New Book: From Vodou to Zouk, a Bibliographic Guide to the Music of the French-speaking Caribbean

John Gray’s From Vodou to Zouk: A Bibliographic Guide to the Music of the French-speaking Caribbean and its Diaspora (African Diaspora Press, 2010) with a foreword by Julian Gerstin, is the first volume in African Diaspora Press’ Black Music Reference Series.

This landmark work documents vernacular music traditions of the French- and Creole-speaking Caribbean. Its nearly 1300 entries cover all of the French-speaking islands, in particular Haiti, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and French Guiana, as well as their overseas enclaves in France, the United States, and Canada. Idioms covered range from the liturgical music of Haitian Vodou to folk and popular dance musics such as kalenda, bélé, compas, zouk, ragga, and more. A lengthy biographical and critical section provides information on more than 350 of the region’s leading musicians and producers. Most works are in English, French, and Spanish, with a few in Creole. Interdisciplinary in scope, the book offers a wide spectrum of perspectives, chiefly from the humanities and social sciences, which range from academic studies to popular reportage. An introduction by the compiler and a scholarly foreword by ethnomusicologist Julian Gerstin help to contextualize the history of the region and its vibrant musical legacy.

John Gray is director of the Black Arts Research Center in Nyack, New York. His previous publications include African Music (1991); Fire Music: A Bibliography of the New Jazz, 1959-1990 (1991); Blacks in Classical Music (1988); Blacks in Film and Television (1990); Black Theatre and Performance (1990); and, Ashe, Traditional Religion and Healing in Sub-Saharan Africa and the Diaspora (1989), all published by Greenwood Press.

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