Sounds of Vacation

Political Economies of Caribbean Tourism

Book Pages: 248 Illustrations: Published: August 2019

Anthropology, Caribbean Studies, Music > Ethnomusicology

The contributors to Sounds of Vacation examine the commodification of music and sound at popular vacation destinations throughout the Caribbean in order to tease out the relationships between political economy, hospitality, and the legacies of slavery and colonialism. Drawing on case studies from Barbados, the Bahamas, Guadeloupe, Saint Martin, and Saint Lucia, the contributors point to the myriad ways live performances, programmed music, and the sonic environment heighten tourists' pleasurable vacation experience. They explore, among other topics, issues of authenticity in Bahamian music; efforts to give tourists in Barbados peace and quiet at a former site of colonial violence; and how resort soundscapes extend beyond music to encompass the speech accents of local residents. Through interviews with resort managers, musicians, and hospitality workers, the contributors also outline the social, political, and economic pressures and interests that affect musical labor and the social encounters of musical production. In so doing, they prompt a rethinking of how to account for music and sound's resonances in postcolonial spaces.

Contributors. Jerome Camal, Steven Feld, Francio Guadeloupe, Jocelyne Guilbault, Jordi Halfman, Susan Harewood, Percy C. Hintzen, Timothy Rommen


“Illuminating the ways that the sonic environment of inclusive resorts inform tourists' experiences of pleasure, postcolonial spaces, and colonial histories, Sounds of Vacation represents an exciting new approach to studying tourism, the politics of sound and listening, and the sonic and musical construction of space and fantasy.” — Colleen Ballerino Cohen, author of Take Me to My Paradise: Tourism and Nationalism in the British Virgin Islands

Sounds of Vacation takes Caribbean music studies, and music and tourism studies more broadly, to the next level. Jocelyne Guilbault and Timothy Rommen’s learned and comprehensive introduction paves the way for fresh and compelling case studies by leading scholars from a variety of fields who show us how vacations work in a world increasingly disfigured by neoliberal capitalism.” — Timothy D. Taylor, author of Music in the World: Selected Essays

“The book achieves its central goal of offering new perspectives on musical performances in the Caribbean region while also calling for further studies on the political economy of music within the tourism industry.… Sounds of Vacation presents a range of voices from scholars with a diversity of perspectives that will help the book speak to audiences interested in ethnomusicology, anthropology, and sound studies beyond the Caribbean.”

— Jessica C. Hajek, Ethnomusicology Forum

“Clearly, mass tourism has become ubiquitous throughout the Caribbean (and beyond), and ethnographers of sound and music should pay serious attention to the ways in which this phenomenon influences musico-cultural production—a project for which this book wonderfully lays the groundwork…. This trailblazing book provides many starting points for exciting research to come.” — Amalia C. Mora, MUSICultures


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Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Jocelyne Guilbault is Professor of Music at the University of California, Berkeley, and coauthor of Roy Cape: A Life on the Calypso and Soca Bandstand, also published by Duke University Press.

Timothy Rommen is Davidson Kennedy Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Music and Africana Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. He is the author of Funky Nassau: Roots, Routes, and Representation in Bahamian Popular Music.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments  vii
Prologue / Steven Feld  1
Introduction. The Political Economy of Music and Sound: Case Studies in the Caribbean Tourism Industry / Jocelyne Guilbault and Timothy Rommen  9
1. It Sounds Better in the Bahamas: Musicians, Management, and the Markets in Nassau's All-Inclusive Hotels / Timothy Rommen  41
2. Touristic Rhythms: The Club Remix / Jerome Camal  77
3. Listening for Noise: Seeking Disturbing Sounds in Tourist Spaces / Susan Harewood  107
4. All-Inclusive Resorts in Sint Maarten and Our Common Decolonial State: On Butterflies That Are Caterpillars Still in Chrysalis / Francio Guadeloupe and Jordi Halfman  134
5. Sound Management: Listening to Sandals Halcyon in Saint Lucia / Jocelyne Guilbault   161
Epilogue. The Political Economy of Music and Sound / Percy C. Hintzen  193
References  207
Contributors  227
Index  229
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0488-2 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0428-8