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"Return to My Native Land" Vodou Jazz in Post-Occupation Haiti

Barson, Benjamin (2017) "Return to My Native Land" Vodou Jazz in Post-Occupation Haiti. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The United States marines occupied Haiti from 1915 - 1934. During the occupation, US marines helped introduce and popularize jazz music to Haitian youth. By the 1930s, several Haitian jazz groups took root, often intermixing the imported American form with folkloric garb, songs deriving from the vodou cultures, and gestures to the anti-occupation indigénisme movement. In Caribbean countries (not unlike the United States), music often assumes what Gérard Béhauge has called “counterhegemonic strategies toward the elimination of political and economic subordination.” Despite the music’s arrival from United States armed forces, young Haitians identified the music as their own, and simultaneously as an expression of an African diasporic consciousness. Some even contrasted jazz to things foreign: One popular group, Jazz de Jeunes, asserted that “Jazz des Jeunes is the Haitian people’s treasured child. Their pride, their dignity, is to eat their own food. Living from their Garden, they love being ancient. By extolling the foreign, you betray only yourself.” This paper illuminates how these meanings of jazz took root for young Haitians in the interwar period, and the political valences of negritude and indigénisme that it became associated with. In doing so, it illustrates larger intra-national trends regarding the communicative and organizing powers of Black Atlantic music.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Barson, Benjaminbmb119@pitt.edubmb119
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairHeller,
Committee MemberJohnson,
Committee MemberRediker,
Committee MemberPutnam,
Date: 14 June 2017
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 14 April 2017
Approval Date: 14 June 2017
Submission Date: 14 April 2017
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 105
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Music
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Jazz, Music, Haiti, Vodou, Marines, Cuba, Danzon
Date Deposited: 14 Jun 2017 14:25
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2017 14:25

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  • "Return to My Native Land" Vodou Jazz in Post-Occupation Haiti. (deposited 14 Jun 2017 14:25) [Currently Displayed]


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