Research Guides: Music: Caribbean & Latin America

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Reference Books & Guides

  • Latin Music: Musicians, Genres, Themes by Ilan Stavans Eight years in the making, Latin Music: Musicians, Genres, and Themes is the definitive work on the topic, providing an unparalleled resource for students and scholars of music, Latino culture, Hispanic civilization, popular culture, and Latin American countries. Comprising work from nearly 50 contributors from Spain, Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States, this two-volume work showcases how Latin music–regardless of its specific form or cultural origins–is the passionate expression of a people in constant dialogue with the world. The entries in this expansive encyclopedia range over topics as diverse as musical instruments, record cover art, festivals and celebrations, the institution of slavery, feminism, and patriotism. The music, traditions, and history of more than two dozen countries–such as Argentina, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Spain, and Venezuela–are detailed, allowing readers to see past common stereotypes and appreciate the many different forms of this broadly defined art form.

    Call Number: ebook online

    ISBN: 9780313343964

    Publication Date: 2014-07-01

  • Encyclopedia of Latin American Popular Music by George Torres (Editor) This comprehensive survey examines Latin American music, focusing on popular-as opposed to folk or art-music and containing more than 200 entries on the concepts and terminology, ensembles, and instruments that the genre comprises. * Roughly 200 entries on concepts and terminology, ensembles, genres, and instruments * 37 biographical sidebars of significant musicians and performers * A chronology for Latin American popular music

    Call Number: ebook online

    ISBN: 9780313340314

    Publication Date: 2013-03-27

  • Bloomsbury (Continuum) Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World

    Good for researching popular music from America and around the world
    v.1 Media, Industry, & Society — Look up social phenomena, such as death, gender, record collecting
    v.2 Performance & Production — Look up names of performance techniques, ensemble types, production roles, equipment, instruments, and harmony, melody, and rhythm terminology
    v.3-7 Locations — Look up names of countries, regions, and cities
    v.8-11 Genres — Look up names of genres/styles

  • Baila! A Bibliographic Guide to Afro-Latin Dance Musics from Mambo to Salsa by John Gray (Original Author) This extraordinary new work, a companion to the recent ADP title Afro-Cuban Music, picks up where that volume leaves off, focusing on the diffusion of Cuban popular musical styles throughout the Americas as well as the creation of new hybrids in places such as Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela and Latin New York.

    It documents, for the first time, the full scope of the literature on commercial Latin dance musics, from their emergence in the 1920s and ¿30s to the present.

    The book¿s 5300 entries offer a treasure trove of information on the history and evolution of lesser-known regional styles such as Colombian champeta, Puerto Rican bomba y plena and Dominican bachata as well as such well-known transnational idioms as mambo, salsa and merengue. Of particular note is Baila¿s in-depth coverage of U.S.-based regional scenes in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as those found in Australia, Canada, France and Germany.

    This historical material is complemented by a comprehensive biographical section which helps illustrate the crucial role played by more than a 1000 individual artists, dancers and others in the music¿s trajectory from Cubop of the 1940s to the mambo and cha-cha-cha crazes of the 1950s, pachanga and boogaloo/Latin soul of the 1960s, salsa and charanga of the 1970s and Latin jazz of the 1980s and beyond.

    Citations range in date from 1930 to 2011 and encompass materials in all major European languages, with an emphasis on English, Spanish and French.

    Students, scholars and librarians will find Baila! to be an essential resource on Afro-Latin expressive culture¿its music and dance, language, literature, aesthetics, and more¿from North and South America to Europe, Africa and Japan.

    Call Number: Bird Reference ML128.D3 G7 2013

  • Afro-Brazilian Music: A Bibliographic Guide by John Gray The impact of Afro-Brazilian culture, both inside of Brazil and abroad, has been immense, particularly in the area of popular culture. Audiences around the world are familiar with it through the work of popularizers such as Carmen Miranda or films such as the 1959 classic Black Orpheus. However a much richer and more complex story lies behind these popular images, one that spans from the long slave trade that flourished in Brazil between 1538 and the 1850s to the more recent rise of urban black and cultural nationalist movements of the 1970s and beyond.

    This less well-known history is the subject of John Gray’s latest bibliography. While primarily about music the literature it documents reflects on all aspects of black life and culture in Brazil from language and religion to gender relations and race.

