Sea Songs Conference in Tunisia - 11-13 April 2025

Αγαπητοί συνάδελφοι του Ρεμπέτικου Φόρουμ

Τον Απρίλιο του 2025, διοργανώνω ένα μουσικό συνέδριο στη Mahdia της Τυνησίας… Το θέμα του συνεδρίου είναι «Sea Songs of the Mediterranean. (Επισυνάπτω την Πρόσκληση για Έγγραφα παρακάτω).

Για το συνέδριο θα ήθελα πολύ να δημιουργήσω μια μικρή ομάδα παικτών και τραγουδιστών για να τραγουδήσουν θαλασσινά τραγούδια από το ρεπερτόριο του Ρεμπέτικου.

Οι ημερομηνίες μας είναι το Σαββατοκύριακο 11-13 Απριλίου 2025.

Εάν ενδιαφέρεστε να συμμετάσχετε, παρακαλώ γράψτε μου στο

Με τους καλύτερους χαιρετισμούς,


Dear colleagues of the Rebetiko Forum

I April 2025, I am organising a musical conference in Mahdia, Tunisia… The subject of the conference is “Sea Songs of the Mediterranean”. (I attach the Call for Papers below).

You will find our conference website here:

For the conference I would very much like to create a little team of players and singers to sing sea songs from the Rebetiko repertoire.

Our dates are the weekend of 11-13 April 2025.

If you would be interested to join us in Tunisia, please write to me at

With best regards,


Please circulate to interested parties




a conference to be held in the historic port

town of Mahdia, Tunisia,

on Friday 11 to Sunday 13 April 2025

Dear Music Colleagues,

This is a letter to researchers, singers and musicians, inviting proposals of papers and performances for an international musicological conference about the wide-ranging and fascinating history of the sea songs of the Mediterranean.

The conference will be held in the historic port town of Mahdia in Tunisia on the second weekend of April 2025.

It will be an in-person conference, with live streaming for people who cannot attend in person.

The conference is organised as a joint effort with the Maison de la Culture of Mahdia and also with the local fisheries association Dar al-Hout. The conference coordinator is ethnomusicologist Ed Emery [Research Associate at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (SOAS)].

The proceedings will include a double panel from the Mediterranean Music Studies Group of the ICTMD.

We believe that our conference will make an important contribution to the study of musical and cultural circulations in the Mediterranean through the centuries, and that it will also add useful perspectives for framing ongoing problematisations of the idea of “the Mediterranean”.

We began by asking: “Are there sea shanties in the Mediterranean?” That then led to a question: “Do the countries of the Mediterranean have coherent repertoires of songs classifiable as sea songs”. And we then asked: “Since the Mediterranean is an area of millennial cultural exchanges, what are the interrelations and mutual influences among its sea songs?” All of this constitutes a worthy field of exploration, analysis and discourse, and we believe that this is the first conference to address this body of material.

The conference will extend from Friday to Sunday. In addition to two days of formal presentations of academic papers, there will also be concerts and music sessions involving local musicians and also musicians representing the sea-song cultures of the various countries of the Mediterranean.

The papers from the conference will be published in book form, and will also be posted online on the conference website.

The official languages of the conference will be English, French and Arabic. Where possible, pre-conference translations will be prepared and circulated.

The conference is not funded. Therefore participants will be requested to make their own travel arrangements. However we are discussing with the Mahdia local authorities the possible provision of local transport, subsidised accommodation and a conference dinner for speakers.

Registration for attending the conference is free, and will be open to all who wish to attend.

If you wish to propose a paper, or offer a musical performance, or simply wish to attend the conference, please write to the conference organiser at the following address:



RANGE: Papers are invited that cover the countries of the Mediterranean basin. We also include the maritime peripheries of the Atlantic and the Red Sea. And we cover all periods of history, from Antiquity to the present day.

What is clear is that the Mediterranean, although a space of perennial historic enmities, is also a unified cultural space, with multiple sharings and crossovers of cultures, technologies, and marine practices. We propose the idea of the Mediterranean as a commons. And its commonalities often find expression in sea-related song.

The following is a non-exclusive list of possible areas of discussion:

  • Songs associated with fishing, marine harvesting, sponge-gathering, etc;

  • Songs of migration and emigration;

  • Songs of parting, returns, loss, deaths, and the dangers of the sea;

  • Songs of women associated with the sea;

  • Songs arising from wars and battles;

  • Songs associated with pilgrimage - including Christians, Muslims and Jews;

  • Work songs, shanties, and everyday songs of mariners, both aboard ship and on the shore;

  • Songs associated with religious cults of the sea;

  • Songs having a relation to dance.


If you wish to propose a paper, please send your ABSTRACT [max. 200 words] and a CV [max 100 words] to the conference organiser at the e-mail address above.

The deadline for submissions is 15 July 2024. However early submission is encouraged.

Notifications of acceptance will be sent out on 15 August 2024.

We look forward to hearing from you

Thank you for your attention.

The following is the home page of our conference website, where Abstracts and updated organisational details will be posted in the coming months:

For those interested, here is a link to a nicely framed video about the town of Mahdia where our conference will be held:

Posted: 11 May 2024

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