Author Event: Umi Vaughan
14th & V | Langston Room | August 11, 2014 | 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Teaching for Change Bookstore at Busboys and Poets welcomes Umi Vaughan for a book discussion and drum demonstration. 

Bata identifies both the two-headed, hourglass-shaped drum of the Yoruba people and the culture and style of drumming, singing, and dancing associated with it. This book recounts the life story of Carlos Aldama, one of the masters of the bata drum, and through that story traces the history of bata culture as it traveled from Africa to Cuba and then to the United States. For the enslaved Yoruba, bata rhythms helped sustain the religious and cultural practices of a people that had been torn from its roots. Aldama, as guardian of Afro-Cuban music and as a Santeria priest, maintains the link with this tradition forged through his mentor Jesus Perez (Oba Ilu), who was himself the connection to the preserved oral heritage of the older generation. By sharing his stories, Aldama and his student Umi Vaughan bring to light the techniques and principles of bata in all its aspects and document the tensions of maintaining a tradition between generations and worlds, old and new. The book includes rare photographs and access to downloadable audio tracks."

Rebel Dance, Renegade Stance: Timba Music and Black Identity in Cuba

"Rebel Dance, Renegade Stance" shows how community music-makers and dancers take in all that is around them socially and globally, and publicly and bodily unfold their memories, sentiments, and raw responses within open spaces designated or commandeered for local popular dance. Umi Vaughan, an African American anthropologist, musician, dancer, and photographer "plantao" in Cuba--planted, living like a Cuban--reveals a rarely discussed perspective on contemporary Cuban society during the 1990s, the peak decade of timba, and beyond, as the Cuban leadership transferred from Fidel Castro to his brother. Simultaneously, the book reveals popular dance music in the context of a young and astutely educated Cuban generation of fierce and creative performers.

By looking at the experiences of black Cubans and exploring the notion of "Afro Cuba," "Rebel Dance, Renegade Stance" explains timba's evolution and achieved significance in the larger context of Cuban culture. Vaughan discusses a maroon aesthetic extended beyond the colonial era to the context of contemporary society; describes the dance spaces of Cuba; and examines the performance of identity and desire through the character of the "especulador." This book will find an audience with musicians, anthropologists, ethnomusicologists, interdisciplinary specialists in performance studies, cultural studies, and Latin American and Caribbean studies, as well as laypeople who are interested in Atlantic/African and African American/Africana studies and/or Cuban culture.

Sponsored by  Teaching for Change and 
Busboys and Poets


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