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Performing the Caribbean Experience focuses on the reconfiguration of this complex soundscape after the Conquest and on the strategies by which groups from distant worlds reconstructed traditions, assigning new meanings to fragments of memory and welding a bewildering variety of unique Creole cultures. Shaped by an enduring African presence and the experience of slavery and colonization by the Spanish, French, British, and Dutch, Caribbean peoples resorted to the power of music to mirror their history, assert identity, gain freedom, and transcend their experience in lasting musical messages. Essays on pan-Caribbean themes, surveys of traditions on specific islands, personal accounts, and samples of neo-African practices in Venezuela and Colombia trace these pluralistic and spiritualized brands of creativity through the voices of an unprecedented number of Caribbean authors. Two CDs with 52 recorded examples illustrate the contributions to this volume.

I first visited Cuba in 1982, after finding a footnote in a catalogue of Alejandro García Caturla’s works that revealed the existence of a puppet opera with libretto by Alejo Carpentier. I had developed a theory of intersections between the domains of folk and art music in a study of operas by Argentinian composers and was broadening its scope with compositions from Mexico, Brazil, and Cuba. With the support of a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and after months of processing permissions, I arrived in Havana under an “artist visa” that ensured me preferential treatment. During that visit I met Argeliers León, his wife María Teresa Linares, María Antonieta Henríquez, and Hilario González, who at the time was reconstructing precisely the score of the Carpentier and Caturla puppet opera for a performance that took place in 1985. As I expected, the alchemy that was possible between these two magicians produced a jewel about which I have since published extensively. My love affair with the island and its people, however, had begun much earlier, in the 1960s, through friends in the United States who brought their Cubanness into my life at an impressionable age. As an Argentinian, Cuba was not in my radar while I was growing up in Buenos Aires, perhaps the most European of all cities in Latin America. I returned to Cuba many times after 1982, and the purpose of one of those visits in the 1990s was to commission contributions by Cuban authors for this volume. As a guest of CIDMUC, Olavo Alén Rodríguez, then CIDMUC director, Victoria Eli Rodríguez heading the musicology division, and Zoila Gómez García overseeing the systematic musicology section of this research center, organized an astonishing display of scholarly riches from which to pick and choose. Carpentier did not invent lo real maravilloso americano; it is always there. At the time, CIDMUC musicologists were engaged in the preparation of Instrumentos de la música folclórico-popular de Cuba, with Atlas (1997), and we held this mini-conference amidst the artists who were drawing the instruments and maps enriching this monumental contribution to organology. I wish to thank Victoria Eli Rodríguez, María Elena Vinueza, Juan Mesa Díaz, Olavo Alén Rodríguez, María Teresa Linares, María Antonieta Henríquez, Laura Vilar Álvarez, Carmen María Sáenz Coopat, Zobeyda Ramos Venereo, Juan Guanche Pérez, Ana Casanova Oliva, and Jesús Gómez Cairo for the work they do and the generosity with which they share it. I also want to remember Hilario González, Argeliers León, and Zoila Gómez García, who are now with us only in spirit. I am proud to say that, with the exception of Peter Manuel’s Essays on Cuban Music: North American and Cuban Perspectives (1991), a collection of writings that includes translations of articles by León, Linares, Alén Rodríguez, Leonardo Acosta, and Rogelio Martínez Furé, the work of several distinguished Cuban scholars is being published in English translation for the first time in this volume.

The initial plan for this project called for what would have amounted to a snapshot approach to the Caribbean (we called them “country profiles”). Olive Lewin, with the invaluable assistance of Maurice Gordon, helped us identify authors at the time and coordinated the coverage of the former British islands, Aruba, and the Netherlands Antilles. I wish to thank her for starting a process that grew into the present volume and for her own work on Jamaica. Several volumes would have been necessary to survey the wealth of traditions in all of these insular universes, including Belize, French Guiana, Guyana, and Suriname. Substituting the terms of Charles Sanders Peirce’s “Thought is what it is, only by virtue of its addressing a future thought,” Barry S. Brook wrote a long time ago that “Labor on a set of volumes is what it is only by virtue of its addressing a future set of volumes.” The proposition, he added, is both grand and humbling. Many experts contributed to my grand and humbling experience of reshaping those original “country profiles.” I wish to thank Nicholas Temperley, Jocelyne Guilbault, Victoria Borg O’Flaherty, Jacqueline Cramer-Armony, Larry Armony, Trevor G. Marshall, Elizabeth F. Watson, Cleophas R.E. Adderley, and Francis Fawkes for responding with generosity to relentless questioning. I am also deeply indebted to Lois Wilcken, Julian Gerstin, Monique Desroches, Martha Ellen Davis, Ronny Velásquez, Donald Thompson, Ricardo Alegría, José M. Aponte Poventud, Alan West-Durán, and Johnny Ramírez (at the Embassy of the Dominican Republic in Washington, D.C.) for invaluable help.

