"Mento, Jamaica's Original Music": Development, Tourism and the Nationalist Frame

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ProQuest, 2007 - 413 pages
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To show how these ideas developed and affect mento today, I investigate archival sources, paying special attention to the ways culture-based institutions---including the Welfare & Development Ministry, the Festival Office, the Jamaica Tourist Board and the local recording industry---have mobilized and presented mento music opportunistically for the purposes of nation building. I temper my archival work with careful ethnographic research among contemporary musicians to show how historical representations differ from the lived experience of those who make the music. I conclude that claims about mento's historical authenticity and "originality" are often products of modern nation building programs, and are mired in an antiquated ideological and musicological approach that fails to account for how the music and its practitioners have adapted and changed over time. A work of historical ethnomusicology, this research offers a critical reassessment of the narratives commonly found in traditional and popular music studies in the Caribbean and suggests a new perspective on the study of early Jamaican musical history.

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The Construction of
J amaicas Calypso Product and
Development Festivals
Reggae Mento

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