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Council Student Candidate Bios
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Maya Cunningham

Maya Cunningham is an M.A. student in Ethnomusicology at the University of Maryland, College Park. She holds a B.M. and M.A. in Jazz Studies. Her research interests are in traditional African American and Southern African music and national identity. She received a 2017 Fulbright fellowship to Botswana, has twice received a National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Scholar fellowship, and was awarded fellowships to conduct research in both Ghana and India. She is former Program Director for the Roberta Flack School of Music and Little Lights Arts. Cunningham has been a proud member of the Society for Ethnomusicology since 2015. She attended prior SEM conferences in Washington, DC, and Denver, and is a member of the African Music and Applied Ethnomusicology Sections. She is also an active member of the Gertrude Robinson Network of Black Ethnomusicologists and was appointed Communications Officer for the SEM 2018 Annual Meeting. Cunningham is dedicated to activist ethnomusicology that puts ethnomusicological research to service for marginalized children. She serves as Project Director of Ethnomusicology in Action, an initiative that uses research in Black music and culture to empower African American children with robust music education curricula that teaches them about their history, culture and traditional music.


Kyle DeCoste

Kyle DeCoste is a Ph.D. student in ethnomusicology at Columbia University. His research interests include the music of New Orleans, brass bands, Black feminist epistemologies, and intersectionality. His current research project explores various articulations of Black girl magic in U.S. popular music. He has been a member of the Society for Ethnomusicology since 2012 and have presented and chaired at annual meetings. It would be his pleasure to serve on the SEM Council and contribute to calls for justice and equity within the SEM.

Ashley Humphrey

Ashley Humphrey is a Ph.D. candidate in Ethnomusicology at the University of Pittsburgh. Her primary research focuses on race and gender in Brazilian capoeira and how people in the margins mobilize themselves through music and performance. Her dissertation in-progress, “Lift Up Your Skirt: Circulations of Afro-Brazilian Female Ideologies in Capoeira,” examines the historically hyper-masculine power structures in capoeira and how women of color create spaces through performance and activism while navigating the hyper-consumption of capoeira culture in the United States from the 1990s to present day. She has been an active member in the capoeira community since 2008, traveling across the United States and Brazil to participate in capoeira workshops and conferences. Ashley has presented her research on capoeira at both regional and national Society for Ethnomusicology conferences in addition to conferences in other disciplines including Anthropology, Latin American Studies, Africana Studies, Gender Studies, and Lusophone Cultural Studies. Her service to SEM includes the “Music and Labor” Pre-conference Abstract Committee in Pittsburgh (2014) as well as serving on the regional Midwest SEM Welcoming Committee, Bowling Green, OH (2011). Her other research interests include: ethnographic field methods, decolonizing ethnomusicology, virtual ethnography, and the African diasporic exchange between the United States and Brazil.


Krystal Klingenberg

Krystal Klingenberg is a Ph.D. Candidate and sixth year student in Ethnomusicology at Harvard University. She received her B.A. in Anthropology and African Studies from Princeton University. Her in-process dissertation is on the creation and distribution of Ugandan popular music, at home in Uganda and abroad. It tackles questions of national identity in music, the status of copyright in Uganda today, and the growth of the Ugandan music industry. Krystal’s interests include African music, African American music, popular music, digital media, pedagogy, and social justice. She is enthusiastic about her students and is deeply invested in accurate portrayals of modern Africa. Service of those two domains energizes her daily. Krystal is also passionate about issues of diversity and the pipeline and to that end started an affinity group for the Harvard Music Department graduate students of color: The Southern Pian Society, named for Eileen Southern and Rulan Pian. A steadfast attendee of the Society for Ethnomusicology Annual Meeting, Krystal is a member of African Music Section and the Crossroads Section on Diversity and Difference. She serves as secretary for the Gertrude Robinson Networking Group, the black ethnomusicologists organization within SEM.


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