Vodou Nation: Haitian Art Music and Cultural Nationalism
While the Haitian musical tradition is probably best known for the Vodou-inspired roots music that helped topple the two-generation Duvalier dictatorship, the nation’s troubled history of civil unrest and its tangled relationship with the United States is more intensely experienced through its art music, which combines French and German elements of classical music with Haiti's indigenous folk music. Vodou Nation examines art music by Haitian and African American composers who were inspired by Haiti’s history as a nation created by slave revolt.
Around the time of the United States’s occupation of Haiti in 1915, African American composers began to incorporate Vodou-inspired musical idioms to showcase black artistry and protest white oppression. Together with Haitian musicians, these composers helped create what Michael Largey calls the “Vodou Nation,” an ideal vision of Haiti that championed its African-based culture as a bulwark against America’s imperialism. Highlighting the contributions of many Haitian and African American composers who wrote music that brought rhythms and melodies of the Vodou ceremony to local and international audiences, Vodou Nation sheds light on a black cosmopolitan musical tradition that was deeply rooted in Haitian culture and politics.
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abitan African American African culture Arawak artistic Averill ayisyen Clarence Cameron White conﬂict Courlander dance Déﬁlée Dessalines’s drum Elie’s elite Haitians Erzulie ethnographic European example ﬁgure ﬁrst foreign French genre Haitian audiences Haitian composers Haitian culture Haitian elites Haitian government Haitian intellectuals Haitian Kreyòl Haitian music Haitian nation Haitian peasant Haitian president Haitian Revolution Haitian society Haitian traditional Haïtiennes Herissé Hughes Hyppolite Hyppolite’s identiﬁed inﬂuence inspiration Jaegerhuber Jaegerhuber’s Jean Price-Mars Jean-Jacques Dessalines Jeanty’s Justin Elie Kenscoff Lamothe’s Lassègue lower-class Ludovic Lamothe Maximilien melodies méringue milat military mizik mizik rasin Mougali musicians Musique du Palais nationalist Native American noiriste notation Occide Jeanty occupation of Haiti ofﬁcial Ogou opera Ouanga performance Pétionville piano political Port-au-Prince practice Price-Mars’s quintolet racial recombinant mythology reﬂected religious rhythm rhythmic Roumain rural slave social songs speciﬁc tian tion Toussaint Louverture transcriptions Troubled Island Trouillot U.S. occupation United Vodou ceremony Vodou spirit Voodoo White and Matheus
Page 1 - To those of the white race who look to the incoming of those of foreign birth and strange tongue and habits for the prosperity of the South, were I permitted I would repeat what I say to my own race, " Cast down your bucket where you are.
Page 1 - Cast down your bucket where you are." The captain of the distressed vessel, at last heeding the injunction, cast down his bucket, and it came up full of fresh, sparkling water from the mouth of the Amazon River. To those of my race who depend on bettering their condition in a foreign land or who underestimate the importance of cultivating friendly relations with the Southern white man, who is their next-door neighbour, I would say: "Cast down your bucket where you are...
Page 2 - No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.
Page 1 - Cast down your bucket where you are." And a third and a fourth signal for water was answered, "Cast down your bucket where you are." The captain of the distressed vessel, at last heeding the injunction, cast down his bucket, and it came up full of fresh, sparkling water from the mouth of the Amazon River.