Cara Stacey

The path that has led me to my current PhD study has been a long and winding one. I was born in Johannesburg but later moved to Mbabane, Swaziland. I started musical lessons at age six and have played many different types of music and instruments since then.

As a classically trained pianist, I completed my BMus in Musicology at the South African College of Music, University of Cape Town, in 2007. I went on to do a Masters in Musicology at Edinburgh University, under the supervision of Simon Frith and Eliane Kelly. My dissertation looked at  William Chapman Nyaho’s publication “Piano Music of Africa and the African Diaspora”. After working in Cape Town at the SACM, I decided to head back to the UK to enrol for a Masters in Performance (African Music) at the School of Oriental and African Studies. My focus during this time was innovation in performance and practice-based research relating to the Xhosa mouthbow, umrhubhe, which I had first learned from Dizu Plaatjies in Cape Town. During my earlier classical studies, I discovered this amazing instrument and its incredible, ephemeral sounds, and became fascinated with musical bows of all sizes and shapes.
My current PhD research focuses on the makhoyane/makhweyane musical bow of Swaziland and how musicians create new music for this instrument. I am interested in the potential of practice-based methodologies (from performance and compositional perspectives) in the study of bow music.

As a Commonwealth split-site scholar, my studies are divided between UCT and SOAS (London), under the supervision of Dr. Sylvia Bruinders and Dr. Angela Impey. Apart from the Commonwealth scholarship, my work is supported by the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, UCT, and a NRF Freestanding Doctoral grant.