Joel Kroeker Master Of Ethnomusicology

Published: 2004-03-03
Winnipeg native Joel Kroeker approached popular music in a rather unusual manner, by interviewing Canadian singer – songwriters for his masters thesis. Kroeker holds a master degree in ethnomusicology from the University of Alberta. In other words he studied musical styles and cultures from all over the world. In using Canadian singer – songwriters for his thesis Kroeker said, "I treated them as an African tribe. I used all the techniques of ethnomusicology and then applied them to singer – songwriters as a tribal culture." Kroeker, who now makes his home in Vancouver, did more then study other musical cultures, he also plays a number of instruments. Besides the trumpet and guitar Kroeker plays the Lebanese oud – an eleven stringed lute, the Indian sitar – kind of a seven stringed bass guitar on steroids, and the Indian tabla – Indian bongos where one is made of wood and the other of metal. And Kroeker is also a member of the singer-songwriter tribe. Ironically many of the people Kroeker interviewed for his thesis were the same people who helped Kroeker to break into the music business. Kroeker's songs are dark and moody, but Kroeker, who was raised Mennonite, is a strong advocate of the anti-war movement and admits that he would love to write political pieces like fellow Canadian Bruce Cockburn. Kroeker says that since he is an unknown, people would not listen to him rant and rave.

Kroeker is spending much of March touring in Canada. The shy Kroeker kicks off the tour with a "coming out party" in Toronto and winds the tour up at home in Vancouver.

March 5 Toronto
March 10 Ottawa
March 16 Winnipeg
March 17 Saskatoon
March 18 Edmonton
March 19 Calgary
March 21 Victoria
March 22 Vancouver

Writer: Sherrill Fulghum

    Photo:KC Armstrong


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