Music

Preview our Spring 2019 Catalog

S19-catalog-front-coverOur Spring 2019 catalog is here! Check out some highlights below and download the complete catalog for a more in-depth look. These titles will be published between January and June 2019.

The cover of the catalog is a photograph by Rotimi Fani-Kayode, the subject of the book Bloodflowers: Rotimi Fani-Kayode, Photography, and the 1980s (March) by W. Ian Bourland. Bloodflowers launches a new series, The Visual Arts of Africa and its Diasporas, edited by Kellie Jones and Steven Nelson. And it’s just one of many great new art titles in this catalog. You’ll also want to check out Suzanne Preston Blier’s Picasso’s Demoiselles (June), an examination of the previously unknown origins of a well-known painting. And in Surrealism at Play (February) Susan Laxton writes a new history of Surrealism in which she traces the centrality of play to the movement and its ongoing legacy. We’re especially excited about The Romare Bearden Reader (May) edited by Robert G. O’Meally. It brings together a collection of new essays and canonical writings by novelists, poets, historians, critics, and playwrights. The contributors include Toni Morrison, Ralph Ellison, August Wilson, Farah Jasmine Griffin, and Kobena Mercer. We’ve also got Rebecca Zorach’s Art for People’s Sake (March), which looks at the Black Arts Movement in Chicago; and Chicano and Chicana Art: A Critical Anthology  (February), which provides an overview of the history and theory of Chicano/a art from the 1960s to the present.

Deported AmericansTimely books on immigration will definitely add context to current debates. In Deported Americans (April), legal scholar and former public defender Beth C. Caldwell tells the story of dozens of immigrants who were deported from the United States—the only country they have ever known—to Mexico, tracking the harmful consequences of deportation for those on both sides of the border. And in The Fixer (June), Charles Piot follows a visa broker—known as a “fixer”—in the West African nation of Togo as he helps his clients apply for the U.S. Diversity Visa Lottery program. For a look at the immigrant experience through poetry, check out The Chasers (May), in which Renato Rosaldo shares his experiences and those of his group of twelve Mexican-American Tucson High School friends known as the Chasers as they grew up, graduated, and fell out of touch. Rosaldo’s poems present a chorus of distinct voices and perspectives that convey the realities of Chicano life on the borderlands from the 1950s to the present.

The Hundreds by Lauren Berlant and Kathleen Stewart will delight fans of theory, ethnography, and experimental writing alike. The book, composed of pieces one hundred or multiples of one hundred words long—is their collaborative experimental writing project in which they strive toward sensing and capturing the resonances that operate at the ordinary level of everyday experience.

Activists will be excited to learn that we are bringing out a new, revised and expanded edition of Aurora Levins Morales’s Medicine Stories (April). She weaves together the insights and lessons learned over a lifetime of activism to offer a new theory of social justice, bringing clarity and hope to tangled, emotionally charged social issues in beautiful and accessible language.

Book ReportsIf you enjoy critic Robert Christgau’s writing on music (his collection Is It Still Good to Ya? came out this fall), you’ll definitely want to check out his book reviews, collected together in Book Reports (April). Christgau shows readers a different side to his esteemed career with reviews of books ranging from musical autobiographies, criticism, and histories to novels, literary memoirs, and cultural theory.

We’re also pleased to present new books from returning authors Jane Gallop, Elspeth Brown, Jennifer C. Nash, and Kandice Chuh, among others, as well as a new edition of The Cuba Reader, long a bestseller for courses and travelers.

These are just a few of the great titles coming out next spring. We have over seventy titles in cultural studies, art, sound studies, Latin American studies, history, Asian studies, African studies, religion, American studies, and more. You’ll want to read and download the whole thing to see all the great new books and journals. To be notified of new books in your chosen disciplines, sign up for our email alerts, too.

 

 

New Books in November

November is a huge book release month! Check out all the great new titles coming out this month. Many of them will be making their debuts at the academic conferences that are happening this month. Be sure to stop by our booths at the American Studies Association, the National Women’s Studies Association, the African Studies Association, the American Academy of Religion, and the American Anthropological Association, where you can pick up these and other titles for only $20 each.

In My Butch Career, Esther Newton—a pioneer figure in gay and lesbian studies—tells the compelling and disarming story of her struggle to write, teach, and find love, all while coming to terms with her lesbian identity during one of the worst periods of homophobic persecution in the twentieth century.

978-1-4780-0129-4Collective Creative Actions, edited by Ryan Dennis, highlights the twenty-five-year history of Project Row Houses in Houston’s Third Ward by addressing the idea of social practice through its five pillars of art, education, social safety nets, architectural preservation, and sustainability.

In How Art Can Be Thought Allan deSouza examines the popular terminology through which art is discussed, valued, and taught, showing how pedagogical language and practices within art schools can adapt to a politicized and rapidly changing world, as well as to the demands of contemporary art within a global industry.978-1-4780-0047-1

More than fifty years after the publication of C. L. R. James’s classic Beyond a Boundary, the contributors to Marxism, Colonialism, and Cricketedited by David Featherstone, Christopher Gair, Christian Høgsbjerg, and Andrew Smith, investigate its production and reception and its implication for debates about sports, gender, aesthetics, race, popular culture, politics, imperialism, and Caribbean and English identity.

978-1-4780-0022-8.jpgFeaturing work spanning six decades, Robert Christgau’s Is It Still Good to Ya? sums up the career of legendary rock critic and longtime Village Voice stalwart Robert Christgau, whose album and concert reviews, essays, and reflections on his career tackle the whole of pop music, from Louis Armstrong to M.I.A..

