New Book—Chocolate Surrealism: Music, Movement, Memory, and History in the Circum-Caribbean

choc781496806895Chocolate Surrealism: Music, Movement, Memory, and History in the Circum-Caribbean (University Press of Mississippi, 2016) is a new book by by Njoroge Njoroge. The book has been described as “A vibrant take on the global connections empowering Caribbean music and its global transferences.” [Many thanks to Ifeona Fulani for sharing this item via FB.]

Description: In Chocolate Surrealism Njoroge Njoroge highlights connections among the production, performance, and reception of popular music at critical historical junctures in the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The author sifts different origins and styles to place socio-musical movements into a larger historical framework. Calypso reigned during the turbulent interwar period and the ensuing crises of capitalism. The Cuban rumba/son complex enlivened the postwar era of American empire. Jazz exploded in the Bandung period and the rise of decolonization. And, lastly, Nuyorican Salsa coincided with the period of the civil rights movement and the beginnings of black/brown power. Njoroge illuminates musics of the circum-Caribbean as culturally and conceptually integrated within the larger history of the region. He pays close attention to the fractures, fragmentations, and historical particularities that both unite and divide the region’s sounds. At the same time, he engages with a larger discussion of the Atlantic world.

Njoroge examines the deep interrelations between music, movement, memory, and history in the African diaspora. He finds the music both a theoretical anchor and a mode of expression and representation of black identities and political cultures. Music and performance offer ways for the author to re-theorize the intersections of race, nationalism and musical practice, and geopolitical connections. Further music allows Njoroge a reassessment of the development of the modern world system, through local, popular responses to the global age. The book analyzes different styles, times, and politics to render a brief history of Black Atlantic sound.

Njoroge Njoroge (Honolulu, Hawaii) is an associate professor in the Department of History at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. He works on musics of the African diaspora, Caribbean and Latin American history, Marxism and critical theory.

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