    Its central focus is four distinct but intertwined categories of black vernacular culture¿secular and Afro-Catholic festivals such as Carnival, bumba-meu-boi, and Folia de Reis, each of which has music and dance as a central component; the music, dances and ensembles associated with them, e.g. the afoxés and blocos afro of Bahian Carnival; folk and popular music idioms from jongo and capoeira to samba, rap and funk; and the liturgical musics of Afro-Brazilian religions, e.g. Candomblé, Umbanda, Xango.

    Of particular note are Afro-Brazilian Music’s extensive Regional Studies section which covers developments in 21 of the country’s 26 states and a chapter on Biographical and Critical Studies which documents the careers of more than 500 individual artists and ensembles.
    Citations span from 1833 to 2012, with the bulk having been published between the 1930s and 2012. They encompass folklore studies, ethnographies, oral histories, popular histories and reportage along with a wealth of academic material from Brazil, North America and Europe.

    The work concludes with an extensive reference section offering lists of Sources Consulted, a guide to relevant Libraries and Archives, an Appendix listing artists and individuals by idiom/occupation, and separate Author and Subject Indexes.

    Call Number: Bird Reference ML120.B7 G73 2014

  • Jamaican Popular Music, from Mento to Dancehall Reggae: a Bibliographic Guide by John Gray Despite its global popularity, reggae, and the myriad Jamaican popular music forms which led up to it creation, has long lacked a bibliographic resource that could assist its legion of fans, students and scholars. Until now.

    Based on 15 years of research Jamaican Popular Music offers nearly 3700 entries on the evolution of the island⿿s commercial music scene from the calypso-like mento of the late-1940s and ⿿50s to the roots reggae revolution of the 1970s and the dancehall boom of the 1980s and beyond. It also provides in-depth coverage of the music⿿s diffusion to more than 51 countries abroad along with a biographical section documenting the careers of some 800 individual artists, producers, dancers, filmmakers, and others. Sources range from fanzine interviews and newspaper reportage to scholarly theses and journal articles published in Jamaica, Australia, Asia, Europe, Africa, and North and South America. Much of this material is cited here for the first time based on the author⿿s analytic indexing of some 150 arts, music, humanities and social science journals.

    The result is a ground-breaking effort offering insights into all facets of the local, regional and transnational impact of Jamaican popular music.

    Call Number: ML120.J35 G779 2010

  • Afro-Cuban Music: a Bibliographic Guide by John Gray In spite of its relatively small size Cuba has had an inordinately large musical influence both inside the Caribbean and abroad. From the â¿¿rhumbaâ¿¿ (son) craze of the 1920s and â¿¿30s to mambo and cha-cha-cha in the 1950s and â¿¿60s and the Buena Vista Social Club phenomenon of the late â¿¿90s, Cuba has been central to popular music developments throughout the Caribbean, Latin America, the United States and Europe.

    Unfortunately, no one has ever attempted to survey the extensive literature on the islandâ¿¿s music, in particular the vernacular contributions of its Afro-Cuban population. This unprecedented bibliographic guide attempts to do just that. Ranging from the 19th century to early 2009 it offers almost 5000 entries on all of the islandâ¿¿s main genre families, e.g. Cancion Cubana, Danzon, Son, Rumba, and Sacred Musics (Santeria, Palo, Abakua, and Arara), as well as such recent developments as timba, rap and regueton. It also provides sections on Afro-Cuban musical instruments, the musicâ¿¿s influence abroad, and a biographical and critical component covering the lives and careers of more than 800 artists and ensembles. Spanish-language sources are covered comprehensively, in particular dozens of locally published journals such as Bohemia, Carteles, Revolucion y Cultura, Revista Salsa Cubana, andTropicana Internacional, all indexed here for the first time, as well as the sizable international literature in English, French, and other European languages.

    The work concludes with an extensive reference section offering lists of Sources Consulted, a guide to relevant Libraries and Archives, an appendix listing artists and ensembles by idiom/occupation, and two detailed Author and Subject Indexes.

