Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Rhythms of Race: Cuban Musicians and the Making of Latino New York City and Miami, 1940-1960

Academic journal article The Journal of Southern History

Rhythms of Race: Cuban Musicians and the Making of Latino New York City and Miami, 1940-1960

Article excerpt

Rhythms of Race: Cuban Musicians and the Making of Latino New York City and Miami, 1940-1960. By Christina D. Abreu. Envisioning Cuba. (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015. Pp. xvi, 303. Paper, $29.95, ISBN 978-1-4696-2084-8.)

In Rhythms of Race: Cuban Musicians and the Making of Latino New York City and Miami, 1940-1960, Christina D. Abreu presents a reconstruction of the experiences and contributions of racially diverse Cuban musicians to the commercial music entertainment industry of the mid-twentieth-century United States. Mining oral history interviews, archival news sources, and print media, Abreu offers a comparative analysis of cultural self-representations in the diasporic enclaves of New York and Miami, focusing on popular music production and consumption and their role in the local construction of Latino identity.

The book is organized in six chapters framed by an introduction and a brief conclusion. In the first chapter, Abreu examines the professional lives and participation of musicians in New York's Hispanic community, positioning Afro-Cubanness as central to nationalistic cultural reaffirmation, while problematizing "Cuban" and "Latin" as static identity categories. Chapters 2 and 3 investigate the racial component in Cuban American associational life, underscoring the exclusionary practices sanctioned by the social clubs and community institutions that forged separate discursive spaces and challenged the fluidity of identity categories. In chapter 4, Abreu uses print culture to explore the maintenance of cultural memory in the promotion of Cubanness within music festivals and contests, underlining the use of Afro-Cuban idioms in such forums. Chapter 5 centers on dance hall performance of Cubanness for English-speaking audiences, exploring the fictionalized narratives of Desi Amaz as Ricky Ricardo in the television program I Love Lucy. Chapter 6 relocates the narrative to the social spaces associated with Miami's tourism industry, tracing the city's "Latinization" before the mass influx and politicization of Cuban exiles after the 1959 revolution (p. 4).

Clearly, the book does not provide a balance of historical coverage between the two cities in a comprehensive manner. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.