edited by Benjamin Halligan, et al. Routledge, 2013.

Co-translator with Ben Hebblethwaite, et. al., Vodou Songs and Texts in Haitian Creole and English. Temple University Press, 2011.

“Co-National Instruments Steel Pan, Tassa, and Nationalism in Trinidad & Tobago,” in Sharing Cultures, edited by Sérgio Lira, et al. Barcelos, Portugal: Green Lines Institute for Sustainable Development, 2009.