In Best Practice, Kimberly Chong offers a rich ethnographic account of how a global management consultantcy translates and implements the logic of financialization in contemporary China.

Dai Jinhua’s After the Post–Cold War interrogates history, memory, and the future of China as a global economic power in relation to its Cold War past to show how the recent erasure of the country’s socialist history signifies socialism’s failure and forecloses the imagining of a future beyond that of globalized capitalism.

In After Ethnos, Tobias Rees proposes an understanding of anthropology as a philosophically and poetically oriented and fieldwork-based investigation into the human and human thought rather than a study of culture or society in which anthropology is synonymous with ethnography and fieldwork.978-1-4780-0035-8.jpg

In Unruly Visions, Gayatri Gopinath traces the interrelation of affect, aesthetics, and diaspora through an exploration of a wide range of contemporary queer visual cultural forms by South Asian, Middle Eastern, African, Australian, and Latinx artists such as Tracey Moffatt, Akram Zaatari, and Allan deSouza.

In None Like Us Stephen Best offers a bold reappraisal of the critical assumptions that undergird black studies’ use of the slave past as an explanatory prism for understanding the black political present, thereby opening the circuits between past and present and charting a queer future for black study.

In An Intimate Rebuke, an ethnography of female empowerment, Laura S. Grillo offers new perspectives on how elder West African women deploy an ancient ritual in which they dance naked and slap their genitals and bare breasts to protest abuses of state power, globalization, witchcraft, rape, and other social dangers.

978-1-4780-0291-8Drawing on numerous examples from popular culture, in Empowered Sarah Banet-Weiser examines the relationship between popular feminism and popular misogyny as it plays out in advertising, online and multi-media platforms, and nonprofit and commercial campaigns, showing how feminism is often met with a backlash of harassment, assault, and institutional neglect.

Aren Z. Aizura’s Mobile Subjects examines transgender narratives about traveling for gender reassignment from 1952 to the present, showing how transgender fantasies about reinvention and mobility are racialized as white and often rely on violent colonial global divisions.

Through global case studies that explore biometric identification, border control, forensics, militarized policing, and counterterrorism, the contributors to Bodies as Evidence, edited by Mark Maguire, Ursula Rao, and Nils Zurawskishow how bodies have become critical sources of evidence that is organized and deployed to classify, recognize, and manage human life.

978-1-4780-0153-9.jpgIn Plan Colombia John Lindsay-Poland examines a 2005 massacre in Colombia, its subsequent investigation, official cover-up, and the international community’s response to outline how the U.S. military’s support for the Colombian Army contributed to atrocities while shaping the United States’s dominant model of military intervention.

Melissa Gregg’s Counterproductive explores the obsession with using productivity as the primary measure of most workers’ sense of value and success in the workplace, showing how it isolates workers from each other while erasing their collective efforts to define work limits.

Drawing on indigenous social movements and politics, contributors to A World of Many Worlds, edited by Marisol de la Cadena and Mario Blaser, question Western epistemologies, theorize new forms of knowledge production, and critique the presumed divide between nature and culture—all in service of creating a pluriverse: a cosmos composed of many worlds partially connected through divergent political practices.

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Poem of the Week

978-0-8223-7147-2For the second week of National Poetry Month, we’re sharing an excerpt from David Grubbs’s new book-length prose poem Now that the audience is assembled. The poem, both a work of literature and a study of music, describes a fictional performance during which a musician improvises the construction of a series of invented instruments before an audience that is alternately contemplative, participatory, disputatious, and asleep.

 

The demonstration is scarcely completed when the composer places his instrument on the ground and turns to address the audience.

The musician cannot flip the switch quite so easily, and she rocks back and forth with an unprotesting expression, still cradling her instrument and inhabiting a different sphere while the composer, speaking through the page-turner, shares his take on this brief performance: It needs to be said that a duo performance is something other than this composition. Two is an insufficient number. Two performers suffice only to show the technique. The structure of the work is the invitation for multiple individuals to create and experience alterations on the basis of unforeseen encounters. It’s a pleasure to encounter you in this way (composer and page-turner both gesture toward the musician, who gives no indication that she’s listening) and to do so again and again and differently each time, but a duo performance has a melancholic desert-island quality. That of two survivors, and we need others. Composer and page-turner toe the edge of the lighted rectangle and peer into the darkness: Do we have volunteers?

The audience feigns sleep or slumbers on.

Thankfully the composer knows when to drop the direct address, and the offer is not repeated. There is no need to force participation. He gestures for musician and page-turner to follow him as he shuffles toward the upstage door that once again swings open. They disappear for several minutes into the unknown region.

When they return to the performance space, they come provisioned with a collection of ten bulky round objects, each thick with dust and wrapped in a maroon cloth and tied with a piece of canary-yellow nylon rope. They lean the wrapped objects against the wall in an arrangement based on descending order of size. The largest of the bundles matches the arm span of the page-turner; the smallest resembles a hubcap.

We’re going to try something different, announces the composer.

Learn more about Now that the audience is assembled.

New Books in January

978-0-8223-6902-8.jpgHappy 2018! Ring in the new year with these exciting new titles from Duke University Press:

In Fractivism, Sara Ann Wylie traces the history of fracking in the United States and how scientists, nonprofits, landowners, and everyday people are coming together to hold the fossil fuel industry accountable through the creation of digital platforms and databases that document fracking’s devastating environmental and human health impacts.

Raymond Knapp’s Making Light traces the musical legacy of German Idealism as it led to the declining prestige of composers such as Haydn while influencing the development of American popular music in the nineteenth century, showing how the existence of camp in Haydn and American music offer ways of reassessing Haydn’s oeuvre.

