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Denis McGilvray

The Rhythm Atlas Host

Denis McGilvray is not an ethnomusicologist, but he plays one on the radio. He started hosting The Rhythm Atlas world music program here on KWGS in September 2017. 

Denis has lived in Oklahoma since marrying his wife, Sarah (a native Tulsan) in 1992. After being a teacher for a short time and
then a librarian, he has mostly been a stay-at-home parent to their three children since their first child was born in 1999. But he has a lifelong passion for music and his experience in the music business and radio goes back to the early 1980s.

He grew up in southern California, and in his teens started listening to the many eclectic radio stations that could be heard in the Los Angeles area. He also began collecting records (many of which are still in his music library to this day.) After moving to the Monterey Bay area on California’s central coast in 1982, he worked as a jazz buyer in record stores, hosted late night programs on public radios stations KAZU in Pacific Grove and KUSP in Santa Cruz, and earned a degree in English and American Literature from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

From 2001 to 2013, he helped produce the not-for-profit All Soul Acoustic Coffeehouse, a monthly Folk/Americana concert series here in Tulsa. The all-volunteer operated series presented around 100 concerts during its tenure. Denis wrote about Tulsa music events for The Current monthly magazine for a while, and writes (very occasionally) about music on his blog, Jukebox Delirium.

Denis has been intrigued by music from many cultures since his youth, when he first heard the Argentinian-Uruguayan band Los Incas perform on the song “El Cóndor Pasa” on Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ album. He has actively built a library of recordings of musical styles from all over the world, and loves sharing this wide variety of fantastic music with listeners who might not be familiar with it.