Along with linked modes of religiosity, music and dance have long occupied a central position in the ways in which Atlantic peoples have enacted, made sense of, and responded to their encounters with each other. This unique collection of essays connects nations from across the Atlantic—Senegal, Kenya, Trinidad, Cuba, Brazil, and the United States, among others—highlighting contemporary popular, folkloric, and religious music and dance. By tracking the continuous reframing, revision, and erasure of aural, oral, and corporeal traces, the contributors to Rhythms of the Afro-Atlantic World collectively argue that music and dance are the living evidence of a constant (re)composition and (re)mixing of local sounds and gestures.
Rhythms of the Afro-Atlantic World distinguishes itself as a collection focusing on the circulation of cultural forms across the Atlantic world, tracing the paths trod by a range of music and dance forms within, across, or beyond the variety of locales that constitute the Atlantic world. The editors and contributors do so, however, without assuming that these paths have been either always in line with national, regional, or continental boundaries or always transnational, transgressive, and perfectly hybrid/syncretic. This collection seeks to reorient the discourse on cultural forms moving in the Atlantic world by being attentive to the specifics of the forms—their specific geneses, the specific uses to which they are put by their creators and consumers, and the specific ways in which they travel or churn in place.
"Collecting essays by fourteen expert contributors into a trans-oceanic celebration and critique, Mamadou Diouf and Ifeoma Kiddoe Nwankwo show how music, dance, and popular culture turn ways of remembering Africa into African ways of remembering. With a mix of Nuyorican, Cuban, Haitian, Kenyan, Senegalese, Trinidagonian, and Brazilian beats, Rhythms of the Afro-Atlantic World proves that the pleasures of poly-rhythm belong to the realm of the discursive as well as the sonic and the kinesthetic."
—Joseph Roach, Sterling Professor of Theater, Yale University
"As necessary as it is brilliant, Rhythms of the Afro-Atlantic World dances across, beyond, and within the Black Atlantic Diaspora with the aplomb and skill befitting its editors and contributors."
—Mark Anthony Neal, author of Soul Babies: Black Popular Culture and the Post-Soul Aesthetic
Jacket photograph by Elias Irizarry