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Jack Forbes

Lecturer, Musicology & Ethnomusicology


ABD, Ethnomusicology, University of Florida
MM, Musicology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
BM, Music Theory, UW-Eau Claire


Jack W. Forbes is a lecturer in musicology and ethnomusicology at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a Ph.D. candidate in ethnomusicology at the University of Florida, where he founded Marimba Ayin, the UF Guatemalan Marimba Ensemble. His previous degrees include a M.M. in musicology from the University of Illinois and a B.M. in music theory with a minor in anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Prior to UW-Milwaukee, Mr. Forbes taught for Cardinal Stritch University’s Department of Performing Arts, UF’s School of Music and Center for Latin American Studies, and the Anthropology Department at the Universidad del Valle de Guatemala. Mr. Forbes’ research, which focuses on music and politics, music and identity, performance theory, and popular music of the Americas, has been funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s FLAS and Fulbright-Hays Fellowship programs, the Centers for Latin American Studies and World Arts at the University of Florida, the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the University of Illinois, and the Office of University Research and Sponsored Programs at UW-Eau Claire. His dissertation, “Que siga la fiesta: The Performance of Music, History, and Identity in Guatemalan Marimbas Orquestas,” examines the social and musical history of marimba orquesta (a popular dance music genre) from the arrival of jazz to Guatemala in the 1920s to the 2010s, embedding it within the contingencies of nationalism, popular culture, and the politics of identity. As a percussionist/drummer, Mr. Forbes performs in several different musical projects in Milwaukee and enjoys seeking out new artists in Milwaukee’s varied music scenes.

Recent Work