MMus (Edinburgh) | MMus (SOAS, London) | PhD (UCT/SOAS, London)
Cara Stacey is a South African musical bow player, pianist and academic. Her research focuses primarily on performance-based research methods in southern African bow music, as well as the past and present music of eSwatini. She holds a doctorate in African music, specifically looking at the makhweyane musical bow from eSwatini (University of Cape Town/SOAS). Cara holds a Masters in Musicology (Edinburgh), and a MMus in Performance from SOAS (London). She has studied various African instruments (makhweyane, mbira, uhadi, umrhubhe, and budongo) with master musicians Dizu Plaatjies, Khokhiwe Mphila, Bhemani Magagula, Tinashe Chidanyika, Modou Diouf, and Andrew Cooke. Cara has published in South African Music Studies, the Journal of the Musical Arts in Africa, and Ethnomusicology Forum. She has contributed chapters to books on the bow music of southern Africa, Afro-Asian creative research, improvisation and the aesthetics of imperfection. Cara has presented her work at the International Council for Research in Music World Conference, the British Forum for Ethnomusicology Annual Conference, the Society for Ethnomusicology Annual Conference, the International Bow Music Conferences, and the ICTM Study Group for African Music symposia.
Beyond her solo performance and compositional work, Cara collaborates with percussionist and drummer Sarathy Korwar in the project Pergola and is a member of the Night Light Collective. Her debut album, Things that grow, featured Shabaka Hutchings, Seb Rochford, Ruth Goller, and Crewdson (Kit Records, 2015). Her second album, Ceder, is of her duo project with Peruvian flutist and composer Camilo Ángeles (2018), and her collaborative third album, Like the Grass, features Galina Juritz, Beat Keller, and Antonia Ravens (Kit Records, 2020). Cara has performed across southern Africa, in the United Kingdom, Brazil, Peru, the USA and Switzerland with the likes of Shabaka Hutchings, Sarathy Korwar, Dan Leavers, Galina Juritz, Natalie Mason, Keenan Ahrends, Beat Keller, Matchume Zango, Jason Singh, and Juliana Venter.
Cara is the founder of the Betwixt concert series with cellist Nicola du Toit. She sits on the executive committee for the South African Society for Research in Music and is the International Council for Traditional Music country liaison office for the kingdom of eSwatini.