Manual Different Drummers: Rhythm and Race in the Americas (Music of the African Diaspora)

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About the Book Long a taboo subject among critics, rhythm finally takes center stage in this book's dazzling, wide-ranging examination of diverse black cultures across the New World.

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This ambitious inquiry into issues of race and racism, class and culture, politics and aesthetics thoroughly considers the appreciation and even mobilization of rhythm in a variety of New World contexts. Different Drummers provides profound insights into the importance of rhythm as a marker of resistance and a dynamic facet of everyday life across Caribbean literatures and in African American music. Michael Dash, New York University "Munro takes us on a fascinating journey through the music of poetry and the poetry of music, beautifully tying together the cultures and literary texts of a range of Caribbean societies.


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Synopsis Long a taboo subject among critics, rhythm finally takes center stage in this book's dazzling, wide-ranging examination of diverse black cultures across the New World. Martin Munro's groundbreaking work traces the central--and contested--role of music in shaping identities, politics, social history, and artistic expression.

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Bringing to light new connections among black cultures, Munro shows how rhythm has been both a persistent marker of race as well as a dynamic force for change at virtually every major turning point in black New World history. Excerpt The Burt Lancaster film The Swimmer contains a scene in which the white suburbanite protagonist, Ned Merrill, emerges from the woods at the entrance to the home of one of his wealthy friends.

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Munro also focuses on the understudied period of the United States military occupation of Haiti —34 , arguing that the indigenist efforts to recuperate African rhythm in the face of occupation still heavily relied on romanticized notions of Haitian black identity. If Munro made this historically fluid example of rhythmic resistance a starting point rather than an ending point in the chapter, he might provide a more capacious framing of rhythmic resistance to hegemonic formations of cultural power. He addresses the historical layers of French, Spanish, British, and US influence and control through detailing specific factors such as the role of early-twentieth-century American jazz culture in helping to shape the reception of Calypso among the Trinidadian elite.

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He also takes care to begin configuring the movement from wood and bamboo instrumentation into a far more metallic musical soundscape of the steelbands.