In Media Heterotopias Hye Jean Chung challenges the widespread tendency among audiences and critics to disregard the material conditions of digital film production, showing how this emphasis on seamlessness masks the complex social, political, and economic realities of global filmmaking.

Charlotte Brunsdon’s Television Cities traces television’s representations of Paris, London, and Baltimore to show how they reflect the medium’s history and evolution, thereby challenging the prevalent assumptions about television as quintessentially suburban and showing how television shapes our perception of urban spaces, both familiar and unknown.

978-0-8223-7038-3.jpgIn Ezili’s Mirrors Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley traces how contemporary queer Caribbean and African American writers, filmmakers, musicians, and performers evoke the divinity Ezili—a pantheon of lwa feminine spirits in Vodou—in ways that offer a new model of queer black feminist theory.

Focusing on the hemispheric circulation of South American musical cultures, in On Site, In Sound, Kirstie A. Dorr examines the spatiality of sound and the ways in which the sonic is bound to perceptions and constructions of geographic space, showing how people can use music and sound to challenge and transform dominant conceptions of place.

Attending to diverse practices of everyday living and doing—of form, style, and scenography—in Jacques Rancière’s writings, Davide Panagia explores Rancière’s aesthetics of politics as it informs his radical democratic theory of participation in Ranciere’s Sentiments.

In Reclaiming the Discarded Kathleen Millar offers a comprehensive ethnography of Jardim Gramacho, a sprawling garbage dump on the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where self-employed workers, known as catadores, collect recyclable materials and ultimately generate new modes of living within the precarious conditions of urban poverty.

978-0-8223-7036-9Bianca C. Williams’s The Pursuit of Happiness traces the experiences of African American women who travel to Jamaica and form affective relationships with Jamaican men and women that help construct notions of diasporic belonging and a form of happiness that resists the damaging intersections of racism and patriarchy in the United States.

We Wanted a Revolution: New Perspectives is the companion volume to the acclaimed Sourcebook, both of which accompany the Brooklyn Museum’s exhibition We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–1985. New Perspectives includes new essays that place the exhibition’s works in historical and contemporary contexts, poems by Alice Walker, and numerous illustrations. The exhibition is at the California African American Museum until January 14 and then travels to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo.

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Musical Duels and Troubadour Poets You Never Knew Existed

aec_photoSelf-described ethnographer-composer-academic-musician Alex E. Chávez shares a playlist and excerpts from his new book Sounds of Crossing: Music, Migration, and the Aural Poetics of Huapango Arribeño, which explores the contemporary politics of Mexican migrant cultural expression manifest in the sounds and poetics of huapango arribeño, a musical genre originating from north-central Mexico. In Sounds of Crossing, Chávez follows huapango arribeño’s improvisational performance on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border to demonstrate how Mexican migrants use music to construct meaningful communities amid the United States’ often vitriolic immigration politics.

An accomplished musician and multi-instrumentalist, Chávez has performance experience in an array of styles ranging from American popular music to traditional Mexican folk. He has recorded and toured with his own musical projects, composed documentary scores (most recently Emmy Award-winning El Despertar [2016] & Where Soldiers Come From [2011]), and has collaborated with various artists, including Grammy Award winners Quetzal and Grupo Fantasma and Latin Grammy Award-nominated Sones de México, in addition to Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra, Charanga Cakewalk/Lila Downs, and Ocote Soul Sounds. He has contributed to the volumes Making Sense of Language (2016), Latino, American, Dream (2016), Iconic Mexico (2015), Celebrating Latino Folklore (2012), and Con La Música a Otra Parte: Migración e Identidad en La Lírica Queretana (2010).

Sweat is trickling down the side of your face, welling at the back of your neck; the heat and humidity are smothering. It’s a typical sweltering July evening in Central Texas, close to ten o’clock. The incandescence of city lights in the distance washes over the starry night sky, an amber glow that crowns the ballroom outside of town where Mexican migrants have gathered. Some sit along concrete bleachers, others lean out across the flanking metal railing and peer leisurely toward the crowd of several hundred below. These soon-to-be dancers are nestled in between two stages, positioned at opposite ends of the dance floor. An indistinguishable murmur of laughter and conversation nervously crescendoes every now and then, in anticipation of the musical duel everyone is awaiting.

The multitude sways to and fro, wave after wave of shifting bodies stirring the dust beneath them into a cloud. Four silhouettes appear on one stage, moving leisurely with their instruments—two violins, a vihuela (small five-stringed chordophone), and a guitarra quinta huapanguera (larger modified eight-string bass guitar, similar to the more common six-stringed version). They assume their positions, exchange glances, and confer quietly, subtly coaxing the music about to be played. They gaze over at the other stage, now similarly occupied by a matching ensemble, waiting patiently. A collective sigh rushes across the congregation, quieting the chatter, tilting bodies forward as everyone focuses on the shadows emerging before them. Suddenly, the strumming of instruments booms out through the sound system; elaborate fiddle melodies erupt, followed by the soaring voice of the troubadour poet. The pulsing 2/4 cadence echoes forcefully, measured, trembling through the body, ascending upward, embracing those present, as do the unraveling verses. These eight musicians—composing two identical huapango arribeño ensembles—will face off in a bout of musical and poetic flyting, exchanging fiddle melodies and improvised verses all night long.

