Ms. Gigi "Gee" Rabe is currently finishing a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology at the University of California, Los Angeles. At UCLA, she was the recipient of a university stipend during the spring of 2002, a Thayer Special Collections Fellowship during the fall of 2002, and the recipient of a Fine Arts Trust Award for 2002-2003. She is also the 2002-2003 recipient of a grant from UCLA’s Institute of American Cultures and the Bunche Center for African American Studies. Ms. Rabe holds an M.A. degree in Ethnomusicology from UCLA and a B.M. degree in Performance with an emphasis in Commercial Music from California State University, Long Beach. Her main research interests include popular music and culture, smooth jazz, worldbeat, tango, the international music industry, Balkan music, and Caribbean music. She has conducted research on ska music in Jamaica, England, Canada, and the United States and is working on a dissertation entitled “Politics, Economics, and Religion in Ska: The Formation of Jamaican Identity.”
An accordionist since 1975, Ms. Rabe has won major awards for her performance, including the Accordion Federation of North America's virtuoso (Western classical) and virtuoso jazz competitions in 1984 and 1985 respectively. Her teachers have included Glenn Stead and LaVoy Halle (Western classical), Frank Marocco (jazz), Pepe Motta (Argentinean tango), and Milen Slavov (Bulgarian accordion) and Petar Ralchev (Bulgarian accordion). In 2002, her article "Aspects of Regional Difference and Performance Technique in Bulgarian Accordion Music" was published in the journal Musical Performance.
As a steel pannist, Ms. Rabe has performed professionally since 1986 and has worked and studied with Trinidad’s famous Len "Boogsie" Sharpe and Robert Greenidge. She has also recorded for television, radio, and film. Her recent sideline debut on the last season of the television sitcom “Friends,” aired on February 12, 2004. In addition to playing steel drums, Ms. Rabe has studied Latin percussion with master percussionist Francisco Aguabella. As a teaching associate in the UCLA Department of Ethnomusicology, Ms. Rabe has taught discussion classes on the subjects of music of Mexico and the Caribbean, music of Europe and the Americas, the Cultural History of Rap, and South American music. She has been a lecturer at CSU Northridge since 1995, starting their steel band program, which has become one of the largest on the west coast.