Danzón Days: Age, Race, and Romance in Mexico (Music in American Life) (Hardcover)

Danzón Days: Age, Race, and Romance in Mexico (Music in American Life) By Hettie Malcomson Cover Image

Danzón Days: Age, Race, and Romance in Mexico (Music in American Life) (Hardcover)


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Older people negotiating dance routines, intimacy, and racialized differences provide a focal point for an ethnography of danzón in Veracruz, the Mexican city closely associated with the music-dance genre. Hettie Malcomson draws upon on-site research with semi-professional musicians and amateur dancers to reveal how danzón connects, and does not connect, to blackness, joyousness, nostalgia, ageing, and romance. Challenging pervasive utopian views of danzón, Malcomson uses the idea of ambivalence to explore the frictions and opportunities created by seemingly contrary sentiments, ideas, sensations, and impulses. Interspersed with experimental ethnographic vignettes, her account takes readers into black and mestizo elements of local identity in Veracruz, nostalgic and newer styles of music and dance, and the friendships, romances, and rivalries at the heart of regular danzón performance and its complex social world.

Fine-grained and evocative, Danzón Days journeys to one of the genre’s essential cities to provide new perspectives on aging and romance and new explorations of nostalgia and ambivalence.

Hettie Malcomson is an associate professor of ethnomusicology and social anthropology at the University of Southampton.
Product Details ISBN: 9780252045004
ISBN-10: 0252045009
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Publication Date: May 23rd, 2023
Pages: 280
Language: English
Series: Music in American Life
“Malcomson provides a superb ethnographic study of ambivalence in lived experience: danzón is disciplinary and jealously competitive, yet it gives aficionados room to be creative and convivial, and to weave identities around narratives of blackness and race mixture, local histories, and personal trajectories. A brilliant exploration of how people navigate the contradictions of everyday life.”--Peter Wade, coeditor of Against Racism: Organizing for Social Change in Latin America