A Day for the Hunter, a Day for the Prey: Popular Music and by Gage Averill

By Gage Averill

The background of Haiti in the course of the 20th century has been marked via oppression by the hands of colonial and dictatorial overlords. yet set by contrast "day for the hunter" has been a "day for the prey," a historical past of resistance, and occasionally of triumph. With prepared cultural and ancient know-how, Gage Averill indicates that Haiti's brilliant and expressive track has been the most hugely charged tools during this struggle—one within which energy, politics, and resistance are inextricably fused.

Averill explores such different genres as Haitian jazz, troubadour traditions, Vodou-jazz, konpa, mini-djaz, new new release, and roots track. He examines the advanced interplay of song with energy in contexts akin to honorific rituals, subsidized road celebrations, Carnival, and social hobbies that span the political spectrum.

With firsthand bills via musicians, images, music texts, and ethnographic descriptions, this publication explores the profound manifestations of strength and tune within the daily efforts of normal Haitians to upward push above political repression.

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Extra info for A Day for the Hunter, a Day for the Prey: Popular Music and Power in Haiti (Chicago Studies in Ethnomusicology)

Sample text

Like the ochan, it is a practice that spans sacred and secular contexts. "^' According to Karen McCarthy Brown, “A pwen may consist of words, gestures, ritual objects, or herbs rubbed into a small cut in a person’s skin. ”28Thus, one meaning of pwen is a class of “magical” spells whose power works over distances. The art of chan pwenwhich can imply sending an “opinion” or point of view in the midst of an argument or conflict, as well as sending the power of song against someone else-is part of the traditional musicopolitical arsenal of the musician.

In the 1880s, this contest became embodied in the two political parties: the Parti Liberal and the Parti National. ”8This prototype of race-based political affiliation leads to much more sophisticated use of racial identity politics following the American occupation of Haiti in 1915, and this will be covered in Chapter 2 . I have referred to the cultural gulf between the classes, and I should elaborate on this before proceeding. Haiti is (arguably) a diglossic country. The elite and educated middle class speak French in more formal and official contexts and use Creole widely for informal discourse (jokes, insults, and in friendly or familial contexts).

The pleasure that a group takes in singing along with a pwen is not in receiving a critique in its entirety but in deciphering the critique and combining it with the unspoken, shared community knowledge of what has occurred. 34The intended target is often not named, but his or her identity is left vague or even misnamed. Euphemisms, double entendres, metaphors of various kinds, coded messages, homonymic puns, and allusions are all deployed to thicken the play of the text. These tropes of indirect signification increasingly make their way 18 Chapter One into urban popular music between the 1930s and the 1990s from their “home” in traditional rural and lower-class forms.

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