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Centre for Creative Ethnography

Gordon Ramsey

Gordon Ramsey

Gordon Ramsey is an ethnomusicologist and social anthropologist based in Queen’s University Belfast. His work focuses upon the intersection of ethno-national identity and social class in creative musical practice in Northern Ireland. Gordon has published extensively on the music and social significance of marching bands in Ulster and has also published on the Ulster-Scots musical revival and on aspects of Irish traditional music. He is the author of Music, Emotion and Identity in Ulster Marching Bands: Flutes, Drums & Loyal Sons (Peter Lang 2011). Gordon has regularly engaged with the media, with policy-makers and with community groups across Northern Ireland and has contributed to three documentary films and two experimental music videos (one produced online during the Covid-19 pandemic) in collaboration with the Belfast NGO ‘Beyond Skin’ (access below). He is currently preparing a research project including archival, ethnographic and performance elements which will explore historic intersections between British military music and Irish traditional music through an 18th century manuscript held in Queen’s University’s Bunting Collection. Gordon is an active community musician performing with marching bands, Ulster-Scots folk groups and Irish traditional musicians.

  • Creative Anthropology Works

    2022. “The Good Thing About Sectarianism? An Intersectional Approach to Social Class and Ethnic Identity in Northern Ireland” in Makofsky, David & Bayram Unal (eds) Religious Fundamentalism in an Age of Conflict: Christianity, Judaism and Islam in the New Era of Globalism. Cambridge Scholars: Cambridge.

    2021. Book Review: Parading Respectability: The Cultural and Moral Aesthetics of the Christmas Bands Movement in the Western Cape, South Africa by Sylvia Bruinders. Ethnomusicology Forum 30(3).

    2019. “Marching Bands” in Sturman, Janet (ed) The SAGE Encyclopedia of Ethnomusicology.

    SAGE: Los Angeles.

    2018. “Class and Locality in Loyalist Parading Band Rehearsals in Northern Ireland” in Reily, Suzel & Kate Brucher (eds) The Routledge Companion to Local Musicking. Routledge: London.

    2013. “The Ulster-Scots Musical Revival: The Transformation of Tradition in a Post-Conflict Society”. Études Irlandaises 38(2) Autumn-Winter.

    2013. “Playing Away: Liminality, Flow and Communitas in an Ulster Flute Band's Visit to a Scottish Orange Parade” in Brucher, Kate & Suzel Reily (eds) Brass Bands of the World: Militarism, Colonial Legacies and Local Music Making. Ashgate.

    2013: “Lambeg Drum” in Boydell, Barra & Harry White (eds) The Encyclopedia of Music in Ireland. UCD Press: Dublin.

    2011. Music, Emotion and Identity in Ulster Marching Bands: Flutes, Drums and Loyal Sons. Peter Lang: Oxford.

    2011 “Band Practice: Class, Taste and Identity in Ulster Loyalist Flute Bands” in ICTM Ireland Online Journal: Issue 1.

    2010. “Books Review: The Making of Irish Traditional Music by Helen O’Shea & Turning the Tune: Traditional Music, Tourism and Social Change in an Irish Village by Adam Kaul, in Irish Journal of Anthropology - Special Issue - Blurred Boundaries: Music, Community and Identity.

    2010. “Website Reviews: ‘The Vaughan Williams Memorial Library Online Indexes’ produced by the English Folk Dance and Song Society; ‘Cecil Sharp’s Appalachian Diaries’ produced by the English Folk Dance and Song Society; ‘The Irish Traditional Music Archive’ produced by the Irish Traditional Music Archive” in Yearbook of Traditional Music.

    2009. “Website Review: ‘Scots-Irish Music’ - Produced by Sabine Glasgow and Dick Glasgow” in Yearbook of Traditional Music.

    2008. “Killaloe: The Synchronisation of Emotion, the Creation of Community and the Enaction of Identity in Communal Musicking (How a Connacht Jig Became Central to Enactions of Ulster Loyalism) in Quest: The Postgraduate E-Journal by Students in the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences at Queen's University Belfast. Autumn Issue.

  • Forthcoming

    “Sectarianism and Social Care: The Role of Loyalist Flute Bands in Responding to Deprivation in Working-Class Areas of Belfast” in Lawlor, Helen & Adrian Scahill (eds) Sounding Empowerment: Essays on Music, Politics & Resistance. Cambridge Scholars: Cambridge.

  • Appearances in Documentary Films

    The Hamely Tongue (2010) Directed by Deaglán Ó Mocháin. (Irish language with English subtitles) TG4.

    On Parade (2017) Directed by Jérémie Magar. Available on Film Freeway (password PARADE):

    Beart Bunting (Bunting’s Gift) (2022) Directed by Deaglán Ó Mocháin. (Irish language with English subtitles) TG4-BBC co-production. Available on BBC iPlayer:

  • Music Videos in Collaboration with "Beyond Skin"