Friday, November 4, 2011

Just to make sure we're all clear on what you'll be doing for Monday:

In the Morales book, 275-298
In Roberts, 191-199.
Please post, as comments, some of the songs mentioned in the readings (especially the Morales), along with your name, the name of the song or songs and the page number. Make sure no one has already posted the same thing before you. Please have the posts done by Monday at noon. I've put an example below.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Listening Identification

Bachata - Dominican Republic
High-pitched electric guitar playing single notes
Güira scraper
Romantic, tears-in-your-beer lyrics

Ska - Jamaica (1960s)
Skank rhythm - Upbeat emphasized, especially on piano, organ, or horns

Reggae - Jamaica (1970s-1980s)
Slower than ska
Skank rhythm on upbeat on guitar
Complex bass lines

Dub - Jamaica (1970s and 1980s)
A kind of reggae
Almost entirely instrumental
Lots of echo/reverb
Instruments slide in and out of the mix

Nyabinghi - Jamaica
Slow "heartbeat" rhythm
Multiple percussion
Many voices together

Steel pan - Trinidad
Umm... a lot of steel pans

Rara - Haiti
Many horns, each playing one note at different times to make a melody
Backing percussion

Afro-Peruvian Music
Sometimes other percussion, including quijada, cajita, and cowbell

Champeta - Colombia
Guitar-driven African music
Synthesized dog barks and laser blasts

Dem Bow - Jamaica/Puerto Rico
Listen here, examples 1 and 6

Reggaetón - Puerto Rico
Dem Bow
Changing snares
Spanish language

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hip Hop

Block Party: from the documentary "80 Blocks from Tiffany's"

Breaking - NYC Breakerz vs. Rock Steady Crew, from "Beat Street"

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Theft of Carnaval

A video of Río's Carnaval in the "Sambódromo" - take it for the visuals, not the dodgy historical content:

A "pagode": neighborhood samba

Samba for export: "Embassadress of Samba" Carmen Miranda:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Funk Carioca

US DJ Diplo on funk in the favelas of Rio

Favela on Blast intro (USA version with Diplo's voice) from Leandro HBL on Vimeo.


Favelas overview with Feira de Acari song_(Favela on Blast) from Leandro HBL on Vimeo.

Preparing for the funk dance (from the documentary "Favela on Blast")

Baile Funk dos Prazeres_(Favela on Blast) from Leandro HBL on Vimeo.

1980s Miami Bass


Favela on Blast (Dj Marlboro)_Study from Leandro HBL on Vimeo.


Live montage with MPC by Dj Sany Pitbull_(Favela on Blast) from Leandro HBL on Vimeo.

Afro-Reggae (trailer from the documentary "Favela Rising")

A little more from "Favela Rising"

"Music of Resistance" documentary by Al Jazeera English, hosted by a member of the UK's
Asian Dub Foundation (whose name I forget)

Part II of the same

Last but not least, AfroReggae's websites:
In Portuguese:
In English (from the UK-based, AfroReggae-associated organization Favela to the World):

Monday, April 25, 2011

Reggaetón - April 26

A link to Wayne Marshall's transcriptions and sound clips: here.

In case you spent 2004 on another planet or in a coma and didn't get a chance to hear it - Daddy Yankee's "Gasolina"

Here are the the musical elements in this song that Marshall talks about as being linked to various other genres:

  • "Galloping figures" and "half step harmonic motion" suggesting Spanish pasodoble (bullfighting music), like the venerable "España cañí":

  • Nasal delivery like certain salsa soneros (singers) - here's an example of the great Hector Lavoe singing "Triste y vacía
  • The Dem Bow rhythm, featuring "3+3+2" (also known as tresillo), here on the original Shabba Ranks tune.

