Chocolate SurrealismMusic, Movement, Memory, and History in the Circum-Caribbean

Chocolate SurrealismMusic, Movement, Memory, and History in the Circum-Caribbean

Njoroge Njoroge

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9781496806895

Publisher: University Press of Mississippi


Chocolate Surrealism: Music, Movement, Memory and History is a (w)holistic historiography of the circum-Caribbean region. The book highlights connections among the production, performance, and reception of popular music at critical historical junctures in the late 19th and 20th centuries. The book moves through different sites and styles to place socio-musical movements into a larger historical framework: Calypso during the turbulent interwar period and the ensuing crises of capitalism; the Cuban rumba/son complex of the postwar era of American empire; jazz in the Bandung period and the rise of decolonization; and, lastly, Nuyorican Salsa coinciding with the period of the civil rights movement and the beginnings of black/brown power. The book thinks about the circum-Caribbean region as integrated culturally and conceptually while paying close attention to the fractures, fragmentations, and historical particularities that both unite and divide the region. At the same time, the book engages with a larger discussion of the Atlantic world. The project interrogates the interrelation between music, movement, memory, and history, a ‘contrapuntal’ analysis that treats the music of the African diaspora as both epistemological anchor and as a mode of expression and representation of both black identities and political cultures. Music and performance offer ways to re-theorize the politics of race, nationalism and musical practice, geopolitical conjunctures, as well as re-assess the historical development of the modern world system, through the examination of local, popular responses to the global age. In short, the book utilizes different styles, times, and politics to render a brief history of Black Atlantic sound.