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A Day for the Hunter, a Day for the Prey

Popular Music and Power in Haiti

The history of Haiti throughout the twentieth century has been marked by oppression at the hands of colonial and dictatorial overlords. But set against this "day for the hunter" has been a "day for the prey," a history of resistance, and sometimes of triumph. With keen cultural and historical awareness, Gage Averill shows that Haiti’s vibrant and expressive music has been one of the most highly charged instruments in this struggle—one in which power, politics, and resistance are inextricably fused.

Averill explores such diverse genres as Haitian jazz, troubadour traditions, Vodou-jazz, konpa, mini-djaz, new generation, and roots music. He examines the complex interaction of music with power in contexts such as honorific rituals, sponsored street celebrations, Carnival, and social movements that span the political spectrum.

With firsthand accounts by musicians, photos, song texts, and ethnographic descriptions, this book explores the profound manifestations of power and song in the day-to-day efforts of ordinary Haitians to rise above political repression.

Read an excerpt from the introduction.

306 pages | 12 halftones, 2 line drawings | 6 x 9 | © 1997

Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology

Music: Ethnomusicology

Table of Contents

A Note on Translation
1: Introduction: "A Message to Pass from Mouth to Mouth"
2: "Living from Their Own Garden": The Discourse of Authenticity
3: "Konpa-direk for Life": Francois Duvalier’s Dictatorship and Konpa-direk
4: "Musicians Are a Single Family": Critical Discourse in Music under Baby Doc Duvalier
5: "Watch Out for Them!": Dechoukaj and Its Aftermath
Epilogue: "Carnival of Hope"


Association for Recorded Sound Collections: Association for Recorded Sound Collections Award for Excellence

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