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Book: Turntable Stories

Chapter: Professors’ Plays

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.46286


When a person walks through the third floor of George Hall at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, they will likely hear a distinct collection of music near the bend before the main office of Ethnic Studies. Emerging from Dr. Rod Labrador’s office are the sounds of his previous time as a party deejay, a mix of freestyle, jazz, hip hop, and, more recently, K-pop. Across the hall, students are greeted by Professor Ethan Caldwell’s collection of rhythm and blues, sharing childhood memories of 1980s and 1990s & and soul from his family with his students. In an adjacent building, students are greeted in the ACCESS lounge by Dr. Ruben Campos III’s eclectic collection of Latin grooves and international hits that connect students transoceanically to hits from a variety of diasporic productions. In each of these cases, the professors bring glimpses of their past and present to their students, inspiring a new wave of listeners that reconnect with analogue mediums of music and life.

In “Professors’ Plays,” I highlight the ways these three professors share their love of music through their record collections as a way to build community with students. From the variety of equipment they use to the notable vinyl in their collections, these images will highlight their stories surrounding what they play for their students, including their earliest memories with music on vinyl records, how they crafted their setups, the importance of music in their everyday lives and in their offices, and why it is an important form of engagement between faculty and students. This photo essay will provide a glimpse to how these professors share their passion around vinyl to cultivate connections to musical journeys that span beyond generations and spaces.

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