David Racanelli

Picture of David Racanelli

Adjunct Assistant Professor of Music
Music and Art

EMAIL: dracanelli@bmcc.cuny.edu


Office Hours:


Between 2004 and 2016, I taught undergraduate/graduate courses in ethnomusicology, music history, music theory, musicianship, music education, and private/group guitar instruction (onsite and online) at Dowling College (where I was tenured and worked for 12 years before the school closed abruptly in June 2016), Queens College, and The New School, gaining extensive experience in curriculum and program development as well as administration.

Since 2016, I have taught as an Assistant Adjunct Professor at Adelphi University, CUNY Lehman College, and Manhattan Community College (BMCC), returning to The New School as a Part-Time Lecturer in Spring 2019.

In 2010, I earned a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the CUNY Graduate Center, writing my dissertation on Mande griot repertoire and performance practice in New York. I have presented conference papers and published works in the journals African Music (2011), Analytical Approaches to World Music (2012), Ethnomusicology (2014), Black Music Research Journal (2017), and in the SAGE Encyclopedia of Music and Culture (2019). Currently, I am working on an Anthology for the African Guitar: A Compendium of Musical Transcriptions, Analyses, and Historical Contextualization.

Lastly, I have worked as a teaching artist and ensemble director, performing at many venues including Lincoln Center, The East Islip Jazz Festival, The African-American Museum of Nassau County, Dowling College, Williams College, UMASS-Amherst, Adelphi University, Lehman College, The Rainbow Room, the Zinc Bar, Club Bonafide, Arlene’s Grocery, Farafina, Shrine, and Silvana (2006-Present). Most recently, I have begun collaborating with Leni Stern (Please see the link to her website http://www.lenistern.com). Lastly, (in 11/18) I recorded guitar and bass tracks for a film aimed at raising awareness of elephant poaching in the Congo.



CUNY Graduate Center
Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology (2003)
Dissertation: “Diasporic Jeliya in New York: A Study of Mande Griot Repertoire and Performance Practice”

Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College (CUNY)
B.A./M.A. in Music (1997)

American University
B.A. in History

Courses Taught

Research and Projects


2019. “Participant-Observation” in The Sage International Encyclopedia of Music and Culture, ed. Janet Sturman.
2019. “Praise Song” in The Sage International Encyclopedia of Music and Culture, ed. Janet Sturman.
2016. “Revisiting the Katanga Guitar Style(s) and Some Other Early African Guitar Idioms” Black Music Research Journal  36:1, 31-57.2
2014. “Guitar Playing and Representation in the Changing Locations of New York City’s African Music Scene.” Ethnomusicology, Vol. 58 No. 2., 278-313.2012.
2012. “Formulaic Variation Procedures in Mande Griot Guitar Playing and Improvisation,”Analytical Approaches to World Music, Vol. 2 No. 1 (http://www.aawmjournal.com/), 152-176.2011.
2011. “Diasporic Jeliya as a Collaborative Trade in New York City,”  African Music , Vol. 9 No. 1, 136-153.2011.
2011. Mother Water Speaking in Tongues
Conference Papers/Presentations
“Revisiting the Katanga Guitar Style(s) and the Origins of African Guitar Playing” Analytical Approaches to World Music, Saturday June 11, 2016. Also, I chaired the panel “Africa” in which this paper was presented.
“Concerning Improvisation and Composition in New York City’s African Music Scene” SEM/SIG Analysis of World Music meeting at SEM 2014 in Pittsburgh, November 14
“Formulaic Composition and Extended Variation in Mande Music”First International Conference on Analytical Approaches to World Music,UMASS-Amherst, February 20-21, 2010. Also I performed with Mande griots at this conference 
“The Tools of the Griot Trade in New York and Elsewhere”Africa Meets North America, UCLA, October 22-25, 2009
“Diasporic Jeliya in New York: An African Art in Transit
“Collaborative Acts: Confounding Expectations,” University of Calgary, May 4, 2009 MACSEM (Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology), University of Richmond, April 18, 2009 NECSEM (Northeast Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology),Yale, April 4, 2009

Honors, Awards and Affiliations

Additional Information

Website: https://davidracanelli.academia.edu/