Cover image for Awakening spaces : French Caribbean popular songs, music, and culture
Title:
Awakening spaces : French Caribbean popular songs, music, and culture
Author:
Berrian, Brenda F.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Chicago, [Ill.] : University of Chicago Press, [2000]

©2000
Physical Description:
xiv, 287 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780226044552

9780226044569
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library ML3486.A1 B47 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
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Summary

Summary

The fast-paced zouk of Kassav', the romantic biguine of Malavoi, the jazz of Fal Frett, the ballads of Mona, and reggae of Kali and Pôglo are all part of the burgeoning popular music scene in the French Caribbean. In this lively book, Brenda F. Berrian chronicles the rise of this music, which has captivated the minds and bodies of the Francophone world and elsewhere.

Based on personal interviews and discussions of song texts, Berrian shows how these musicians express their feelings about current and past events, about themselves, their islands, and the French. Through their lyrical themes, these songs create metaphorical "spaces" that evoke narratives of desire, exile, subversion, and Creole identity and experiences. Berrian opens up these spaces to reveal how the artists not only engage their listeners and effect social change, but also empower and identify themselves. She also explores the music as it relates to the art of drumming, and to genres such as African American and Latin jazz and reggae. With Awakening Spaces, Berrian adds fresh insight into the historical struggles and arts of the French Caribbean.


Summary

The fast-paced zouk of Kassav', the romantic biguine of Malavoi, the jazz of Fal Frett, the ballads of Mona, and reggae of Kali and Pôglo are all part of the burgeoning popular music scene in the French Caribbean. In this lively book, Brenda F. Berrian chronicles the rise of this music, which has captivated the minds and bodies of the Francophone world and elsewhere.

Based on personal interviews and discussions of song texts, Berrian shows how these musicians express their feelings about current and past events, about themselves, their islands, and the French. Through their lyrical themes, these songs create metaphorical "spaces" that evoke narratives of desire, exile, subversion, and Creole identity and experiences. Berrian opens up these spaces to reveal how the artists not only engage their listeners and effect social change, but also empower and identify themselves. She also explores the music as it relates to the art of drumming, and to genres such as African American and Latin jazz and reggae. With Awakening Spaces, Berrian adds fresh insight into the historical struggles and arts of the French Caribbean.


Author Notes

Brenda F. Berrian is professor of Africana Studies, English, and Women's Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a visiting professor in both Europe and Africa and is the author of Africa, Harlem, Haiti: The Great Black Cultural Revolution and coeditor of Bibliography of Women Writers from the Caribbean: 1831-1968 .


Brenda F. Berrian is professor of Africana Studies, English, and Women's Studies at the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a visiting professor in both Europe and Africa and is the author of Africa, Harlem, Haiti: The Great Black Cultural Revolution and coeditor of Bibliography of Women Writers from the Caribbean: 1831-1968 .


Reviews 2

Choice Review

Berrian (Univ. of Pittsburgh) examines how French West Indian musicians and song writers have produced empowerment and identity through popular music genres such as biguine, zouk, b`el`e, and gwo ka. The author devotes each chapter to a different "space" of cultural production, including memories of childhood and exile, Creole hybridity, female subversion of patriarchy, black cultural resistance, markets and performances, musical boundary crossing, and the symbolic power of the drum in the African diaspora. Although especially concerned with song lyrics, Berrian also sensitively explores performances and notes the signifying potential of musical sound. Interviews, description, and analysis of recordings and performances all make this a work of originality and substance and a welcome addition to the literature on Creole popular music, which includes Zouk, by Jocelyne Guilbault (CH, Jun'94), and A Day for the Hunter, a Day for the Prey: Popular Music and Power in Haiti, by Gage Averill (CH, Nov'97). Riding a wave of interest in Creole literature and linguistics, this book should appeal not only to ethnomusicologists, Caribbeanists, cultural anthropologists, and sociologists of music, but also to scholars in comparative literature, women's studies, Africana studies, and comparative linguistics. Undergraduates through professionals. G. Averill; New York University


Choice Review

Berrian (Univ. of Pittsburgh) examines how French West Indian musicians and song writers have produced empowerment and identity through popular music genres such as biguine, zouk, b`el`e, and gwo ka. The author devotes each chapter to a different "space" of cultural production, including memories of childhood and exile, Creole hybridity, female subversion of patriarchy, black cultural resistance, markets and performances, musical boundary crossing, and the symbolic power of the drum in the African diaspora. Although especially concerned with song lyrics, Berrian also sensitively explores performances and notes the signifying potential of musical sound. Interviews, description, and analysis of recordings and performances all make this a work of originality and substance and a welcome addition to the literature on Creole popular music, which includes Zouk, by Jocelyne Guilbault (CH, Jun'94), and A Day for the Hunter, a Day for the Prey: Popular Music and Power in Haiti, by Gage Averill (CH, Nov'97). Riding a wave of interest in Creole literature and linguistics, this book should appeal not only to ethnomusicologists, Caribbeanists, cultural anthropologists, and sociologists of music, but also to scholars in comparative literature, women's studies, Africana studies, and comparative linguistics. Undergraduates through professionals. G. Averill; New York University


Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1 The Safe Space: Malavoi's Nostalgic Songs of Childhood and Exile
2 Creole, Zouk, and Identity in Kassav's Optimistic Songs
3 More Than a Doudou: Women's Subversive Songs
4 Cultural Politics and Black Resistance as Sites of Struggle
5 Public Performance, Marketing Devices, and Audience Reception
6 The Recontextualization of Urban Music
7 A Deferential Space for the Drum: The Ambivalence of a Cultural Voice
Epilogue
Notes
Bibliography Discography
List of Interviews
Index
Acknowledgments
Introduction
1 The Safe Space: Malavoi's Nostalgic Songs of Childhood and Exile
2 Creole, Zouk, and Identity in Kassav's Optimistic Songs
3 More Than a Doudou: Women's Subversive Songs
4 Cultural Politics and Black Resistance as Sites of Struggle
5 Public Performance, Marketing Devices, and Audience Reception
6 The Recontextualization of Urban Music
7 A Deferential Space for the Drum: The Ambivalence of a Cultural Voice
Epilogue
Notes
Bibliography Discography
List of Interviews
Index

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