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Volume 62 / Humanities

MUSIC: Central America and the Caribbean


ALFRED E. LEMMON, Director, Williams Research Center, The Historic New Orleans Collection

THE EMERGING LITERATURE ON THE CARIBBEAN, Central America, and Cuba is characterized by an increased number of publications on diverse topics of continually higher quality. Indeed, a particular challenge of this biennium was the selection of works to be annotated. At the same time, there is a growing trend of recognition of the region's music within the greater world of musical scholarship. The publication of David F. García's, article "Cuban Music: A Review Essay" (item #bi2006001289#) in Notes, the quarterly journal of the Music Library Association, is particularly appreciated given the highly prestigious position of that particular journal. Likewise, the presence of Shannon Dudley's "Dropping the Bomb: Steelband Performance and Meaning in 1960s Trinidad" (item #bi2003003826#) in Ethnomusicology is noticed. The two recordings (items #bi2006001286# and #bi2006001293#) and one DVD (item #bi2006001279#)devoted to colonial music of the region are but a sample of a growing discography of colonial Latin American music, and, in particular the Caribbean, Central America, and Cuba. Indeed, the region needs and deserves a review essay similar in scope to "Colonial-Era Brazilian Music: A Review Essay of Recent Recordings," (Notes, 62:2, 2005, p. 448–471). The efforts to catalog archival sources is evidenced by activity in Costa Rica (see Esteban Cabezas and Zamira Barquero, Catálogo de manuscritos e impresos del Archivo Histórico Musical (item #bi2006001284#). Music in Latin America and the Caribbean: An Encyclopedic History (v. 1, Performing Beliefs. Indigenous peoples of South America, Central America, and Mexico) edited by Malena Kuss is yet another indication of the increasing interest and quality of research (item #bi2006001282#). In years to come, this work will certainly stand on every reference shelf in every major music library world-wide.

As noted in the introduction to this section for HLAS 58, articles on Latin American music continue to appear in a wide variety of publications. Increasingly, they appear in journals requiring peer reviews. No matter what the particular specialty of the journals, it is particularly gratifying to see their interest in the topic. Likewise, it is an indication of the healthy scholarship that continues to develop in and about the region. In many instances these journals serve to introduce the music not only of the region, but of Latin America in general, to scholars who perhaps have previously not considered the importance of music to cultural-socioeconomic development. Finally, the presence of music in a wide variety of periodicals does present challenges, even in this privileged information age, to maintain control over the ever expanding bibliography.


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