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Welcome to 
Ethnographic Songwriting

Cultural Anthropologist, Singer-Songwriter and multilingual speaker Kristina Jacobsen blogs on the boundaries and connections between songwriting, ethnography and the songwriting life.

Listen to my songs, here: 


Piacere/Fint å treffe deg/Yá'áát'ééh/Saludi!

Kristina Jacobsen is an ethnographer, singer-songwriter, and cultural anthropologist. An Associate professor of Ethnomusicology with a secondary appointment in Anthropology (Ethnology) at the University of New Mexico, her research focuses on language reclamation, expressive culture, popular music, and arts-based research methodologies. Her first book, The Sound of Navajo Country: Music, Language and Diné Belonging (UNC Press, 2017), is based on 2 ½ years of singing and playing lapsteel guitar with Navajo (Diné) country western bands on the Navajo Nation and was the winner of the 2018 IASPM-US Woody Guthrie Award for most outstanding book on popular music. Jacobsen is a touring singer-songwriter, fronts the all-female honky-tonk band Merlettes, and is the founder and co-facilitator of the UNM Honky-Tonk Ensemble. Supported by the US-Italy Fulbright Commission and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, she recently completed one year of ethnographic fieldwork on the Mediterranean island of Sardinia for the project, “Sing Me Back Home: Ethnographic Songwriting and Sardinian Language Reclamation in Italy.” While in Sardinia, she also recorded an album (her fourth) of original songs collaboratively written with Sardinian songwriters and language activists, House on Swallow Street with the Sardinian Label, Talk About Records (release date 2/15/21). She also founded and facilitates two culturally immersive songwriting intensives on the Navajo Nation and, beginning in 2022, in Sardinia. 

Photo credit: Evy Toftegaard Nielsen

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