    And the also seminal "Bam Bam" riddim:
Some dancehall tunes, also popular in hip hop circles in the US in the early 90s, which ended up being referenced in early reggaetón:
  • Chaka Demus and Pliers "Murder She Wrote" (1992)
  • Cutty Ranks "A Who Seh Me Dun" (1993)
  • Dirtsman "Hot This Year"

PR underground/melaza/dembow/"proto-reggaetón": Playero 38

On reggaetonero, Tego Calderón, even has a reggaetón song, referencing an Afro-Puero Rican town, that samples the traditional Afro-Puerto Rican drum/dance called bomba:

Nuyorican rapper Big Pun's "Dream Shatterer"

Puerto Rican (from the island) rapper Vico C - an oldie but goodie (with a hilariously old school video) - "Tony Presidio"

El General's "Tu Pum Pum"

Little Lenny "Punnany Tegereg"

Bachata-influenced reggaetón - Wissin y Yandel's "Mayor que yo" has tons of bachata guitar

(If you don't remember, bachata guitar sounds like this:

Making the hurban market: NORE & Nina Sky's "Oye mi canto"

Some more modern Panamanian bultrón/plena/reggae(tón) - Kufu Bantón's "Vamos pa' la playa" ("A pasarla bien con los friends"). Notice the use of R. Kelly's "Thoia Thong" track:

Here's the aforementioned "Thoia Thoing"

The roots reggae and dub influence remains strong in Panamanian reggae - for example in El Rookie's "Grand Error" (although Rookie also sings more reggaetón-styled music)

The easily downloadable computer beat-making program Fruity Loops (now "FL studio"):

Reegaetón has sired mutant offspring all through the world. Here's choque/choke/shoke from western Colombia:

Thursday, April 21, 2011


Congolese Soukous - popular in the champeta/picó scene
Here's Kanda Bongo Man's "Zing Zong", well known in Cartagena

Cuban Music in Congo
Franco & Le Tout Puissant OK Jazz's "Tcha Tcha Tcha de Mi Amor"

Cuban Music in New York: The Palladium

Machito - New York Afro-Cuban mambo/Latin jazz band, here in Japan in the 1960s

"Bang Bang" Joe Cuba's boogaloo ode to cornbread, hogmaw, cuchifrito and lechón

Another Joe Cuba boogaloo - El Pito (I'll Never Go back to Georgia)"

Cuban mambo by Nuyroican Tito Puente: Ran Kan Kan

Another famous Nuyorican mambo by Puente: "Oye Como Va"

New York salsa - Hector Lavoe and Willie Colón do "Todo Tiene Su Final"

1972 in Central Park - Eddie and Charlie Palmieri perform "Muñeca"

Rumba in Tompkins Square Park (NYC)

Mizik Engajé (Political Music) from the Haitian Diaspora
Ti-Manno "Culture par nous"

Boukman Eksperyans - Jou Nou Revolte (Today We Revolt)

Boukman Eksperyans - Ke m Pa Sote ("My Herat Doesn't Leap/I Am Not Afraid")

Brooklyn Labor Day Caribbean Carnival

Pan in Brooklyn

More Pan, just 'cuz



Afro-Peruvian percussion
The cajón
More cajón

Playing festejo
Coito and Victor Félix play a Waltz


Old documentary on Afro-Peruvian music

Folkloric dance: Zamba malató

Son de los Diablos

Nicomedes Santa Cruz

Zamacueca, re-Africanized precursor to the national dance, marinera


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Thursday April 19

Sound System Cultures: Champeta
"El Gato" at work

Picó (Sound System) El Imperio

El Rey de Rocha picó (sound system) vs. El Skorpión

El Skorpión vs. Travieso

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Jamaica, Cuba, Colombia: Black Nationalism, Afro-Futurism, and

The Wailers play "You Can't Blame the Youth" - Peter Tosh sings, 1973

Marcus Garvey (above), Ras Tafari Makonnen, Haile Selassie (below)

Rasta Nyabinghi

Nyabinghi in Reggae - The Wailers' Rastaman Chant, 1973

another Bob Marley Nyabinghi Reggae: "Babylon System"

