DR Graeme Counsel

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  • Honorary

Research expertise

  • African studies, cultural policy, ethnicity and identity (Mande diaspora, griots, West African musical traditions)
  • Cultural Anthropology (Cultural festivals, Arts and cultural policy, Nationalism and identity)
  • Ethnomusicology (African and Trans-Atlantic musics, World Music)
  • Sound archives (National and local archives)
Dr Graeme Counsel is a lecturer, subject coordinator and Honorary Fellow at the University of Melbourne. His research and publications examine the nexus of popular music and politics, drawing from the disciplines of ethnomusicology, cultural studies and history. A focus of his research is music, culture and society in Africa, and his research interests encompass trans-Atlantic and Asiatic cultures. Dr Counsel's post-doctoral fieldwork includes over two years in West Africa undertaking applied research projects. From 2008 to 2013 he received three Major Research Project Awards through the British Library's Endangered Archives Programme which enabled the collection, preservation and archiving of the complete catalogue of the Syliphone recording label, the flagship of the Guinean recording industry. The project was exhibited at the National Museum of Guinea and presented to the Ministry of Culture et Patrimonie and the Ministry of Communication. In recognition of his research and contribution to the preservation of national culture, the Guinean government awarded him their highest research honour, the gold medal of the Palme Academique en Or and a Diplome d'Honneur. His subsequent projects preserved, digitised and archived original studio recordings from Guinea's 1st Republic (1958-1984), held in the archives of Radio Television Guinea. Dr Counsel's archival collections are currently available at the Bibliotheque Nationale de Guinee, Radio Television Guinee, and online via the British Library Sounds website. Dr Counsel has presented his academic research in a wide variety of fora. He was invited to present his paper, Syliphone: The elephant that will not die. Guinean music on the Syliphone recording label, at the first international symposium on African popular music: Revisiter l'histoire des musiques modernes d'Afrique: Retour aux sources, held in Mali. He has presented papers for numerous African Studies conferences and delivered guest lectures at Australian univer sities and research institutes. In Africa he has conducted research with The National Council for Arts and Culture in The Gambia, The West African Research Center in Senegal, The Direction Nationale de la Culture in Mali, and the Ministries of Culture, Information, and Communication in Guinea. In addition to his publications Dr Counsel has annotated and compiled five double-volume compact discs of Guinean music and contributed to several CD releases. Folk Roots magazine named his compilation, Authenticite - The Syliphone years. Guinea's Orchestres Nationaux and Federaux 1965-1980, the best packaged album of the year. He has also compiled discographies of the shellac and vinyl recording output of the nations of Guinea, Mali, The Gambia, Burkina Faso, Guinea Bissau and Mauritania, and constructed discographies of leading West African recording labels. In Australia he has presented African music programmes on public radio for several years and has provided commentary for the BBC, ABC, SBS, and African television, radio and print media.

Subject Areas

  • Musicology and Ethnomusicology
  • Archival, Repository and Related Studies
  • Music
  • Arts and Cultural Policy
  • Understanding Africa's Past

Available for supervision

My research interests cover the music, culture and politics of Africa, with particular reference to West Africa. Trans-Atlantic music styles (jazz, blues, reggae, Cuban music, etc) are also research areas, with cultural policy, nationalism and identity central discourses.

Contact Details

Phone Number: 83448323
email: counselg@unimelb.edu.au


Authored Research Books

COUNSEL G (2009), Mande popular music and cultural policies in West Africa: Griots and government policy since independence, VDM Verlag

Journal Articles Refereed

COUNSEL G (2010), Music for a coup: “Armée Guinéenne”. An Overview of Guinea's recent political turmoil, Australasian Review of African Studies, Vol 31, Issue 2
COUNSEL G (2009), Digitising and archiving Syliphone recordings in Guinea, Australasian Review of African Studies, Vol 30, Issue 1
COUNSEL G (2009), Archival and research resources in Conakry, Guinea, History in Africa: An annual journal of method
COUNSEL G (2004), Popular music and politics in Sékou Touré’s Guinea, Australasian Review of African Studies, Vol 26, Issue 1
COUNSEL G (2004), Popular Music and Politics in Sékou Touré's Guinea, Australasian Review of African Studies, Vol 26, Issue 1

