Focus: Music of the Caribbean presents the most important issues of Caribbean musical history and current practice, discussing thought-provoking questions in a student-friendly fashion. It uses current ethnomusicological research on Caribbean music to tell the stories of Caribbean history—those of colonialism and neocolonialism, race and nationalism, marginalization and globalization—and to explore that history’s continuing impact on the lives, cultures, musics, and dance of modern-day people in the Caribbean and beyond.
In three parts, the text presents an embodied understanding of the sounds, rhythms, and movements that exemplify the history, culture, and politics of Caribbean music:
I. Caribbean Music and Caribbean History establishes a framework for thinking about Caribbean musical history and the roles race and migration play
II. Music and Dance in Caribbean Societies considers how contrasting forms of dance music reconcile competing ideas about Caribbean identities past and present
III. Focusing In: The Social Lives of Musical Instruments in Merengue Típico explores the music of the Dominican Cibao region through a focus of the genre’s dominant musical instruments
Accessible to all students regardless of musical background, Focus: Music of the Caribbean is bolstered by web resources, including more than sixty detailed listening guides and accompanying playlists, vocabulary lists, and student quizzes. Discussion questions and activities for each chapter are featured in the text.
PART I: Caribbean Music and Caribbean History / 1. Three Cultures / 2. The First Caribbeans / 3. European Music and Caribbean Traditions / 4. African Musical Legacies / PART II: Music and Dance in Caribbean Societies: An Intersectional View of Embodied Culture / 5. Sacred Music, Dance, and Race: Dominican Palos and Cuban Santería / 6. Dance Music, Gender, and Marginality: Dominican Bachata and Jamaican Dancehall / 7. Dance Music, Race, and Nation: A Tale of Many Merengues / PART III: Focusing In: The Social Lives of Musical Instruments in Merengue Típico / 8. Accordion / 9. Güira / 10. Tambora / 11. Epilogue
The Focus on World Music Series is designed specifically for area courses in world music and ethnomusicology. Written by the top ethnomusicologists in their field, the Focus books balance sound pedagogy with exemplary scholarship. Each book provides a telescopic view of the musics and cultures addressed, giving the reader a general introduction on the music and culture of the area and then zooming in on different musical styles with in-depth case studies.