Vicky Jassey is currently a cross-disciplinary Ph.D. candidate in ethnomusicology, performance, and gender at Cardiff and Exeter Universities in the United Kingdom. The title of her thesis is "Bataleras on the Frontline: Gender Narratives in Cuban Batá Performance," where she examines issues of gender and batá drumming in Cuba with a particular focus on the burgeoning role of women batá drummers performing in what is normally perceived as a male-only musical genre.
With the support of CRI and the Digital Library of the Caribbean at the FIU Libraries, Vicky will conduct field research in Miami during three months (February-May 2017) to augment her understanding of Afro-Cuban batá drumming and gender with data from South Florida Santería communities. Her project aims to document the oral histories of key ritual musicians whose lives are dedicated to performing ritual oricha music in Afro-Cuban religious communities in Miami. She plans on assembling a digital archive collection that will include interviews with ritual musicians, audiovisual footage of ritual performances, and documented academic discourse.
Vicky earned her M.A. in Performance (with distinction) at the University of London. Since 2010, she has served as the lead singer and percussionist in Orchestra Bombo, a Cuban carnival group. She is also the founder, artistic director, and administrator of Bombo Productions, a charitable organization whose mission is to promote Afro-Cuban folkloric music and arts, and which has employed around twenty musicians and teachers on a freelance basis.