Small Axe presents “Musical Passage: A Voyage to 1688 Jamaica”

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Musical Passage: A Voyage to 1688 Jamaica” is a Small Axe Project Commons Event hosted by sx archipelagos, featuring Laurent Dubois, David Garner, and Mary Caton Lingold. The material will be available from June 19 to 23, 2017. See details below. [Also see previous post sx CFP for Digital Humanities Projects in Caribbean Studies/.]

Description: Musical Passage uses a digital format to explore a unique artifact of early African diasporic music. The site is designed around two pages from eighteenth-century British naturalist and collector Hans Sloane’s A Voyage to the Islands (1707), which documents his time in Jamaica in the late 1680s. The pages of Voyage that have been placed at the center of this site present notation of songs played at a “festival.” This material is precious and fascinating, representing the earliest notation we have of music produced by enslaved Africans in the Caribbean or North America. The performers whose music is represented and interpreted here were likely survivors of the Middle Passage who may have been playing music they had learned in their homelands. They may also have been in the process of creating entirely new performance traditions.

sx archipelagos will host a series of week-long experimental events to reconnect our audiences with the content of our inaugural issue. In an effort to truly take advantage of – and not merely pay lip service to – the affordances of the digital, we are interested in maximizing the dynamic presence of the journal’s content in the world – beyond the periodicity of publication. As such, we have initiated a commons space of sorts – punctual opportunities for our community of readers to enter into dialogue with our contributors, leaving comments on and posing questions about their work via the open annotation tool hypothes.is. Contributors will monitor their pages throughout the week-long commons event, responding to and engaging with their audience.

Please join us in this experiment by checking out Laurent Dubois, David Garner, and Mary Caton Lingold’s Musical Passage – 19-23 June. To leave a comment or ask a question, simply set up an account with hypothes.is. Once you’ve done that, engaging with the site is as easy as selecting the passage you want to address, and clicking on the comment button. For more detailed instructions, the creators of the tool have provided excellent documentation. You might also have a look at this video. Note that the technology works best on the Chrome browser.

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