Skip to main content



The project aims to investigate the role of music and songs in shaping and chronicle cultural encounters within the context of the second Italo-Ethiopian war, here intended as a period of five years including both the invasion of Ethiopia and its military occupation (1936-1941). Therefore, collections of sound archives and ethnographies from that period will be used as prompt to implement a participative research on the role of these cultural productions in the development of performances, personal and collective expressions, social changes. As part of the fascist project of occupation, the Italian military and political leaders as well as scholars and civilians based in Ethiopia showed interest in Ethiopian culture, and specifically in local music. Like many aspects of Italian colonialism, such interest was twofold. On the one hand, Italians understood that music was a form of expression that escaped their control, therefore they persecuted and killed many azmari musicians and other musicians, in particular in 1937, within the infamous reprisal. On the other hand, both musical instruments and sounds were collected. In particular, sound records in the form of 78rpm vinyls were produced, intended for both institutional archive in Italy and commercial distribution. As a result, a significant archive of records as well as an official monography on Ethiopian music in Italian were released within a short period of time. The project aims to deeply analyse the sound collections and the published book in order to: 1) reconstruct both the historical and cultural background in which the collections emerged; 2) compare the material with later features of cultural production; 3) develop a project of restitution of the collections, based on the concept of dignity restitutions, that can make it relevant for local communities.


Net EU contribution
€ 269 412,96
Innrain 52
6020 Innsbruck

See on map

Westösterreich Tirol Innsbruck
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Non-EU contribution
No data