Sound structure as political structure in the European folk festival orchestra La Banda Europa

Simon McKerrell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter fcouses on the various performances of La Banda Europa, which was an ensemble formed in 2007/2008 to perform complex, new folk–orchestral compositions, drawing on some of the well-established European folk musics, including the Scottish bagpipes, Swedish nyckelharpa, French hurdy gurdy, Austrian accordion, Galician gaita and Armenian duduk traditions. European folk musics are diverse and have been strongly tied to national and regional politics for at least 200 years. However, attempts to construct pan-European musical identities rest upon the notion of bringing forward new, original compositions based upon these numerous musical identities and often occur in the context of large-scale festival commissions. The music of La Banda Europa however was not politically motivated in its genesis; it grew initially from Jim Sutherland’s artistic curiosity and interest in the cultural heritage of different folk traditions from around Europe. One of the central concerns of ethnomusicology has been the relations between sound structure and social structure.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHeritage and Festivals in Europe: Performing Identities
EditorsUllrich Kockel, Cristina Clopot, Baiba Tjarve, Máiréad Nic Craith
Number of pages13
ISBN (Electronic)9780429202964
ISBN (Print)9780367186760
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2019

Publication series

NameCritical Heritages of Europe


  • European folk musics
  • musical identities
  • sound structure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities(all)


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