Catching Up with Lisa Jenkins

Erin Dugan, Research Unplugged Intern
March 23, 2010

How did you first become interested in your specialty?

My classical vocal training began to intersect with a more speech-oriented singing when I started a career as a musicals theatre performer in the 1970's. I began to see the value of adopting a broader concept of vocal technique, and continue to believe in the advantage of developing flexible voices, capable of singing in different styles.

How did you become interested in Celtic music?

I received a fellowship to study at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland for a year during college. During that year I took Scottish History and Ethnology and a Gaelic language course. One of the ways they taught the Gaelic language was through music. I came to love everything about the culture: the people, the language, and particularly the music. So when I went on for my Ph.D. I decided to focus my studies on Celtic music.

What do you like best about the Music department at Penn State?

The Department is full of so many talented musicians and excellent scholars, and yet there is such a wonderful sense of collegiality amongst the faculty members in the department.

Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?

Hopefully I will still be teaching and working on new areas of research. (I am just beginning a new study of Welsh and Welsh-American music and culture, focusing on the Eisteddfod in America.

When you're not working, how do you spend your free time?

When I'm not working, I try to spend my time with my family. I also like to travel whenever possible.

What is the most interesting place you've traveled to?

Oddly enough, I would say perhaps the most interesting place I've traveled to is the Callanish Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis. They are so remote and so striking. They're like Stonehenge—only more amazing!

What is your favorite Celtic band or song?

Since my research for my dissertation was on contemporary Celtic music, I have many favorite Celtic performers. My longtime favorite, and the one that first interested me in modern Celtic music, is the Scottish group Capercaillie. My favorite song is the traditional Gaelic song "Fear a Bhata."

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head shot of Lisa Jenkins with glasses and black shirt

Lisa Jenkins

Last Updated March 23, 2010