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Embodying Air Guitar with Sydney Hutchenson and Byrd McDaniel
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In this episode we talk with two scholars, Sydney Hutchinson and Byrd McDaniel, whose respective articles on competitive air guitar were recently published in the journal Ethnomusicology. Hutchinson, whose article, “Asian Fury: A Tale of Race, Rock, and Air Guitar” was published in the Fall 2016 issue of Ethnomusicology, explores themes of race, gender, and embodiment as it relates to individuals involved in elite air guitar competitions, specifically focusing on the way Asian American and female competitors have used air guitar as a platform for social and cultural critique. McDaniel, whose article “Out of Thin Air: Configurability, Choreography, and the Air Guitar World Championships” was published in the Fall 2017 issue of Ethnomusicology, examines how embodiment, media manipulation, and aesthetics function within the world of national and international air guitar competitions. We also interviewed Fatima Hoang, a competitive air guitarist, who in 2005 won the U.S. Air Guitar Championships under his stage name, the Rockness Monster.



Sydney Hutchinson is an Associate Professor of Music History and Cultures at Syracuse University. She has published several books and articles on topics pertaining to music, dance, and gender, especially relating to the traditions of the Dominican Republic, the US-Mexico border region, and salsa dancing.

Byrd McDaniel is a doctoral candidate in ethnomusicology at the Department of Music at Brown University. His article, “Air Apparent: Amplifying the History of Air Playing, Air Guitar, and Air Bands in the United States” is forthcoming from the journal, American Quarterly.



Special thanks to the Air Guitar World Championships and the musicians whose music was featured in this episode, including Michael Monroe, for his song, “TNT Diet,” funtwo, for his recording of “Canon Rock,” and Jud-Jud.

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