When I describe this type of musical duel—referred to as a topada (from the verb topar, to collide with)—to those unfamiliar with it, they are often amazed at the thought of an eight-, ten-, or twelve-hour back-and-forth at that level of intensity on the part of both the performers and the audience. The excessive nature of the time and energy spent is unlike so many other performance styles. In that very excess lies the conviviality, the tones and tensions, and the laborious explorations that are crucial to huapango arribeño as an intertextual and polyphonic locus of aesthetic enactments and responses. Think of huapango arribeño as a dense, musical architecture that yields a rhythmic and poetic complex. It has jagged, sharp edges in structure, timbre, and tone. There is gravity behind the sudden drops and shifts between verses and melodies. You become attentive to these modulations; they snag the ears—extreme changes that move you, catch you, confront you. Yet, despite this seemingly intense and virtuosic performance style, most of the Mexican public is unaware of this musical tradition.

Huapango arribeño originates in the Mexican states of Guanajuato, Querétaro, and San Luís Potosí, and takes its name from the Nahuatl word cuauhpanco—cuahuitl meaning ‘wood,’ pan designating ‘atop,’ and co ‘place,’ signifying ‘on top of the wood’ and referring to the wooden platform (tarima) atop which people perform patterned footwork (zapateado) to vernacular Mexican stringed music. This seems to indicate that huapango refers explicitly to ritual dance, and in part 
it does, for it may be seen as synonymous with the fandango, a social gathering centered on dance and music-making in 18th-century New Spain. The term arribeño (highlander) refers to the mountainous region of the states of Guanajuato and Querétaro (known as La Sierra Gorda) and to the midregion of San Luís Potosí (La Zona Media), which sits higher in altitude than the huasteca portion of the state, home to the Téenek (or Huastec) Indians and the more widely known huasteco style of huapango. The huasteco variant, specifically, is one of many regional string musics popularized 
in the years following the Mexican Revolution (1910–1920) as state-sponsored cultural education efforts featuring sanitized folkloric performances of select aires nacionales (national anthems) played a role in deeming certain musics ideal expressions of Mexicanidad (Mexican cultural nationalism). At the same time, radio and cinema emerged as powerful commercial vehicles for disseminating the huasteco variant. The resulting streamlined popular huapango style quickly became an emblematic sound of assumed national tradition.

Given this, the term huapango—in a more general sense—typically references its signature rhythm, in a galloping 6/8 meter. Indeed, most appreciators of Mexican music can recognize huapango in many of its variations, whether it be the accordion-based stylings of Mexico’s música norteña or rendered with dramatic bel canto air by the immortal stars of the golden era of Mexican cinema. This latter image exists as an archetype of a sort of “classic” huapango. And again, while the popularity of this music outside its region of origin owes much to the silver screen, this stylized representation lays bare
 the complicated relationship between music and nationalism in the 20th century, and subsequently sheds light on the relative absence of huapango arribeño from this story.

978-0-8223-7018-5My book Sounds of Crossing represents the first extended study of huapango arribeño, a topic otherwise absent from scholarship on Mexican music. And although ethnomusicologists, folklorists, and linguistic anthropologists will be able to glean the details of its formal musico-poetic properties—particularly its extensive use of the Spanish décima (ten-line stanza) and its topada performance style—this book follows moments of this music’s lush and improvisational performance within the lives of both audiences and practitioners, from New Year’s festivities in the highlands of Guanajuato to backyard get-togethers along the back roads of Central Texas. In doing so, it provocatively uses “sounds of crossing” as a graphic model to map the bindings and cultural adjacencies produced through the enactment of huapango arribeño’s music and poetics across this transnational geography in the late twentieth and early twenty- first centuries.

As a student and practitioner of various Mexican folk musics for over two decades, I have engaged in music-making alongside my interlocuters, transforming my own experiences into a unique perspective on the body politics of performance that has shaped my understanding of how people cross various types of borders. This was certainly the case with the research that informs Sounds of Crossing. And while my musical curiosity first compelled me to make performance a cornerstone of my ethnographic process, I soon realized it was vital to gaining a deeper understanding of huapango arribeño music-making more generally given that very few sources exist on the topic. Consulting extensive written sources of any kind was not an option, and furthermore, recordings of the music are rare and have only been made by a few select musicians. So, apprehending both the conventions that govern performance and the rhetorical logics of composition required not only that I observe performances, but also participate in them as a practitioner.

Years later, one such relationship built through research and performance resulted in a collaboration with the Smithsonian Institute where I was able to serve as lead producer of a Smithsonian Folkways recording of Guillermo Velázquez y Los Leones de la Sierra de Xichú entitled Serrano de Corazón (Highlander at Heart) (2016). This first-ever recording of its kind by an esteemed cultural institution of this caliber highlights huapango arribeño at its finest and makes anthropological knowledge of this music-culture accessible to a global audience. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings is the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian Institution, the national museum of the United States, and is dedicated to supporting increased awareness of peoples from around the world through the documentation and dissemination of sound recordings.

In this same spirit, the playlist I have compiled consists of music that represents the contemporary world of huapango arribeño. And while certainly not a definitive list, this sampling of transnational artists performing in Mexico is an excellent glimpse into both the sounds of this music and its various performative contexts. So, sit back and listen to the music and poetry of troubadour poets you probably never knew existed.

 

Tali Díaz y Los Díaz del Real—“Para que el tiempo no se quebrante” (poesía, valona, & son)

Featuring the young troubadour poet Tali Díaz and his group Los Díaz del Real, this track captures the typical huapango arribeño musical piece, which consists of three distinct components: (1) poesía— recited décimas anchored by a musico-poetic refrain; (2) decimal/valona—sung décimas accompanied by ornate violin interludes; and (3) son—violin-centered portion that displays the typical 6/8 galloping rhythm and showcases virtuosic fiddle melodies.

