Tag Archives: Caribbean

Mickey Hart and endangered music


In 1990 Mickey Hart and the Library of Congress’s American Folklife Center began work on what would become known as the Endangered Music Project—an effort to disseminate both new and archival recordings of vanishing world traditions.

In a 1993 interview, Hart described assembling the tracks for the project’s first CD release, The spirit cries: Music from the rainforests of South America & the Caribbean:

“My selection process was mostly earplay…I didn’t want it to be an ethnography specifically of the area, I wanted it to be a popular work.”

“I would listen to them over and over…in different environments, on the beach, in the house, in the car….I would listen in the morning, the afternoon, and the evening, and the selection revealed itself to me.”

This according to “Opening up the ‘Oz of archives’: Mickey Hart and the Endangered Music Project” by James McKee (Folklife Center news XV/1 [winter 1993] pp. 3–7).

Today is Hart’s 70th birthday! Below, a brief documentary about The spirit cries.

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Filed under Ethnomusicology, West Indies

Katharine Dunham and L’ag’ya

The peoples of the Caribbean welcomed Katharine Dunham and shared their dance cultures with her; her obligations toward them figure in her danced testimonies to their hospitality.

Her solo in L’ag’ya (1938) was not a collusion with colonial ideologies of appropriation—it was a testament to the immediacy of performance and the importance of maintaining a welcoming openness in the face of the overwhelming idea of infinity.

This according to “Hospitality and translation in Katherine Dunham’s L’ag’ya” by Ramsay Burt, an essay included in Proceedings: Society of Dance History Scholars (Stoughton: Society of Dance History Scholars, 2003) pp. 8–11. Above, Dunham with Vanoye Aikens in L’ag’ya in 1938; below, excerpts from Dunham’s solo from a silent 1947 film.

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Filed under Dance