Major Reference Works

COUNSEL G (2006), Syliphone records, World Music. Volume 1 - Africa & Middle East

Authored Books Other

COUNSEL G (2005), Directory of Africanists in Australasia and the Pacific

Research Book Chapters

COUNSEL G (2015), Music for a revolution: The sound archives of Radio Télévision Guinée. In KOMINKO M (Eds.), From Dust to Digital: Ten years of the Endangered Archives Programme (ISBN:9781783740628)
COUNSEL G (2004), Music in Guinea’s first republic. In JANSEN (Eds.), Mande-Manding. Background Reading for Ethnographic Research in the Region South of Bamako, Leiden University Press
COUNSEL G (2004), The return of Mali’s national arts festival. , Mande-Manding. Background Reading for Ethnographic Research in the Region South of Bamako, Leiden University Press

Journal Articles Unrefereed

COUNSEL G (2014), Diplomacy pays
COUNSEL G (2013), Rescuing the reels, Folk Roots
COUNSEL G (2012), Conserving the Archives of a National Broadcaster in Africa, Context, Vol 37, Issue 2012
COUNSEL G (2009), Saving Africa's endangered archives, Plane Tree, Vol 15, Issue 2
COUNSEL G (2003), Cultural Policy and Music in Mali, Vol 43, Issue 4
COUNSEL G (2002), Regionalisation, Folk Roots
COUNSEL G (2001), Golden Guinea, Folk Roots

Journal Articles Unrefereed Letters or Notes

COUNSEL G (2011), Stirring the pot: A history of African cuisine, by Peter McCann, Vol 32, Issue 1
COUNSEL G (2011), Burkina Faso musiques: Modern Voltaïques and Musiques modernes et traditionnelles du Mali, by Florent Mazzoleni, Vol 33, Issue 1
COUNSEL G (2008), Ouidah. The social history of a West African slaving 'port'. 1727-1892, by Robin Law
COUNSEL G (2006), Conflict and collusion in Sierra Leone, by David Keen
COUNSEL G (2005), Sunjata. A West African Epic of the Mandes People, by David C. Conrad, Vol 27, Issue 1
COUNSEL G (2004), Eurafricans in Western Africa. Commerce, social status, gender, and religious oberservance from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century, by George E. Brooks, Vol 26, Issue 2

Full Written Papers Refereed

COUNSEL G (2014), The music archives of Guinea. Nationalism and its representation under Sékou Touré., African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific - AFSAAP 36th Annual Conference, African Studies Association of Australasia and the Pacific

Book Chapters Other

COUNSEL G (2004), Music in Guinea's First Republic. In JANSEN J (Eds.), Mande-manding : Background Reading for Ethnographic Research in the Region South of Bamako (Mali)
COUNSEL G (2004), The Return of Mali's National Arts Festival. In JANSEN J (Eds.), Mande-manding : Background Reading for Ethnographic Research in the Region South of Bamako (Mali)

Education and Training

  • Graduate Certificate in University Teaching GCUT , University of Melbourne, 2015
  • Doctor of Philosophy PhD , University of Melbourne, 2007
  • Master of Music MMus , University of Melbourne, 2000
  • Bachelor of Arts with Honours BA (Hons) , Monash University, 1997

Awards and honours

  • Diplome d'Honneur. Ministere de la Culture des Arts et Loisirs, Republique de Guinee, 2008
  • Australian Postgraduate Award, 2003
  • Melbourne Abroad Postgraduate Travelling Scholarship, 2001
  • Ernst Morawetz Prize, 1996
Major Research Project Award. Endangered Archives Programme, British Library. 2012-2013.

Major Research Project Award. Endangered Archives Programme, British Library. 2009.

Major Research Project Award. Endangered Archives Programme, British Library. 2008.