Guillermo Velázquez y Los Leones de la Sierra de Xichú feat. Maria Isabel “Chabe” Flores Solano—“Brota mi canto y se ufana” (valona & son)

This track is taken from the Smithsonian Folkways album Serrano de Corazón (Highlander at Heart) featuring Guillermo Velázquez y Los Leones de la Sierra de Xichú. Chabe Flores takes the helm on this decimal/valona, showcasing her trademark voice. Here, she addresses the topic of women’s empowerment and self-determination with a commanding and powerful performance. The valona is crowned by a traditional son arribeño titled “La rosita arribeña” (the rose from the highlands).

Guillermo Velázquez y Los Leones de la Sierra de Xichú—“Serrano de corazón” (poesía-inspired composition & son)

Also taken from the Smithsonian Folkways album Serrano de Corazón, this song typifies both the lyrical virtuosity and musical energy Guillermo Velázquez y Los Leones de la Sierra de Xichú bring to their live performances. The song is a hybrid form that alternates between recited décimas—in the spirit of the poesía portion previously described—and a lively canción portion played in 6/8 that features harmonized lyrics in the style of the huapango-canción and canción típica genres. The track ends with another variant of the son “La rosita arribeña.”

El Conjunto de Pedro Sauceda—“La virgen tendió su manto en la tierra del placer” (jarabe)

Taken from the set of albums titled Antologia del Son de Mexico released by Discos Corasón in 1985, this track features El Conjunto de Pedro Sauceda performing a traditional jarabe arribeño. The name jarabe is an analogous reference to the drug of the same name, which is made of various healing herbs, and the musical jarabe is similarly composed of various musical sounds and melodies that give it structure.

Toño Escalante y Conjunto Los Gorrioncillos de la Sierra—“El pajarillo” (son)

Also taken from the Antologia del Son de Mexico (1985), this track features Toño Escalante y Conjunto Los Gorriones de La Sierra performing a traditional son arribeño “El Pajarillo”.

Las Palomitas Serranas with Ángel González (jarabes & son)

This is a live performance featuring the all-female huapango group Las Palomitas Serranas with veteran troubadour poet Ángel González. The group is performing a traditional jarabe arribeño as they arrive in the rural hamlet of Palomas, Guanajuato for an artistic summit centered around Ibero-American music and poetry.

Guillermo Velázquez y Los Leones de la Sierra de Xichú—“La topada de poetas”

Also taken from the Smithsonian Folkways album Serrano de Corazón, “La topada de poetas” is Velázquez’s magnum opus on this album, which both narrates
 and performs the atmosphere of the topada, vividly detailing the portions of the marathon encounter, as night turns into day. It begins with a shortened poesía with a narrated ending, followed by an instrumental polka (typically called a pieza) with narration. Another shortened poesía with a narrated ending ensues, which then introduces two poesías de bravata (boasting poesías, wherein poets engage each other in banter and jibes)—here, Vincent Velázquez and Nicacio López take on the roles of opposing poets. Finally, Guillermo Velázquez performs a valona, followed by an extended jarabe, which captures the climactic energy of the topada in full bloom, when violinists are locked in after several hours, stretching out the music while the zapateado of the audience echoes out in percussive response.

Ángel González with Las Palomitas Serranas (pieza [polka])

This is a live performance featuring the troubadour poet Ángel González with members of the all-female huapango group Las Palomitas Serranas. The group is performing a traditional instrumental polka (typically called a pieza) in the rural hamlet of Palomas, Guanajuato.

Santa Vibra feat. Maria Isabel “Chabe” Flores Solano & Tali Díaz—“Llegar al mesón” (huapango)

While not a traditional huapango arribeño, this track is nonetheless in the galloping 6/8 huapango style and features a duet between Maria Isabel “Chabe” Flores Solano and troubadour poet Tali Díaz. The group Santa Vibra provides the musical backing.

Los Tiradores—“Otro ratito nomas” (valona from Michoacán)

Taken from the album Michoacán: sones de la Tierra Caliente produced by Fonoteca del INAH (the official sound library of the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History), this track features the group Los Tiradores performing a valona typical to the stringed music genre of the state of Michoacán known as son de la Tierra Caliente. I have included this example to demonstrate the musical and poetic similarities the valona maintains across genres. As you will hear, both valona variants feature décima poetry, and the principle violin interlude—referred to as the valoneado in huapango arribeño—expresses some melodic resemblance in both styles.

Los Caporales—“Jarabe ranchero” (jarabe from Michoacán)

Also taken from the album Michoacán: sones de la Tierra Caliente, this track features the group Los Caporales performing a jarabe typical to the son de la Tierra Caliente of Michoacán. This example likewise demonstrates the musical and poetic similarities the jarabe expresses across genres, particularly the virtuosic bundling of violin melodies.

Want to read more about huapango arribeño? Pick up Alex Chávez’s book Sounds of Crossing for 30% off using coupon code E17SOUND on dukeupress.edu.

David Garcia’s Listening for Africa Playlist

978-0-8223-6370-5DSC04996Today, David F. Garcia offers a playlist to accompany his new book Listening for Africa: Freedom, Modernity, and the Logic of Black Music’s African Origins. You can save 30% on the paperback with coupon code E17LISTN.

