The Popular Music and Entertainment Culture of Barbados: Pathways to Digital Culture

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9780810877498: The Popular Music and Entertainment Culture of Barbados: Pathways to Digital Culture

During the second half of the 20th century, the Caribbean island of Barbados emerged as a key player in the creation and nurturing of Caribbean popular music. And, yet, despite its vital role in the popularization of tuk music, the rise of spouge, and the Barbadian contribution to and transformation of other Carribean music traditions, there is still relatively little sustained critical literature that discusses the various strands of the island’s music culture.

Curwen Best’s The Popular Music and Entertainment Culture of Barbados provides this long overdue survey of the development of Barbadian popular music and entertainment culture by focusing on pivotal phenomena, artists and movements in the evolution of Barbadian popular music and culture. Best concentrates, in particular, on transformations since 1980 and 2000 respectively, each of which marked the ushering in of new opportunities and challenges to the creation and dissemination of Barbadian popular music. His study considers the telling roles played by the expanding influence of western popular culture, the Internet, post-dancehall and post-soca aesthetics, cyberculture, digital culture, and the subterranean lure of traditional culture. Readers will find especially compelling Best’s analyses of selected artists, musical genres, and phenomena, such as Gabby, Rihanna, Jackie Opel, Alison Hinds, Rupee, Red Plastic Bag, Lil’ Rick, spouge, tuk, ringbang, gospel, dub/dancehall, calypso, soca, folk, alternative, hip hop, Crop Over, Jazz Festival, National Independence Festival of Creative Arts, BajanTube, party politics and entertainment, popular bands, music technology, the Internet and new frontiers of cultural expression.

This book will be of significant interest to scholars, students and all those curious about Caribbean popular culture, the popular music of Barbados, and the impact of emerging technologies on cultural development in a small island state.

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About the Author:

Curwen Best is professor of Popular Culture, Literary, and Cultural Studies at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus Barbados. He is Head of the Department of Language Linguistics and Literature.

Review:

Professor Best's research skillfully weaves the paradoxes of resistance and subjection as the warf and weft of a musical tapestry begun in the slavery period, but undergoing renovation in the digital era. . . .Pathways also offers a valuable and long overdue survey of twentieth-century social, economic, and technological developments. . . .Historians and scholars will certainly appreciate the enormous detail and research found in the historical background. Musicians can appreciate the intimate understanding the author has of both the cultural and technical nuances of Barbados and Caribbean music. Cultural enthusiasts will particularly enjoy the insightful observations of people and artists from a variety of islands involved in the growing Caribbean music industry. (Caribbean Studies)

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