    Call Number: Bird Reference ML120.C85 G73 2012

  • Carnival, Calypso and Steel Pan: A Bibliographic Guide to Popular Music of the English-Speaking Caribbean and Its Diaspora by John Gray A companion to the author¿s earlier volume Jamaican Popular Music, this landmark new work helps fill a major gap in the reference literature. For the first time ever it offers students and researchers an in-depth guide to the large body of materials available on masquerade and popular music traditions of the English-speaking Caribbean. Comprised of some 3400 annotated entries it documents a literature, both popular and scholarly, that now spans more than 85 years and ranges across disciplines as diverse as social and cultural history, anthropology, ethnomusicology, literature and economics.
    The book¿s main focus is on three tightly intertwined topics¿Carnival, calypso and steel pan¿and how each has evolved, both inside of Trinidad, their most important hub, and abroad in the large West Indian enclaves of New York, London and Toronto. The Carnival side of this trinity, a critical showcase for the region¿s music and dance styles, is treated comprehensively. This includes an unprecedented level of detail on each of the four major Caribbean Carnivals¿Trinidad Carnival, Brooklyn¿s Labor Day Carnival, London¿s Notting Hill Carnival, and Toronto¿s Caribana¿as well as important precursors such as Harlem¿s West Indian Day Parades of the 1940s and ¿50s and the early London Carnivals organized by Claudia Jones. Carnival¿s musical aspects, both calypso and steel pan, are also covered in depth. In the case of calypso that encompasses all of its various forms, from its antecedents in kalinda stick-fighting to the ¿jump and wave¿ soca of today. A multitude of contemporary offshoots (e.g., binghi, chutney soca, ragga soca, ringbang, and gospelypso) are also documented in full. Numerous other sources help illuminate calypso¿s central role as a vehicle for social and political commentary and its perspective on issues as diverse as immigration, race and gender relations, and national identity. Steel pan, calypso¿s cousin, is discussed from the music¿s introduction on the regional and international scene in the 1950s to its more recent role in the music programs of North America and Great Britain. A substantial Biographical and Critical Studies section documents the contributions made to these traditions by almost 600 individual performers and ensembles.
    Citations span from 1852 to 2012, with the bulk having been published between the 1930s and 2012. They encompass musical and cultural analyses, ethnographies, oral histories, popular histories and reportage along with a wealth of archival, audio-visual, and electronic resources. The book concludes with an extensive reference section that includes a list of Sources Consulted, a guide to relevant Libraries and Archives, two appendices, and separate Author and Subject Indexes.

    Call Number: ML120.C25 G73 2015

  • From Vodou to Zouk: A Bibliographic Guide to Music of the French-Speaking Caribbean and Its Diaspora by John Gray; Julian Gerstin (Foreword by) The inaugural volume in ADP’s Black Music Reference Series, From Vodou to Zouk is a landmark bibliography documenting vernacular music traditions of Haiti and the French-speaking Caribbean. Its nearly 1300 entries cover all of the French-speaking islands, in particular Haiti, Martinique, Guadeloupe, and French Guiana, as well as their overseas enclaves in France, the United States and Canada. Most works are in English, French, and Spanish, with the bulk having been published between the 1930s and 2008. Of particular note is the strong representation of sources from the Caribbean and France not found anywhere else. A scholarly foreword by ethnomusicologist Julian Gerstin helps to contextualize the history of the region and its vibrant musical legacy.

    Call Number: ML128.F74 G73 2010

Suggested Databases

Music Databases

  • Music Index Index to publications covering music, musicians, and the music industry.
  • Music Periodicals Database Scholarly and popular articles about music, with coverage from 1874 to present.
  • RILM Abstracts of Music Literature Répertoire International de Littérature Musicale (RILM) Abstracts of Music Literature providing comprehensive coverage of music-related literature and research published in journals, books, conference proceedings, and more.

Latin American Studies Databases

  • Chicano Database Index to materials on Mexican-American topics 1960 to the present, produced by the Ethnic Studies Library at the University of California, Berkeley. Includes coverage of Latinx experience, Cuban Americans, and Central American immigrants,
  • Digitalia Hispanica Books and journals in Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Catalan covering arts, humanities, social sciences and sciences.
  • Ethnic NewsWatch Newspapers, magazines, and journals published by ethnic and minority presses.
  • JSTOR Full-text archive of scholarly publications, including ebooks, in mathematics, science, the arts and humanities, and the social sciences.



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