Taking on a topic like the discourse of a music’s origins entails following multiple artistic, disciplinary, and political directions. Of course, setting boundaries helps make such an endeavor feasible but no less massive. In Listening for Africa I look at a group of fascinating individuals, some well known and others not so well known, who from varying perspectives engaged the idea and nature of black music and dance’s African origins. Their reasons for engaging this idea were not merely didactical but rather to change their world. From the Great Depression, Jim Crow, and the rise of Nazism to World War II, the Cold War, and African decolonization, citizens of the modern world invested their place in it drawing from modernity’s promises of freedom through knowledge, art, and work. Only, the realization of freedom for many would be deferred by modernity’s discursive defaults.

The following audio recordings and films are explored in depth in the book. Listen and watch as you read about the individuals depicted in them and their journeys living in their shared modern world, turbulent though it was.

Chapter 1. Analyzing the African Origins of Negro Music and Dance in a Time of Racism, Fascism, and War

“Ag’ya,” Jamaica & Martinique Fieldwork, 1936, video clip #19, filmed by Katherine Dunham. Music Division, Library of Congress.

L’ag’ya, scene 3, the Katherine Dunham Company, Studebaker Theater, Chicago, 1947, filmed by Ann Barzel.

Chapter 2. Listening to Africa in the City, in the Laboratory, and on Record

“Tambó,” Gilberto Valdés y su Orquesta, recorded with Victor (V83315), Havana, 1940.

“Sangre Africana,” Gilberto Valdés y su Orquesta, recorded with Victor (V 83315), Havana, 1940

“Toitica la Negra,” Katherine Dunham and Ensemble, recorded with Decca (40028), New York, 1945.

“Abakuá song,” Harold Courland: Cuba, Eastern and central regions, Afro-Cubans (253.4), Guanabacoa, 1940.

“Elube Chango,” Harold Courland: Cuba, Eastern and central regions, Afro-Cubans (252.4), Havana, 1940.

“Elube Chango,” Casino de la Playa with Miguelito Valdés, recorded with Victor (V 82770), Havana, 1939.

Chapter 3. Embodying Africa against Racial Oppression, Ignorance, and Colonialism

Sanders of the River (London Film Productions, 1935) featuring Paul Robeson as Bozambo. Boat-rowing scene occurs at 1:07:00.

Nabonga (PRC Pictures, 1944). Modupe Paris appears at 14:23 and 15:45.

Chapter 4. Disalienating Movement and Sound from the Pathologies of Freedom and Time

Liberian Suite, Duke Ellington and His Orchestra, Carnegie Hall, New York, 1947.

Film No. 4, Harry Smith, ca. 1950.

“Manteca,” Dizzy Gillespie and His Orchestra, recorded with RCA Victor (47-2860), New York, 1947.

“Guarachi guaro,” Dizzy Gillespie and His Orchestra, recorded with RCA Victor (20-3370), New York, 1948.

Chapter 5. Desiring Africa, or Western Civilization’s Discontents

“Rareza del siglo,” Julio Cueva y su Orquesta, recorded with Victor (23-0677), Havana, 1946.

“José” as performed by Pérez Prado in the film Al son del mambo (Filmadora Chapultepec, 1950).

“Kon-Toma,” Pérez Prado y su Orquesta, recorded with Victor (23-1344), Havana, 1949.

“Qué te pasa, José” as performed by Amalia Aguilar and Silvestre Méndez in Ritmos del Caribe (Compañía Cinematográfica Mexicana, 1950).

Del can can al mambo (Producciones Calderón S.A., 1951). Mambo dancing displaying symptoms of el mal de San Vito occurs at 1:21:53.

New Books in July

Happy summer to you! July brings some great new books for you to enjoy. Check them out:

In Dust of the Zulu, LouiseMeintjes w border Meintjes traces the history and the political and aesthetic significance of ngoma, a competitive form of dance and music that emerged out of the legacies of colonialism and apartheid in South Africa, showing how it embodies Zulu masculinity and the expanse of South Africa’s violent history.

Nick Nesbitt’s collection The Concept in Crisis—which includes contributions from Alain Badiou, Étienne Balibar, Emily Apter, Warren Montag, and Bruno Bosteels—reconsiders the landmark 1965 work Reading Capital and renews its call for a symptomatic critique of capitalism and culture for the twenty-first century.

Garcia

David F. Garcia’s Listening for Africa examines the work of a wide range of musicians, dancers, academics, and activists between the 1930s and the 1950s to show how their belief in black music’s African roots would provide the means to debunk racist ideologies, aid decolonization of Africa, and ease racial violence.

James R. Barrett, in History from the Bottom Up and Inside Out, rethinks the boundaries of American working-class history by investigating the ways in which working-class people’s personal lives intersected with their activism and religious, racial, ethnic, and class identities.

Marso w border

In Politics with Beauvoir, Lori Marso treats Simone de Beauvoir’s feminist theory and practice as part of her political theory, arguing that freedom is Beauvoir’s central concern and that this is best apprehended through the notion of the encounter.

Originally published in 1937, C. L. R. James’s World Revolution is a pioneering Marxist analysis of the revolutionary history in the interwar period, the fundamental conflict between Trotsky and Stalin, and the ideological contestations within the Communist International and its role in the Soviet Union and international revolution. Published to commemorate the centenary of the Russian Revolution, this definitive edition of World Revolution features a new introduction by Christian Høgsbjerg and includes rare archival material, selected contemporary reviews, and extracts from James’s 1939 interview with Trotsky.

Price w border

Distinguished anthropologists Richard and Sally Price, in Saamaka Dreaming, look back at their first years living among the Saamaka maroons in Suriname in the late 1960s and retell the evolution of their personal lives and careers, relationships with the Saamaka, and the field of anthropology.

