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Music in Latin America and the Caribbean: An Encyclopedic History

Music in Latin America and the Caribbean: An Encyclopedic History
Volume 2: Performing the Caribbean Experience

The second book in a major four-volume work focusing on the musical legacies of the New World.

Series: Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Endowment in Latin American and Latino Art and Culture

January 2007
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553 pages | 8.5 x 11 | 114 b&w illus., 70 figures, 3 maps, 2 CDs |

The music of the peoples of South and Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean is treated with unprecedented breadth in this multi-volume work. Taking a sociocultural and human-centered approach, Music in Latin America and the Caribbean gathers the best scholarship from writers all over the world to cover in depth the musical legacies of indigenous peoples, creoles, African descendants, Iberian colonizers, and other immigrant groups that met and mixed in the New World. From these texts, music emerges as the powerful tool that negotiates identities, enacts resistance, performs beliefs, and challenges received aesthetics. More than two decades in the making, this work privileges the perspectives of cultural insiders and emphasizes the role that music plays in human life.

Volume 2, Performing the Caribbean Experience, focuses on the reconfiguration of this complex soundscape after the Conquest and on the strategies by which groups from distant worlds reconstructed traditions, assigning new meanings to fragments of memory and welding a fascinating variety of unique Creole cultures. Shaped by an enduring African presence and the experience of slavery and colonization by the Spanish, French, British, and Dutch, peoples of the Caribbean islands and circum-Caribbean territories resorted to the power of music to mirror their history, assert identity, gain freedom, and transcend their experience in lasting musical messages. Essays on pan-Caribbean themes, surveys of traditions, and riveting personal accounts capture the essence of pluralistic and spiritualized brands of creativity through the voices of an unprecedented number of Caribbean authors, including a representative contingent of distinguished Cuban scholars whose work is being published in English translation for the first time in this book. Two CDs with 52 recorded examples illustrate the contributions to this volume.


A Library Journal Best Reference, 2007


Malena Kuss is an internationally recognized musicologist specializing in Latin American music. She is Professor Emeritus of Music at the University of North Texas, Denton.


“Performing the Caribbean Experience takes its rightful place in the Mundo Nuevo canon and even carves out its own niche, as the most comprehensive creole investigation of cultural forms to date.”
The Caribbean Review of Books