Arsenio Rodríguez

Arsenio's "Fuego en el 23" ("Fire on 23rd Street")

Arsenio's "Bruca manigua" ("Maroon Magician of the Forest")

All of this is very different from the elite Afro-Cubanism that was happening at the same time, like that of Bola de Nieve (here, singing "El Manicero," about a black peanut vendor)

Transnationalism and Technology

Black American Curtis Mayfield's "People Get Ready"

Bob Marley's "One Love" borrows from Mayfield's song

Technology and Afro-Futurism
Lee "Scratch" Perry produced "People Funny" - with crying baby

Another wierd Scratch production, "Thanks We Get" (1974) Junior Byles sings

And another, here with the Wailers, "Mr. Brown"

Later dub, here from master experimentalist King Tubby:

The dub aesthetic in reggae. Eek-A-Mouse's 1982 "Noah's Ark" - Dub breakdown around 2:40
The Riddim Method

Dillinger and the Bretford Harmonics' "High Fashion Christmas" (1976) - first appearance of the "Hi-Fashion Riddim"

Freddie Macgregor's "Bobby Babylon" (1979)

Horace Martin's "Tired Body" (late 70s?)

A mix of Hi-Fashion riddim hits from 1980-81:
Barrington Levy - Mine Yuh Mouth (1981)/Louie Lepkie - Late Night Movie (1981/Dillinger - Kublicon (1980)/Ranking Joe - Leave Fi Mi Girl Arlene (~1980)

Dub on the Hi-Fashion Riddim: Scientist's "Dub Bible"

U-Roy Toasting

Full digital - from analog to digital, reggae to ragga
Wayne Smith's "Under Me Sleng Teng" (1985), the first fully computerized riddim

Super Cat on the same riddim

Monday, April 11, 2011


Traditional Music
Jamaican Maroons of Moore Town - the abeng horn at 0:28 or so, "Sankeys" at 1:50 or so, Maroon drummimg at 2:50

Christmas in the Jamaican Maroon town of Accompong

For more on the Maroons there's a mini-documentary on Isaac Bernard, speaker of Eastern Maroon Kromanti language here
Jamaican Kumina drums

Kumina Show/Party

Revival Singing in St. Ann's Parish

and here with drums:

Old school Jamaican mento, Theodre Miller on violin

More mento
(with the lead harmonica too quiet...) - Pepper Mento Band

The Jolly Boys are part of the recent mento revival

More Jolly Boys, from their recent album of covers

Reggae Precursors
US saxophonist Louis Jordan

US singer Fats Domino

Skanking to Byron Lee & The Dragonaires at Club Sombrero in Kingston, Jamaica, 1962

Millie Small's 1964 "My Boy Lollipop" - the first international ska hit

The original "My Boy Lollipop," Barbie Gaye's 1956 version
Mento influence in ska: a very young Bob Marley and a pennywhistle in "judge Not" (1962)

And apparently, the mystery singer "Girl Wonder," a female mento singer of the 60s, was in fact the future Rita Marley. Here she is singing "Cutting Wood"

Ska began to slow down and get a more syncopated bass, spawning rocksteady, like in the Clarendonians' "Rude Boy Gone A Jail"

The "one-drop" bass line in rocksteady, from "No Good Rudie" by Justin Hinds & the Dominoes

Rocksteady could have a hard edge, as in "Shanty Town (007)" by Desmond Decker, with lyrics about the rude boys

Rocksteady became the soundtrack for the rude boys, as in the 1972 crime drama "The Harder They Come," with Jimmy Cliff

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Trinidad - Carnival
Hot Hot Hot (Arrow) - 1980

Trinidad Carnival 2009

Bacchanal (Destra García)

Carnival Costume Competition

Jamaica - Women
Dancehall Queen (1997) - Full Movie

Romantic Call (Patra w/ YoYo) - Randomly featuring Tupac

Man is the Least (Lady Saw)

I've Got Your Man (Lady Saw)

Homophobic Jamaican Dancehall
Chi ChiMan (TOK)

Dem Bow (Shabba Ranks)

Wayne Marshall of wayne&wax on the tight pants phenom in Jamaica here

Tambu Bamboo - Trinidad

Rara (Haiti)

Carnaval (Rio, Brazil)

Carnaval (Salvador, Brazil - Ilê Ayé group)

Samba-Reggae - O canto da cidade (Daniela Mercury)

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Music mid-term review

Here it is, all in one place. Note that the alabado is a Blackboard link (in the folder marked "1.25").