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A Vinyl Freak Playlist by John Corbett

Today’s post is a playlist by John Corbett, author of Vinyl Freak:  Love Letters to a Dying Medium. Corbett is a music critic, record producer, and curator. He is the author of Microgroove: Forays into Other Music and Extended Play: Sounding Off from John Cage to Dr. Funkenstein, both also published by Duke University Press, and A Listener’s Guide to Free Improvisation. His writing has appeared in DownBeat, Bomb, Nka, and numerous other publications. He is the co-owner of Corbett vs. Dempsey, an art gallery in Chicago.

978-0-8223-6366-8_prOne of my preoccupations in writing about music and curating visual art has been the dialogue between material culture and cultural history. When artifacts move from being available to being unavailable, passing into a phase of having previously been available, their status as part of the historical record shifts. Notice of their existence becomes tenuous. Sometimes things are actively excluded, sometimes they’re rediscovered, or maybe they are lost forever. Just try to find tenor saxophonist Tommy Madman Jones’s LP Madman Speaks—virtually impossible! Susan Hiller’s beautiful, bittersweet video installation The Last Silent Movie (2007-08), which strings together a series of fragments of people telling stories in extinct or nearly extinct languages, brings such an idea to a visceral conclusion, suggesting the loss of entire lexicons and syntaxes and speech patterns. As a world, we are proportionately poorer for such vanishings.

In Vinyl Freak: Love Letters to a Dying Medium, I assembled most of the monthly (and later bi-monthly) columns that I composed for DownBeat magazine over a dozen years starting at the outset of the new millennium. These were dedicated to LPs, singles, and a few acetates or 78 rpm shellacs, all of which had fallen out of print and had never been reissued on CD. My aim, more than fluffing my record collector feathers, was to suggest the ways in which musical culture is written and rewritten in concert with its material self. Along the way, certain subthemes emerged, often unintentionally. For this playlist, I’ve extracted one of them: soul-jazz. In working on the column I was (and I continue to be) quite surprised how many wonderful records in this mode—funky, bluesy, organ-oriented, mostly recorded in the ‘50s and ‘60s, many of them for Chicago’s prolific Argo label—were impossible to find on disc. Indeed some of them are even now inaccessible on YouTube, where so much musical esoterica has resurfaced over the last decade.

Get in the good groove!

The Three Sounds, “Fannie Mae,” from Dangerous Dan Express

Thornel Schwartz with Bill Leslie, “Blue and Dues” from Soul Cookin’

 Gloria Coleman Quartet with Pola Roberts, “Funky Rob,” from Soul Sisters

Melvin Jackson, “Bold and Black,” from Funky Skull

Tommy Madman Jones, “Hi Fi Apartment,” 7-inch single

Bill Leslie, “Angel Eyes,” from Diggin’ the Chicks

A.K. Salim, “Salute to Zulu,” from Afro-Soul/Drum Orgy

Jack Wilson featuring Roy Ayers, from Ramblin’

Johnny Shacklett Trio, from Live at The Hoffman House

Cozy Eggleston, “Sweet Merri Dee,” from Grand Slam

Johnny Lytle Trio, “Blue Vibes,” from Blue Vibes

 To purchase Vinyl Freak at a 30% discount, use coupon code E17VINYL when ordering from our website.

Astor Piazzolla and Lalo Schifrin, New York, 1958

978-0-8223-6236-4We’re pleased to share a guest blog post from Matthew Karush, author of the new book Musicians in Transit: Argentina and the Globalization of Popular Music.

In Musicians in Transit, I explore the careers of seven Argentine musicians across the twentieth century. My focus is on how these artists navigated the economic and ideological structures of the global music business. Whether they played tango, folk, jazz, pop, or rock, all of these musicians recorded for multinational companies, performed for foreign audiences and critics, and engaged with foreign genres and musicians. These encounters imposed creative limits, but they also opened up opportunities. In response, Argentine musicians produced innovative music and achieved commercial success while generating new ways of conceptualizing their identities. Their aesthetic and commercial maneuvers both shifted global perceptions of Latin American music and enabled their Argentine fans to reimagine their own relationship to the rest of the world.

The North American travels of tango innovator Astor Piazzolla and jazz pianist and composer Lalo Schifrin provide revealing examples of how Argentine musicians responded to foreign expectations. Coincidentally, Piazzolla and Schifrin followed similar itineraries in the 1950s: both left Buenos Aires for Paris in 1954, returned shortly thereafter, and then moved to New York City in 1958. When they traveled in Europe and the United States, they were both perceived as “Latin,” a quasi-ethnic identity that implied a series of musical stereotypes. This perception exerted a profound impact on the kind of music they would go on to make, although that impact was very different in the two cases.

By the time he moved to New York (or returned there – Piazzolla actually grew up in New York City), Piazzolla was an accomplished tango composer and arranger as well as a performer on the bandoneón, the accordion-like instrument featured in tango bands. In the mid-fifties, he had developed an avant-garde version of the tango, which sounded like this:

This is “Lo que vendrá,” from 1956. It shows Piazzolla trying to infuse tango with the sophistication of both classical music and modern jazz.

Piazzolla was clearly enthusiastic about opening the tango up to foreign influences. In New York, he planned to create a new group that would attract a North American audience by performing a hybrid of jazz and tango. Yet as an Argentine in the United States, Piazzolla was seen as Latin, and musically, Latin meant Cuban drums and rhythms. As a result, Piazzolla’s big break in New York came from Tico Records, a local label that specialized in mambo and other Latin dance genres. Tico paired Piazzolla’s group with a Latin percussion section including Johnny Pacheco, the future salsa innovator.  Here they are playing the Duke Ellington standard, “Sophisticated Lady”:

The choice of material, the vibraphone, and the long bandoneón solo all reveal Piazzolla’s intention to borrow from jazz. But the inclusion of the bongos sets the music against a stereotypical Latin rhythm. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this funny-sounding hybrid failed to find an audience in the US.

