Audiotopia: Music, Race, and America

University of California Press, 2005 M11 1 - 319 páginas
Ranging from Los Angeles to Havana to the Bronx to the U.S.-Mexico border and from klezmer to hip hop to Latin rock, this groundbreaking book injects popular music into contemporary debates over American identity. Josh Kun, a MacArthur "Genius" Fellow, insists that America is not a single chorus of many voices folded into one, but rather various republics of sound that represent multiple stories of racial and ethnic difference. To this end he covers a range of music and listeners to evoke the ways that popular sounds have expanded our idea of American culture and American identity. Artists as diverse as The Weavers, Café Tacuba, Mickey Katz, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Bessie Smith, and Ozomatli reveal that the song of America is endlessly hybrid, heterogeneous, and enriching—a source of comfort and strength for populations who have been taught that their lives do not matter. Kun melds studies of individual musicians with studies of painters such as Jean-Michel Basquiat and of writers such as Walt Whitman, James Baldwin, and Langston Hughes. There is no history of race in the Americas that is not a history of popular music, Kun claims. Inviting readers to listen closely and critically, Audiotopia forges a new understanding of sound that will stoke debates about music, race, identity, and culture for many years to come.

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Against Easy Listening Or How to Hear America Sing
The Yiddish Are Coming
Life According to the Beat
Basquiats Ear Rahsaans Eye
I Too Sing America
Rocks Reconquista
La Misma Cancion
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Página 37 - I guess it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say wait. But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick...
Página 43 - As in an orchestra, every type of instrument has its specific timbre and tonality, founded in its substance and form ; as every type has its appropriate theme and melody in the whole symphony, so in society each ethnic group is the natural instrument, its spirit and culture are its theme and melody, and the harmony and dissonances and discords of them all make the symphony of civilization...
Página 43 - ... and form ; as every type has its appropriate theme and melody in the whole symphony, so in society each ethnic group is the natural instrument, its spirit and culture are its theme and melody, and the harmony and dissonances and discords of them all make the symphony of civilization, with this difference : a musical symphony is written before it is played ; in the symphony of civilization the playing is the writing, so that there is nothing so fixed and inevitable about its progressions as in...
Página 92 - It was Bessie Smith, through her tone and her cadence, who helped me to dig back to the way I myself must have spoken when I was a pickaninny, and to remember the things I had heard and seen and felt. I had buried them very deep.
Página 144 - Let the blare of Negro jazz bands and the bellowing voice of Bessie Smith singing blues penetrate the closed ears of the colored near-intellectuals until they listen and perhaps understand. Let Paul Robeson singing Water Boy...
Página 32 - ... to-day is to justify me and answer what I am for, But you, a new brood, native, athletic, continental, greater than before known, Arouse ! for you must justify me. I myself but write one or two indicative words for the future, I but advance a moment only to wheel and hurry back in the darkness. I am a man who, sauntering along without fully stopping, turns a casual look upon you and then averts his face, Leaving it to you to prove and define it, Expecting the main things from you.
Página 38 - I too, hear America singing But from where I stand I can only hear Little Richard And Fats Domino. But sometimes, I hear Ray Charles Drowning in his own tears or Bird Relaxing at Camarillo or Horace Silver doodling, Then I don't mind standing a little longer. The new SNCC organization, that summer and early fall of 1960, found that "coordinating
Página 21 - American nationality can still be taken for granted as a monolithic and self-contained whole, no matter how diverse and conflicted, if it remains implicitly defined by its internal social relations, and not in political struggles for power with other cultures and nations, struggles which make America's conceptual and geographic borders fluid, contested, and historically changing (1993, 15), Hence a postcolonial rather than a multicultural approach would better serve postnational studies of the United...
Página 89 - He is— and how old-fashioned the words sound!— something more than that, something resolutely indefinable, unpredictable. In overlooking, denying, evading his complexity —which is nothing more than the disquieting complexity of ourselves— we are diminished and we perish; only within this web of ambiguity, paradox, this hunger, danger, darkness, can we find at once ourselves and the power that will free us from ourselves.
Página 95 - Best advice I ever got was from an old friend of mine, a black friend, who said you have to go the way your blood beats. If you don't live the only life you have, you won't live some other life, you won't live any life at all.

Acerca del autor (2005)

Josh Kun is Associate Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside. His writing has appeared in the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, Los Angeles Magazine, the Village Voice, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and the Boston Phoenix. He has recently co-founded Reboot Stereophonic, a non-profit record label dedicated to excavating lost treasures of Jewish-American music. In 2016, he was the recipient of a MacArthur "Genius" Fellowship.

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