Son (Cuba)

Batá (Cuba)

Güiro (Cuba)

Rumba guaguancó (Cuba)

(from 0:22 – 1:31 and 2:42-3:34, although harder to hear, also 3:47-4:40)

Currulao (Colombian Pacific)

Alabado (Colombian Pacific)
Sorry, no youtube videos, but, there’s an alabado on Blackboard at

Bullerengue (Colombian Caribbean)

Cumbia/Gaita (Colombian Caribbean)

Capoeira (Brazil)

Merengue (Dominican Republic)

Samba (Brazil)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

More samba

Samba from Brazil

Characteristics of samba:
multiple drums,
tambourine (listen for the jingles)
bass drum
cavaquinho (stringed instrument)
bass drum
Incidentally, the song refers to Brazil's current drug wars: "He has coca in the fridge."

Brazilian samba

Bote the prominent bass drum. This one has no cavaquinho (stringed instrument)

Trujillo-era orquestrated big-band merengue

Luis Alberti's band:

(Don't worry, the merengue on the mid-term will have accordeon)

One more merengue

Here with marímbula:

Merengue in the DR

Characteristics of merengue:
regular 4-square beat
optional sax
tambora drum played with sticks and hand


A merengue house party in the DR:

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Tuesday Question

The question for your response to the Moore chapter is: "Why did white Cuban intellectuals take up Afro-Cuban music in their search for a Cuban national culture?"

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Thursday question

"If, as we have seen, black culture on the Americas depends on both history and the act of remembering or reconstructing that history in the present, how does each (history and remembering/reconstructing that history) figure in the black political movement in Colombia discussed by Julio César Montaño/in the Tumaco festival?"

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Reading for Tuesday 2/22.

I've sent the reading and posted it on Blackboard:

Wade, Peter. “Black Music and Cultural Syncretism in Colombia.” Beyond Slavery: The Multilayered Legacy of Africans in Latin America and the Caribbean, ed. Daren J. Davis (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, [1995] 2007), 121-146

You might want to refer to posts from last Thursday on Colombian music or the article in The New Grove Encylopedia of Music, if necessary.

The question: What makes black Colombian musics black in Wade's account?

Mexico: Son de Artesa

Mexico: La bamba

Mexico: La petenera, by Los Azahuasteles of Tixtla, Guerrero

Mexico: La Malagueña Curreña, performed by ismael Añorve of Cuajuincuilapa

Even more African-influenced guitar: Santiago de Murcia's "Cumbée"

Here with a drummer - and spectacular facial hair:

More African-influenced guitar: Zarabanda (Gaspar Sanz again)

African-influenced Spanish guitar: Gaspar Sanz's 1674 "Canarios"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

February 17 readings

•Sublette, Ned. Cuba and Its Music. From the First Drums to the Mambo. (Chicag: Chicago Review Press, 2004), p. 73-83
•Budasz, Rogério. “Black guitar-players and early African-Iberian music in Portugal and Brazil.” Early Music, 35:1 (2007), 3-21

•Lewis, Laura A. “Blacks, Black Indians, Afromexicans: The Dynamics of Race, Nation, and Identity in a Mexican ‘moreno’ Community (Guerrero).” American Ethnologist 27:4 (2000), 898-926

Question: "In what ways do these examples show that creolization goes both ways (between Africans and Europeans)?"

