Michael Veal

Michael Veal's picture
Henry L. and Lucy G Moses Prof Music Dept; Prof Afr Am Studies, American Studies
469 College St, New Haven, CT 06511-6609

B.M. Berklee College of Music (Jazz Composition and Arranging); 1986
M.A. Wesleyan University (Ethnomusicology); 1994 
Ph.D Wesleyan University (Ethnomusicology); 2001

Michael E. Veal has been a member of the Yale faculty since 1998. Before coming to Yale, he taught at Mount Holyoke College (1996 – 1998) and New York University (1997-1998). A self-described “musical pan-Africanist,” Veal’s work has typically addressed musical topics within the black Atlantic cultural sphere of Africa and the African diaspora. His 2000 biography of the Nigerian musician Fela Anikulapo-Kuti uses the life and music of this influential African musician to explore themes of African post-coloniality, the political uses of music in Africa, and musical and cultural interchange between cultures of Africa and the African diaspora. His documentation of the “Afrobeat” genre continued with the 2013 co-authored autobiography Tony Allen: Master Drummer of Afrobeat. Professor Veal’s 2007 book Dub: Soundscapes and Shattered Songs in Jamaican Reggae 2007 examines the ways in which the studio-based innovations of Jamaican recording engineers during the 1970s transformed the structure and concept of the post-WWII popular song, and examines sound technology as a medium for the articulation of spiritual, historical and political themes. His forthcoming book Living Space surveys under-documented periods in the careers of John Coltrane and Miles Davis, and draws on the discourses of digital architecture and experimental photography in order to suggest new directions for jazz analysis and interpretation. Professor Veal is also the leader of the musical groups Michael Veal & Aqua Ife and Michael Veal’s Armillary Sphere.

Undergraduate courses that Professor Veal has taught have included: Music Cultures of the World; Theory & Practice of Ethnomusicology; Traditional and Contemporary Musics of Sub-Saharan Africa; Jazz in Transition 1960 -2020; Jazz & Architecture; Music and the Post-Colonial and Popular Music: The Experimental Tradition. Graduate courses have included: Music in Africa; The Recording Studio in Sonic and Cultural Perspective; Topics in Jazz Studies; Recalibrating the Ethnographic Radar (A History of Ethnographic Recording), African Counterpoint, Musical Afro-Futurisms, and Proseminar in Ethnomusicology.

Selected Publications: 
Fela: The Life and Times of an African Musical Icon (Temple University Press, 2000)

Dub: Soundscapes and Shattered Songs in Jamaican Reggae (Wesleyan University Press, 2007)

Tony Allen: Master Drummer of Afrobeat (Duke University Press, 2013)

The Sublime Frequencies Companion (co-edited with E. Tammy Kim) (Wesleyan University Press, 2015)

Living Space: John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Free Jazz, from Analog to Digital (forthcoming 2024)

Appointment Type: 
Graduate faculty
Undergraduate faculty