Going Primitive to the Movements and Sounds of Mambo
Part 1: Summary.
In his article, David F. Garcia exposes the undercover reason why many contemporary musicians, dancers, journalists, andhistorians of the 1940s and 1950s refused to acknowledge Mambo as a musical and dance movement throughout the American continent. Their anxieties with reference to race and culture make brief andaccented appearances throughout their comments and articles at the hands of words like primitive and the Afro- prefix. David Garcia utilized Homi Bhabha’s The Location of culture to get his point across. Inhis book Bhabha underscored the colonists’ desire for a racially homogenous world.
While reading articles from journalist Jess Stearn, Cuban composer and music historian Odilio Urfe, and comments bymusician Percy Faith, David Garcia was able to identify “that the sound of mambo music and the ways in which dancers used and moved their bodies to that sound reminded Stearn, Faith, and others ofracial and cultural differences that threatened their fantasy of or desire for a culturally, moralistically, and racially homogeneous world.” (Going Primitive to the Movements and Sounds of Mambo, Pg.512) Garcia stated that these historians, musicians and journalists have in common three evolutionism and primitivism ideas of the mid-nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The first one being theabsence of organization and refinement in the mambo music and dance, the second is the exclusion of mambo music and dance racially, and the third is “the framing of mambo music and dance asfundamentally primal and thus antithetical to modern urban life in the Americas.” (Pg. 506)
Something that prevails in this article is the sense that mambo antagonizes the European standards of making anddancing music. For centuries Europeans and Euro-Americans musicians and dance teachers have developed patterns for music, where coordination and structure are the main protagonists. Whereas Mambo jumped...
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