Listening in Detail is an original and impassioned take on the intellectual and sensory bounty of Cuban music as it circulates between the island, the United States, and other locations. It is also a powerful critique of efforts to define "Cuban music" for ethnographic examination or market consumption. Contending that the music is not a knowable entity but a spectrum of dynamic practices that elude definition, Alexandra T. Vazquez models a new way of writing about music and the meanings assigned to it. "Listening in detail" is a method invested in opening up, rather than pinning down, experiences of Cuban music. Critiques of imperialism, nationalism, race, and gender emerge in fragments and moments, and in gestures and sounds through Vazquez's engagement with Alfredo Rodriguez's album Cuba Linda (1996), the seventy-year career of the vocalist Graciela Perez, the signature grunt of the "Mambo King" Damaso Perez Prado, Cuban music documentaries of the 1960s, and late-twentieth-century concert ephemera.
Alexandra T. Vazquez is Assistant Professor of African American Studies and English at Princeton University.
Illustrations ix Acknowledgments xi Introduction 1 1. Performing Anthology: The Mystical Qualities of Alfredo Rodriguez's Cuba Linda 43 2. "Una Escuela Rara": The Graciela School 93 3. Itinerant Outbursts: The Grunt of Damaso Perez Prado 131 4. Visual Arrangements, Sonic Impressions: The Cuban Musical Documentaries of Rogelio Paris and Sara Gomez 165 5. Cold War Kids In Concert 203 Notes 235 Bibliography 301 Index 319