European Popular Musics

Crowd at a concert - European Popular Musics Research Group, University of Leeds

Our research

Our group endeavours to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and ideas between our own disciplines and musicology, the social sciences and the humanities, and to disseminate the results of such collaboration in print and at public events. We also wish to engage with those directly involved in the production and consumption of music, not only the artists themselves but also the media and the music industry.

Some of the issues that we seek to open up to debate are:

  • The relationships between Anglophone (including Anglo-American) and continental musical spaces;
  • National and transnational performance and reception;
  • Song as musical, verbal and performative text;
  • Geographical, ethnic, gender and sexual identities;
  • Dialogues with other cultural forms such as cinema and literature;
  • Diasporic musics in Europe.

Visit our projects for more information.

Academic convenors

Current events

'Transnational Musical Exchange' is the broad topic of our second annual online seminar series. Each seminar will be held on the date indicated at 5pm UK time and will be held via Zoom. To attend, please email or for the link prior to each talk, or to ask to be added to our mailing list.

  • Wednesday 20 October: Welcome back and research catch-up
  • Wednesday 17 November: Jacopo Tomatis (University of Torino), 'A cultural (and transnational) history of the canzone all'italiana'.
  • Wednesday 15 December: Samuel Llano (University of Manchester), 'Bedouins and Peasants: North African music, the folklore ideology and the European imagination'
  • Wednesday 19 January: Christina Richter-Ibáñez (University of Tübingen), 'Latin American songs transferred to the European stage: the case of La Foule'.
  • Wednesday 16 February: to be confirmed
  • Wednesday 16 March: Céline Pruvost (University of Picardie), title to be confirmed
  • Wednesday 20 April: to be confirmed
  • Wednesday 18 May: Michaël Spanu (University of Manchester), French and Spanish popular music exports: a comparative approach"

Select outputs

Following Franco: Spanish Culture and Politics in Transition, Duncan Wheeler (2020) 

“Is Music Streaming Bad for Musicians? Problems of Evidence and Argument”, David Hesmondhalgh (2020)

The Singer-Songwriter in Europe: Paradigms, Politics and Place, ed. Isabelle Marc and Stuart Green (2016)

Gender, Metal and the Media: Women Fans and the Gendered Experience of Music, Rosemary Hill (2016)

Edith Piaf: A Cultural History, David Looseley (2015)

'Identidad cultural y contestación en el rap francés old school', Isabelle Marc, and 'Ladies in da house: Feminidad e Hispanidad en el rap de Arianna Puello', Stuart Green in Cuarenta años de trova urbana: Acercamientos textuales al rap (2014)

'European Popular Musics: A Polycentric Dialogue', special issue of Journal of European Popular Culture, edited by Stuart Green and Isabelle Marc, 4.1 (2013)


Academic team:


  • Dr Alessandro Bratus, Post-doctoral fellow at Università di Pavia, Department of Musicology and Cultural Heritage
  • Dr Barbara Lebrun, Senior Lecturer in French Studies, The University of Manchester
  • Dr Catherine Rudent, Maître de conférences, IReMus (Paris-Sorbonne / CNRS)
  • Dr Eduardo Viñuela, Lecturer in the Department of Music at the University of Oviedo (Spain)
  • Dr Franco Fabbri, Professore Aggregato, Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici, Università di Torino
  • Dr Héctor Fouce, Lecturer Department of Journalism, Universidad Complutense de Madrid
  • Dr Jacopo Conti, Università di Torino
  • Dr Luis Trindade, Senior Lecturer in Portuguese Studies, Birkbeck, University of London
  • Dr Peter Hawkins, Senior Research Fellow, School of Modern Languages, University of Bristol
  • Dr Rachel Haworth, Lecturer in Italian, University of Hull
  • Dr Richard Elliott, Lecturer in Popular Music, University of Sussex
  • Dr Rupert Till, Reader in Music, Director of the Popular Music Studies Research Group, Department of Music and Drama, University of Huddersfield
  • Dr Sue Miller, Senior Lecturer in Music and Course Leader BA Popular Music, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge
  • Dr Olivier Julien, Lecturer, Paris-Sorbonne University
  • Fernán del Val, Phd candidate. Assistant professor of Sociology at UNED (Spain)
  • Giuseppa Vultaggio, University of Pisa (Italy), Department of Philology, Literature and Linguistics, Alumna
  • Jacopo Tomatis, PhD Candidate, Università degli Studi di Torino
  • Marta García Quiñones, PhD candidate, Philosophy, University of Barcelona
  • Rubén Gómez Muns, PhD candidate, Universitat Rovira i Virgili

Past events

2020–2021. ‘Current Debates in European Popular Musics’ online seminar series.

