Lectures and conferences

Conference for music teachers organised by Philarmonie de Paris. 22/03/2017 9h30-12h30, lycée Hoche, Versailles.

avec Estelle Amy de la Bretèque (sur « la musicalité des émotions »)

Université de Lausanne (Institut des sciences sociales / laboratoire Théma). 27/05/2016, 18:00

Conférence suivie d’une performance musicale participative.

For the seminar Geste, instrument de musique, technologie, coordinated by Baptiste Bacot and Nicolas Donin, EHESS (Raspail), 11/12/2015 15h-17h, salle 11.

Two educational conferences in secondary high schools (Champs sur Marne and St Denis), 21 and 25 / 09 / 2015.

These conferences about Roma musicians in Romania and Bulgaria were meant as an introduction for the concerts of Mahala Rai Banda and Ivo Papassov at the Festival d’Île de France 2015 edition.

With Patrick Williams and Martin Oliveira. The conference will be held on 25/11/2015 at Musée du Quai Branly.

Radio program on France Musique. Starting 19h on Sunday. Podcast available later here.


Invited conference for the cycle "Rencontres du troisième type" organized by the "Association des Étudiants en Ethnologie et Anthropologie de Nanterre". University Paris Ouest Nanterre room E105, 16 mai, 16h.


Invited lecture at the Institute for ethnomusicology INET-MD, Lisbon, 24/10/2013.

"I'm the big boss, clever and smart, rich like an emperor,  women at my feet, my enemies die of jealousy!" In Romania, manele songs have been popular ever since the fall of the communist regime. They are sung by Roma professional musicians, mainly for non-Roma audiences. Manele lyrics often portray in a positive light debatable attitudes such as quick money making, lust and sensuality, violence or mafia arrangements. Romanian listeners tend to locate their musical features either towards "the East" or towards "the Gypsies". Not surprisingly, manele are rejected (in often violent terms) by a significant part of Romania's public opinion. The genre enjoys nevertheless a large and popular audience. It has been a steady feature of Romanian cultural landscape for more than twenty years now. An ethnographic approach reveals that manele lovers often have ambiguous relations with the literal contents of the songs. (Self-)irony and (self-)parody seem to play an important role in their interactions during live manele performances. I will illustrate this with examples based on my fieldwork in Bucharest in 2009-2010. The discussion will focus on the recognition of irony and its effects. Experiments in cognitive science and psycholinguistics have led to various descriptions of its inner workings. This kind of research may also be useful to understand how the music can "open up" verbal and non-verbal interactions for humorous, "light" and ironic understandings.

Invited lecture at the music conservatory of Cluj-Napoca (Romania), 18/10/2013.

Manelele sunt un gen muzical totodată popular şi controversat. Sunt asociate cu lucruri "imorale" printre care sensualitatea, îmbogătăţirea dubioasă, mândria, şmecheria sau violenţa. Sunt asociate şi cu populaţia Romă (cu toate că datele disponibile tind să infirme această ipoteză). Aceste legături par deseori evidente în cuvintele cântecelor şi în iconografia înregistrărilor comercializate.  Aspectele sonore ale manelelor şi interacţiile ascultătorilor la petreceri sunt însă rareori luate în considerare de comentatori.

Analiza propusă aici porneşte de la această perspectivă inversă.  Voi prezenta observaţii "de teren" făcute în Bucureşti în anii 2009-10, înspecial la cântările de manele "pe viu" (petreceri, restaurante, cluburi). Descrierea modurilor de cântare şi de interacţie va aduce în discuţie noţiunile de (auto-)ironie şi de libertate. Acestea sunt factori importanţi în aprecierea amatorilor de manele. Pe lângă plăcerea muzicală "imediată" trăită de ascultători, ele cristalizează şi o problematică mai largă, legată de incertitudinile care parcurg societatea română în urma schimbării de regim politic şi economic.


Guest lecture at the Centre for Systematic Musicology, Karl Franzens Universität, Graz. 19/03/2013.