Chastened, Piazzolla abandoned his attempt to win over a North American audience and returned to Buenos Aires in 1960. Interestingly, the music he made over the next few years, on the heels of his New York failure, represented his most impressive burst of creativity and innovation and would largely set the template for the rest of his career. His new band was called the Quinteto Nuevo Tango (pictured on the cover of my book). Here it is in 1963 performing Piazzolla’s composition, “Fracanapa”:

As I argue in the book, this music avoided the “fusion” strategy of his New York phase. He was now free of the need to appeal to North American listeners or to fit into the category of Latin music. Inspired by modern jazz, his music sounded like a cosmopolitan version of tango, or as he liked to describe it, “the contemporary music of Buenos Aires.” On the strength of this music, Piazzolla became an icon in Argentina, but he would not achieve a significant audience in the United States until the 1980s.

Lalo Schifrin’s response to the Latin label was very different. Eleven years younger than Piazzolla, Schifrin was a jazz wunderkind with a deep love of bebop and no interest in the tango or in any other Latin American musical genre. Nevertheless, by the mid-1950s, the idea of “Latin jazz,” conceived as a mixture of jazz improvisation with Cuban rhythms, was well established. This category, and the larger one of Latin music, created opportunities for someone like Schifrin, who combined impressive musical skills with Latin American ancestry. Shortly after moving to New York, Schifrin took a job as pianist and arranger for the Latin bandleader Xavier Cugat. Here he is performing with the Cugat band on US television:

The video demonstrates Schifrin’s showmanship, but it also reveals the way he was able to play the role of an authentic practitioner of what the television announcer calls “the modern Latin form.” Similarly, within a couple of years, Schifrin was helping to popularize bossa nova, the Brazilian samba-jazz hybrid, both as the pianist in Dizzy Gillespie’s quintet and as a solo artist:

In late 1963, Schifrin’s career took a definitive turn when he began composing music for movies and TV. His reputation as a Latin music master helped him get his first Hollywood jobs, and many of his early compositions bear the traces of this background. His most famous composition is no exception:

Not only do the bongos give “Mission Impossible” a Latin flavor, but as I argue in the book, the song’s dominant theme plays with listeners’ expectation of the clave, the basic rhythmic cell of Afro-Cuban music. Although Schifrin quickly jettisoned the Latin label and has enjoyed a long career composing in a wide variety of styles, his original reception as a Latin music specialist facilitated his access to US audiences and shaped some of his most influential work.

Piazzolla and Schifrin had opposite experiences in the US: Piazzolla failed to find an audience and quickly returned to Argentina, while Schifrin succeeded and stayed. Nevertheless, they both developed their musical personalities and innovations by grappling with the expectations imposed on them by North Americans.

Use coupon code E16KARUS to save 30% on Musicians in Transit when you order through our website.

November Events

November is a great time to head out to local bookstores and other venues and meet our authors.

spillReaders in Durham, Montreal, and Atlanta can all catch poet Alexis Pauline Gumbs this month.
November 1: Alexis Gumbs will read from her new book Spill at The Regulator.
7:00pm, 720 Ninth Street, Durham, NC 27705

November 9:  The Concordia Centre will host a workshop Alexis Gumbs and Rachel Zellars around her book Spill.
6:00pm,  H-763, Hall Building,  1455 de Maisonneuve West, Annex V-01, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1M8

November 18: Spill author Alexis Gumbs will be at Charis Books to discuss her book.
7:30pm, 1189 Euclid Ave. NE, Atlanta, GA 30307

978-0-8223-5931-9November 5: Shane Greene will participate in a panel discussion at Cornell University for their Musicology Colloquium.
3:00pm, Klarman Hall Auditorium KG70, 232 East Ave, Ithaca, NY 14850

November 7: Shapeshifters author Aimee Cox will be at the University of Miami to discuss “Black Girlhood.”
12:00pm, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL 33143

November 10: Christina Sharpe speaks at Northwestern University on her book In the Wake.
12:00pm, Northwestern University, TGS Commons, 2122 Sheridan Road, 1st Floor, Evanston, IL 60208
Followed by a conversation with Alex Weheliye.
5:30pm, Harris Hall 108, Evanston, IL 60208

Cahan cover image, 5897-8November 12: Susan Cahan will be at Laumeier Sculpture Park to discuss and sign copies for her book Mounting Frustration.
1:00pm, 12580 Rott Road, Adam Aronson Fine Arts Center, St. Louis, Missouri 63127

November 14: Susan Cahan in conversation with Lowery Stokes Sims at the Museum of Modern Art on her book Mounting Frustration.
7:00pm, Education and Research Center, Theater 3, 11 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019

November 17: Hettie Jones will discuss her new book, Love, H, at the Poets House. This is a ticketed event.
7:00pm, Kray Hall, 10 River Terrace, New York, NY 10282

November is also a huge month for conferences. Be sure to come by our booths at the National Women’s Studies Association, Society for Ethnomusicology, American Studies Association, American Anthropological Association, American Academy of Religion, American Society for Theater Research, American Society for Ethnohistory, Middle East Studies Association, and African Studies Association. Save 30% on all our titles in the booths and meet our staff members.