The music of the peoples of South and Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean has never received a comprehensive treatment in English until this multi-volume work. Taking a sociocultural and human-centered approach, Music in Latin America and the Caribbean gathers the best scholarship from writers all over the world to cover in depth the musical legacies of indigenous peoples, creoles, African descendants, Iberian colonizers, and other immigrant groups that met and mixed in the New World. Within a history marked by cultural encounters and dislocations, music emerges as the powerful tool that negotiates identities, enacts resistance, performs belief, and challenges received aesthetics. This work, more than two decades in the making, was conceived as part of "The Universe of Music: A History" project, initiated by and developed in cooperation with the International Music Council, with the goals of empowering Latin Americans and Caribbeans to shape their own musical history and emphasizing the role that music plays in human life. The four volumes that constitute this work are structured as parts of a single conception and gather 150 contributions by more than 100 distinguished scholars representing 36 countries.
Volume 1, Performing Beliefs: Indigenous Peoples of South America, Central America, and Mexico, focuses on the inextricable relationships between worldviews and musical experience in the current practices of indigenous groups. Worldviews are built into, among other things, how music is organized and performed, how musical instruments are constructed and when they are played, choreographic formations, the structure of songs, the assignment of gender to instruments, and ritual patterns. Two CDs with 44 recorded examples illustrate the contributions to this rich volume.