Most models of musical interaction regard music as a way of circulating information amongst humans. But ethnographic data from various parts of the world (including Europe) indicates that listeners' experience of music frequently involves non-human agencies. These agents may be gods, spirits or animals, but also a range of sonic characters whose ontological status is less clear: entities which "move", "shine", have "color" or “taste”, display "moral" attributes, and sometimes "dialogue" with one another. How should such intuitions be considered in musical analysis? Are they metaphors, poetic verbalizations, or core phenomena which constitute musical experience? After outlining a few ethnographic examples, I will present a tentative theoretical approach.



Keynote paper at the IX edition of the Forum Romania. Vienna University / Austrian Academy of Sciences. 6-9 October 2011.


In Romania, manele have been a popular and controversial musical genre for the past 20 years. They are linked to several "immoral" things like sensuality, quick money making, pride, ambition and violence. Some Romanians also link them to low education status and Gypsy ethnicity (although most manele lovers are ethnic Romanians). Such arguments are typically based on the lyrics of the songs and on the iconography of recorded media. They often ignore the musical aspects and the pragmatic features of live manele performances.

This paper will start from the reverse perspective, focusing on the accompaniment of the voice, the sound effects, and the instrumental choruses. I will consider primarily performances by professional musicians in live settings, based on fieldwork in Bucharest during 2009-10. In such events, the music is open to various distributions of social agency. These are continually reshaped through interactions between audiences and musicians. I will describe a particular intersection of power, freedom and (self-)irony, which seems to be a key feature in many manele performances.

Invited lecture at the seminar "Modélisation des savoirs musicaux relevant de l'oralité", organised by March Chemillier at the E.H.E.S.S., Paris.

This lecture was filmed and the videos are available on the seminar's web page.

Opening conference of the congress of the Romanian Society for Cultural Anthropology (SACR), Bucharest.


În România, lăutarii formează o categorie distinctă de muzicieni. De obicei sunt de origine romă şi prestează la cerere în cadrul unor evenimente ca nunţi, botezuri şi târguri politice. Lăutarii autendinţa să accentueze latura profesională a activităţii lor, de multe ori prezentând-o ca pe unmeşteşug care naşte emoţii. A fi “deştept”, “cioran” sau “şmecher” sunt concepte esenţiale înmodul lor de a înţelege eficacitatea muzicii. Extinzându-se de la atitudini globale până la trăsături muzicale specifice, aceste noţiuni conturează o paradigmă unde muzica este mai mult o“tehnologie de incântare” decât o formă de comunicare. Pornind de la date etnografice, voiîncerca să precizez felul în care lăutarii înţeleg relaţia între inteligenţă, plăcere şi emoţii.

Musée du Quai Branly, salon de lecture Jacques Kerchache.

Muzeul Ţăranului Român, Bucharest, 21/04/10.

Cité de la musique (Paris). Three conferences on Gypsy music for the general public: virtuoso brass bands from Moldavia / new amplified musics / portrait of a Gypsy singer. 24/11, 1/12, 8/12.

Faculty of Humanities of the Charles University, Prague. Two-day workshop on fieldwork interactions in ethnomusicological research.

Ethnography museum of Geneve (Switzerland).


Comment la morale influence-t-elle les discours sur le folklore? Où passe la démarcation entre variation, raffinement et perversion? Pourquoi les paysans roumains se laissent-ils émouvoir par des musiciens tsiganes qu'ils ne cessent pourtant de critiquer? Ce sont quelques questions auxquelles Victor A. Stoichita, anthropologue, tentera de répondre, à partir des travaux de Constantin Brailoiu (l'un des premiers ethnomusicologues roumains) et d'observations ethnographiques récentes.

Faculty of Humanities of the Charles University, Prague. Two-day workshop on the visualisation of musical structures.

University Paris VIII (seven lectures between 2007 and 2008).

University Paul Valéry, Montpellier.

University Paul Valéry, Montpellier

University Paul Valéry, Montpellier.

Series of lectures on this topic at the Universities of Tours (2001, 2002), Lille (2002), Saint-Denis (2003). Part of the students' training for the CAPES (Teacher's diploma).