Brian Hogan

Brian Hogan is an ethnomusicologist, drummer, and percussionist dedicated to fostering social change through communicating the relationship of culture, power, and music. He has conducted extensive fieldwork in West Africa on xylophone music and articulated the spiritual and culture-specific dimensions of ableism for rural blind musicians in West Africa. Hogan has shown through comparative research how African women in low literacy communities use song to collectivize and contest structured inequalities, and he has contributed to discourses on historical memory, speech surrogation, musical change, and global percussive practice. Gender, disability, class, and ethnicity in African, African American, and diasporic contexts are central currents in his publications because Hogan has explored the relationship between music and categories of difference cross-culturally. 

As a drummer and percussionist, Hogan has toured internationally with acclaimed jazz, rock, and world music ensembles including the Los Angeles Art Ensemble, Intricate Machines, and Orkestar Balkan. His drumming emphasizes jazz, West African, Afro-Cuban, and Balkan rhythmic figures and compositional techniques, steeped in the bimusicality of ethnomusicologists Mantle Hood, Timothy Rice, and Cheryl Keyes, and the musical syncretisms of drummers George Marsh, Nate Morton, and Clayton Cameron. Hogan also has a background in computer science, having created and contributed to several software applications that optimize and monitor various forms of renewable energy, foster nature and wildlife conservation, and communicate music and music research to a global audience.

  • Career Highlights
    • Published articles in African Arts and The Pacific Review of Ethnomusicology
    • Produced and published the short film A Great Man Has Gone Out: The Funeral of Ghanaian Xylophonist Kakraba Lobi
    • Performed, recorded, and toured with numerous groups including Orkestar Balkan, Intricate Machines, the Los Angeles Art Ensemble, BATUCLADA, and the Doppler Trio, among others
    • Private studies of drum set performance with George Marsh, Clayton Cameron, Nate Morton, Gary Feldman, and Sherman Fergusson, among others
    • Private studies of jazz performance with Kenny Burrell, Ray Brown, Smith Dobson, and Wendell Logan, as well as North Indian tabla performance with Abhiman Kaushal, and Bulgarian jazz with Ivan Varimezov
    • University of California, Los Angeles nominee for 2013–2014 CGS/ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation for his dissertation “Enemy Music: Blind Birifor Xylophonists of Northwest Ghana”
    • Certificate in drum set performance, Berklee College of Music (1998)
  • Awards
    • Recipient of the University Fellowship, University of California, Los Angeles (2006–2009)
    • Recipient of the International Institute Research Grant, University of California, Los Angeles (2006)
    • Highest honors in the anthropology major, University of California, Santa Cruz (2003)
    • Honors for senior thesis in ethnomusicology, University of California, Santa Cruz (2003)
  • Education
    • Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, ethnomusicology
    • M.A., University of California, Los Angeles, ethnomusicology
    • B.A., University of California, Santa Cruz, anthropology

In Their Own Words

"The music of other cultures, peoples, and periods of time teach us cultural empathy. Now more than ever, music is a way to undo misconceptions, to create community, and to unravel structured inequalities. It is my hope that students complete my courses with a revitalized appreciation of the incredible power of music."

"My background as an ethnomusicologist, drummer, and computer scientist afford me the ability to articulate the connections between academic learning, musical performance, and contemporary technologies. I draw upon my performance background in jazz, African music, Latin American music, Brazilian music, Balkan music, North Indian music, and European art music to expand my representation of music cultures through concise performance demonstrations in lectures that make explicit the relevance of music history to music performance."