  • Thursday 15 October 2020 – 'The Soundtrack to Democracy and Dictatorship: Popular Music in Spain', Professor Duncan Wheeler (University of Leeds)
  • Thursday 19 November 2020 – 'Popular Music and Blackness in Europe', Dr Stuart Green (University of Leeds)
  • Thursday 17 December 2020 – 'Mylène Farmer: French Pop Diva', Dr Isabelle Marc (Complutense University of Madrid)
  • Thursday 21 January 2021 – 'Dalida: French Disco Queen', Dr Barbara Lebrun (University of Manchester)
  • Thursday 18 February 2021 – 'Reading the Popular Music Star as Intermedium: The Case of Mina, Italian Popular Music Diva’, Rachel Haworth (University of Leeds)
  • Thursday 18 March 2021 – ‘‘Latin’ Gainsbourg and the Parisian Nightclub Scene’, Sue Miller (Leeds Beckett University)
  • Thursday 15 April 2021 – 'Writing for Bloomsbury's 33 1/3 series: Édith Piaf's live album Récital 61’, David Looseley (University of Leeds)
  • Thursday 20 May 2021 – 'Iberian Cantautoras: Elisa Serna and Teresa Rebull’, Elia Romera Figueroa (Duke University)
  • Thursday 17 June 2021 – 'From Stereotype to Novelty? The Transnational Spread of Russian Popular Music’, Marco Biasioli (University of Manchester)

November 2014 - Workshop: ‘Continental Popular Music and Cultural Policies in Contemporary Britain’, and Concert Featuring Pendentif. Organised by Isabelle Marc and chaired by David Platten. Funding came from University of Leeds’s Ignite Fund and from Cultural Creative Industries Exchange.

The workshop aimed to bring together academics and representatives from French, Spanish and British cultural institutions in order to reflect on and assess the place occupied by continental popular music in various contemporary British musical scenes. In doing so, it also endeavoured to explore the role played by public and private bodies in the reception of popular music in contemporary Britain. After the workshop, and with the collaboration of Bureau Export in London, French pop band Pendentif performed at Mine (Leeds University Union). The concert was a golden opportunity to promote non-Anglophone popular culture and music within the university and beyond (numerous students of French from local schools attended), and to prove that collaboration between academia and the cultural industries is now not merely a possibility but key for many successful projects.

Interventions by participants in the round table discussion are now available online:

November 2014 - Duncan Wheeler was invited to the Carlos III University in Madrid to give a talk on popular music produced in Birmingham in the early-mid 1980s, paying particular attention to the rise and importance on the video-clip in this era.

February 2014 - The city of Leeds was proud to host a visit by Spanish hip-hop artist El Chojín to give a public talk at Leeds Central Library, to speak to local school students about racism and rap in Spain, and to collaborate with staff and students of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies at the University. During his visit, El Chojín was interviewed on Leeds Student Radio, where he was able speak at length about his music. Listen to the interview (in Spanish, with English interpretation).

June 2011 - The European Popular Musics International Symposium, University of Leeds, 13 June 2011.

The study of popular music continues to be an especially precarious terrain to negotiate due to its multi-semiotic nature. Musicology, ethnomusicology, sociology and communication studies have addressed popular music from their own perspectives. In turn, the modern-languages approach has yet to be defined and developed. The Symposium was intended to promote and facilitate discussion regarding different approaches to the study of popular musics in Europe, considered as an evolving multi-lingual and multi-cultural space.

The Symposium brought together scholars from a variety of backgrounds (musicologists, modern linguists, musicians and practitioners of cultural studies) interested in the musics which are produced and/or consumed in Europe.