Thursday, February 10, 2011

February 15 Assignment

The reading for this class is:

Röhrig Assunçao, Matthias. Capoeira: The History of an Afro-Brazilian Martial Art. (London and New York: Routledge, 2006), 32-66

The entire book is on Blackboard - please just read pp. 32-66 (I saw from your comments that some foyou suffered through my whole chapter instead of reading just the specified pages...)

The question:
How does the specific case of the capoeira dance/fight/game/music show the kinds of syncretism between African cultural groups and/or between African descendants and others that we've been talking about in the class? As a bonus question (which you can get to if you have the space in your response), how does capoeira exemplify the kinds of ethics and sociality that we talked about today?

You can see (and hear) that last question all over capoeira, as in the video below, a capoeira game between Mestre Cobra Mansa (without bandanna) and Mestre Jogo de Dentro (bandanna):

Colombia: Violín Caucano

Colombia: Papayera

A brass band accompaniment for your drunken bull-fighting pleasure...

Afro-Colombian Music Cheat Sheet

By yours truly, hosted by La Mediatheque du Caraibe in Guadeloupe, French West Indies, here

Colombia: Carnaval de Barranquilla

Bullerengue: Petrona Martínez

Gaita/Cumbia (Colombia)

Los Gaiteros de San Jacinto

A little polycentrism

Speaking of polycentrism, a little Cuban rumba, from an old Cuban documentary...

Afro-Cuba in New York, and the Muñequitos de Matanzas in Boston

Just so you know (and thank your classmate Johnny Bohórquez for reminding me) - there's going to be a gigantic festival of Cuban music this spring in New York. Details here. New York is a little far, but one group I would go down (on foot if necessary) to hear anyhow is the Muñequitos de Matanzas, founded 60 years ago, not in the States since 2002, and hands-down the most famous group playing traditional Afro-Cuban rumba music: guaguancó, yambú and columbia. Luckily, they'll also be in the Boston area March 30 and April 1. I'm going to try and cook up a way to get the class, or at least interested members of it, down there. In the meantime, check out this video from that last tour

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Febrary 10 Assignment

The readings for Thursday's class are up on blackboard (link)

The required readings are:

• Dixon Gottschild, Brenda. “Crossroads, Continuities, and Contradictions. The Afro-Euro-Caribbean Triangle.” Caribbean dance from abakuá to zouk : how movement shapes identity, ed., Susanna Sloat (Gainesville Fla.: University Press of Florida, 2002), 3-20
• Birenbaum Quintero, Michael. “The Poetics of Sound in the Black Southern Pacific World.” Rites, Rights and Rhythms: A Genealogy of Musical Meaning in Colombia’s Black Pacific. (Manuscript), 9-24, 32-40

Note that you only need to read pages 9-24 and 32-40 in my piece. Please post as comments your answers to the following question:
How do the musical forms described in the Birenbaum Quintero piece exemplify some of the aspects described in the Dixon Gottschild piece? Which ones? How can musical practice in general be understood as inculcating ethical behaviors?

Also, I will be lecturing on music in Colombia, If you have a special interest, you might want to check out the suggested reading, also linked on Blackboard:

• Gerard Béhague, et al. "Colombia." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. 8 Feb. 2011
II. 1 The Atlantic Coastal Region
II. 2. The Pacific Coastal Region
III. Popular Music
And, tangentially,
II. 3. The Andean region

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Hi all - no reaction paper necessary for the Mama Lola excerpts.
E. Franklin Frazier (1894-1962)

Melville Herskovits (1895-1963)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Assignment: Thursday February 3

Please read the following:
Yelvington, Kevin A. "The Anthropology of Afro-Latin America and the Caribbean:Diasporic Dimensions." Annual Review of Anthropology 30 (2001) pp. 227-260
There is a link here:

The question:
How could what Yelvington describes be related to the kinds of musical practices we've been discussing in class?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

February 1

Reaction question: How is blackness present and/or absent in the musics of Latin America and the Caribbean? (Respond using the readings in CC and MHC)