Black Soundscapes White Stages
The Meaning of Francophone Sound in the Black Atlantic
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Quote
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I have had the privilege of watching my parents pursue degrees and advanced studies in my adolescent and adult life. Their perseverance and curiosity have been a constant source of inspiration, their encouragement and support have made all I do possible, and their love has made it all worthwhile. I would also like to thank my professors and fellow graduate student colleagues at UCLA in ...
Introduction: Le Tumulte Noir (Part 1) French Imperial Soundscapes and the New World
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From cabaret stages and colonial expositions to negritude screams and doudouist polemics the black African diaspora literally cries out. The walls that fix identity, whether conceptual or architectural, are not soundproof; rather, they are shot through with proximities of sonic presence that interrogate faith in structural integrity. The tumulte noir—that joyfully raucous sound of black ...
1 “Adieu Madras, Adieu Foulard” The Doudou’s Colonial Complaint
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On departure, the amputation of his being vanishes as the ocean liner comes into view. He can read the authority and mutation he has acquired in the eyes of those accompanying him to the ship: “Adieu If “to speak,” as Frantz Fanon argues, “means above all assuming a culture and bearing the weight of a civilization” (1–2), his reference to “Adieu madras, adieu ...
2 “To Begin the Biguine” Re-membering Antillean Musical Time
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While twentieth-century Antillean regionalist poet Emmanuel Flavia-Léopold aﬀectionately names his nostalgic collection of poems after the folkloric song “Adieu madras, Adieu foulard,” negritude poet Guy Tirolien’s “Adieu ‘Adieu Foulards,’ ” in Balles d’or aligns himself with the poetic camp of a certain Antil-Tirolien’s poetic scream breaks up the colonial romance between the doudou and ...
3 La Baker Princesse Tam Tam and the Doudou’s Signature Dilemma
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Josephine Baker has historically gotten shortchanged in black Atlantic scholarship and historiographies: despite her unheard-of success, many critics write her oﬀ as a failure and/or completely erase her altogether. William Shack, in his otherwise quite enjoyable and useful contribution to black American jazz history in France, goes out of his way to disqualify and undercut Baker’s status in ...
4 Negritude Drum Circles The Tam-Tam and the Beat
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When Jean-Paul Sartre designates the poetics of negritude as a genre de tam-tam he picks up on the struggle over a crucial soundpost in black transnational and French imperial thought. The timely critical strike of his essay “Orphée noir” delivers extra force from its position as the preface to the historic negri-...
5 Le Poste Colonial Short-Wave Colonial Radio and Negritude’s Poetic Technologies
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Léona Gabriel’s radio show career and the speakerine’s position as narrator of a certain musical family history in the film Biguine offer case studies of the ways in which French West Indian cultural agents took to the soundwaves to stage their own versions of New World colonial history and contemporary diasporic relations. Like the other soundposts critically listened to in this book (i.e., the doudou’s signature song, the biguine...
Conclusion: Notes from the Sound Field
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Desire beats at the heart of New World soundtexts. But if rhythm is a series of continuities and ruptures in time, when is the break the end and when is it just the missing moment inherent in the beating? Given the cross-rhythms of mythology manifest in the tam-tam, the doudou, le cri noir, le poste colonial, the raté— when are the aesthetic and...
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Page Count: 192
Illustrations: 19 halftones
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: The Callaloo African Diaspora Series