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Awakening Spaces

French Caribbean Popular Songs, Music, and Culture

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.

302 pages | 8 halftones, 2 maps, 5 musical examples | 6 x 9 | © 2000

Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Black Studies

Latin American Studies

Music: Ethnomusicology

Women's Studies

Table of Contents

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
List of Interviews

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