Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo

Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo

by Ned Sublette
     
 

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The music of Cuba is "a fundamental music of the New World" and has been deeply influential on the music of its northern neighbor, the United States. Addressing the neophyte, Sublette (a former coproducer of the public radio program Afropop Worldwide and cofounder of the record label Qbadisc) explores the history of Cuban music, which in his eyes cannot beSee more details below

Overview

The music of Cuba is "a fundamental music of the New World" and has been deeply influential on the music of its northern neighbor, the United States. Addressing the neophyte, Sublette (a former coproducer of the public radio program Afropop Worldwide and cofounder of the record label Qbadisc) explores the history of Cuban music, which in his eyes cannot be disentangled from Cuban history generally. He characterizes the history of the music as one "of cultural collisions, of voluntary and forced migrations, of religions and revolutions." His narrative travels from the Spanish and African roots of Cuban music through colonial times and up to the eve of the revolutionary period. Distributed by Independent Publishers Group. Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
Approachable both for readers new to the country's rich musical history and for devotees who have already succumbed to its rhythms.
Global Rhythm Magazine
Told with humor, affection and authority, this account...is destined to become one of the definitive texts on the subject.
New York Times
A magnificent labor of love and advocacy...Remarkably thorough yet genially readable.
New West Indian Guide
"Ned Sublette knows what he is saying and how to say it."
The Village Voice
The most thorough and colorful argument for just how elemental Cuban music has been to American culture.”
LA Weekly
Casually mind-blowing . . . this belongs on your shelf between Joseph Campbell and Alexis de Tocqueville.
Jazz Times
A stunning achievement, immensely valuable to Afro-Cuban music newbies and experts alike.
Rolling Stone
The most daring, thorough, and lively social history of music ever attempted.
Choice
The most ambitious of the recent studies of Cuban music . . . Essential.
Afropop Worldwide
A work of radical obsession, driven by a profound love of Cuban music.
Publishers Weekly
As the cofounder of the important Cuban music label Qbadisc and coproducer of public radio's Afropop Worldwide, Sublette is a well-known figure among elite mambo aficionados. Still, the sheer size and historical precision that makes this volume essential is a bit surprising coming from this proud nonacademic. The first two chapters, for instance, offer a fascinating narrative that explains the complex formulation of Iberian culture, beginning with the appearance of Phoenician traders in what is now the southern Spanish city of C diz in 1104 B.C. When the Cuban story finally kicks in with chapter five, Sublette makes the most of his prehistory to create a visceral and astute vision of the island as incubator of musical revolution. Most of the story has been told before, but rarely in such painstaking detail, and Sublette's easygoing and engaging writing style makes the reading almost painless, although sometimes his analysis is overly determined by politics. His most important accomplishment is combining information from rarely translated musicological works from Cuba with data from his active involvement with surviving giants of the music to produce one sustained, living history. Given all this, it is odd that he ends the book so abruptly, in 1952, especially since he has participated so much in the music's recent permutations. While not exactly for beginners, this book is a solid, supremely lush effort. (June) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
pitchforkmedia.com
Magesterial . . . absorbing . . .fascinating . . . enlightening . . . compulsively readable pages . . . anyone [interested in Cuban music] should be reading this right now.
Library Journal
In this fascinating first volume of a two-part chronicle, Sublette, a musician, self-made scholar, radio show host, and record producer based in New York City, ranges across Africa, Spain, the Caribbean isles, and Central, South, and North America from the 16th century to 1952 to document Cuban music's wide influence. While paying particular attention to societal changes, he describes in great detail how the music of certain African regions was brought over to the New World and helped produce the rhythmic and dynamic music of Cuba (which, in turn, influenced ragtime, jazz, and rhythm & blues, a point that will be traced fully in Volume 2). His grand scope is a reminder of how little most Americans know about their nearby neighbor and its culture, and though not novel, this point deserves reiteration. Sublette's accessible writing should appeal to a popular as well as a scholarly audience. Maya Roy's recent Cuban Music makes similar historical and sociological connections, but it lacks the depth and accessibility of Sublette's book. A welcome addition to the very small field of books available on Cuban music.-Bill Walker, Stockton-San Joaquin Cty. P.L., CA Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
From the Publisher

"As enthralling as it is comprehensive, [Sublette's] book breathes life and fire into the whole history of Cuban music."  —Bonnie Raitt

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781569764206
Publisher:
Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
02/01/2007
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
688
Sales rank:
238,348
File size:
9 MB

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What People are saying about this

The Los Angeles Times
"[Sublette] has added a major work to the tiny canon of social histories of music--perhaps even the grandest of them all"
The New York Times Book Review
"It was Cuba that turned the beat around, and thanks to Sublette any serious music fan will now know why."
Anne Louise Bardach
"If you buy only one book on Cuba in your life . . . this is the one."
The Nation

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