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Other titles in the Music of the African Diaspora series:
Music of the African Diaspora #15: Funky Nassau: Roots, Routes, and Representation in Bahamian Popular Musicby Timothy Rommen
Synopses & Reviews
Timothy Rommen has done it again. After the success of his earlier award-winning study of gospel music in Trinidad and the ethics of style, Rommen turns his attention to the complex and conflicted history of music in the Bahamas. Drawing upon extensive ethnographic and historical research, Rommen explores the interrelationships between rake-n-scrape, goombay, and Junkanoo performance, and shows how such local musics are implicated in Bahamian understandings of national identity. In Funky Nassau, Timothy Rommen confirms his status as one of the best scholars of Caribbean music today.”
—Michael Largey, author of Vodou Nation: Haitian Art Music and Cultural Nationalism
"This sensitive, bittersweet account of music-making in the Bahamas shows how a small, fragmented country that has been buffeted by powerful currents emanating from both the United States and the Caribbean has managed to produce a vibrant popular music of its own. Rommen carefully maps the political and cultural economies that are integral to this story, but he keeps the musicians themselves, their aesthetics and strategies, at the center where they belong. The result is a vivid and finely nuanced portrait of a unique musical culture that deserves to be better known."
—Kenneth Bilby, Center for Black Music Research, Columbia College Chicago
This book examines the role music has played in the formation of the political and national identity of the Bahamas. Timothy Rommen analyzes Bahamian musical life as it has been influenced and shaped by the islands location between the United States and the rest of the Caribbean; tourism; and Bahamian colonial and postcolonial history. Focusing on popular music in the second half of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, in particular rake-n-scrape and Junkanoo, Rommen finds a Bahamian music that has remained culturally rooted in the local even as it has undergone major transformations. Highlighting the ways entertainers have represented themselves to Bahamians and to tourists, Funky Nassau illustrates the shifting terrain that musicians navigated during the rapid growth of tourism and in the aftermath of independence.
About the Author
Timothy Rommen is Associate Professor in the Department of Music at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Mek Some Noise: Gospel Music and the Ethics of Style in Trinidad (UC Press), which in 2008 was awarded the Alan Merriam Prize from the Society for Ethnomusicology.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Map of the Bahamas
1. Nassaus Gone Funky: Sounding Some Themes in Bahamian Music
2. "Muddy da Water": Provincializing the Center, or Recentering the Periphery through Rake-n-Scrape
3. "Calypso Island": Exporting the Local, Particularizing the Region, and Developing the Sounds of Goombay
4. "Gone ta Bay": Institutionalizing Junkanoo, Festivalizing the Nation
5. "A New Day Dawning": Cosmopolitanism, Roots, and Identity in the Postcolony
6. "Back to the Island": Travels in Paradox—Creating the Future-Past
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