Annika Ekdahl and the Nobel Foundation, thanks to the intercession of Hans Åstrand, Secrétaire Perpétuel Emeritus of the Swedish Royal Academy of Music, granted us permission to reproduce the complete text of Derek Walcott’s reflections on epic memory, which serves as a prelude to the second day of this tetralogy. Thanks also are due to Daniel Sheehy and Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Tarik Bradford of Warner Strategic Marketing and Nonesuch Records, the Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, Edwin Colón Zayas, Jon Griffin, Olavo Alén Rodríguez and CIDMUC, María Teresa Linares and EGREM, Lois Wilcken and La Troupe Makandal, Martha Ellen Davis, Jacqueline Cramer-Armony and Larry Armony, Peter Manuel, Max H. Brandt, PolyGram Colombia S.A. and Universal Music Enterprises, and Real World Records through Virgin Records and EMI Music Marketing for permissions to include tracks from commercial releases or private collections on the CDs accompanying this volume. Andrew Justice, Music Librarian for Audio and Digital Services at the University of North Texas Music Library, and Sarah Williams-Leach of Rounder Records cleared the path in two crucial instances.

My production and support family has not changed since 2004, when the first volume was published. David Seham, head of KP Company, and Gregory Orpilla continue to typeset my beautiful pages and I owe them more than words can express. The same goes for Linda Strube, who proofreads with uncanny precision and always exceeds the limits of effort. Kenneth Yarmey, with whom I worked for many years in the past, contributed the music calligraphy. Seth B. Winner, a sound engineer whose sound restoration and preservation techniques have earned him many awards, produced the master CDs. Equally loyal to the cause are Donna Arnold, Music Reference Librarian, and Arturo Ortega, Library Specialist, who restored ill-conceived bibliographic citations to health on a daily basis. Other members of our superb University of North Texas Music Library staff, headed by Morris Martin, have not been spared the onslaught of questioning, and I wish to thank Mark McKnight and Jean Harden for their expertise in recorded sound and French sources, respectively. Philip Baczewski, Daniel Zajicek, and Scott Krejci provided technological assistance with unfailing generosity. Erica Hill, an anthropologist who lends her talent to the dying art of indexing, joined the team in 2005. It was a privilege to work with her and I wish to thank her for the enormous contribution she made to this volume.

Among the many permanent members of my extended family of colleagues and friends who enrich my work are Bernardo Illari, Dawn De Rycke, Steven Friedson, and John P. Murphy. I also treasure my friendship with Simha Arom and thank him for the many years of unswerving support. Most of all, I turn to my son, Peter Sanders, and my new daughter, Daisy Hill-Sanders, for strength, joy, and unconditional love. These journeys would not mean what they do without them.

Last but not least, I would like to thank University of Texas Press for its commitment to this project. At the end of a journey that was not always easy, I am particularly grateful to Theresa J. May, Editor-in-Chief and Assistant Director, for her understanding and encouragement. Under the directorship of Joanna Hitchcock, this press has amassed a prestigious record of publications in the field of Caribbean studies. Ellen McKie designed the stunning covers of both volumes and oversaw the final stages of production; Allison Faust and Lynne Chapman always offer professional editorial advice; and David Hamrick, Nancy Bryan, and Lauren Zachry-Reynolds work tirelessly in marketing to help authors enhance the visibility of their books.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS, online edition, 2020

I wish to thank Frederick Hammond, polymath, humanist, distinguished 17th-century scholar, and brilliant teacher whose generosity was just as transformative in 1970—when as UCLA professor he intervened to restore integrity to qualifying exams in musicology—as it is now in 2020, as I approach my 80th birthday. The online version of these volumes would not have been possible without him and the selfless contribution of Meg Montgomery, whose mastery of website technology is only matched by her passion for cultural equality. Working with Meg since February 2020 has been a gift I treasure as I walk gently into my good night.

Most of all, and since I wrote the acknowledgments for Performing the Caribbean Experience in 2007, my son and daughter-in-law, Peter and Daisy Hill Sanders, have produced the greatest joy of all with Maxwell and Oliver Sanders, because just when you think your love for your children exceeds all limits, grandchildren come to challenge that notion. Grandma’s last hurrahs are dedicated to them.

M.K.