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Rara! Vodou, Power, and Performance in Haiti and Its Diaspora 50615th Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0520228238
ISBN-10: 0520228235
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"McAlister demonstrates how religious ritual, Rara songs, and outbursts of violence during marches were coded messages of popular resistance to the ruling elite."--Choice

From the Inside Flap

"This is a startling, stunning, and fascinating book about the blend of music, religion, and politics in Haitian culture. McAlister's mastery of many different ways of knowing makes this study an endless source of insight, intrigue, and inspiration. Rara! succeeds magnificently as an exploration into Rara rituals and Haitian music, but it also presents original and generative insights into every aspect of Haiti's past, present, and future."—George Lipsitz, author of Dangerous Crossroads

"This is a major contribution to the literature on Vodou, Haiti, popular culture, Caribbean culture and music, transnational immigrant practices, and the corpus of black religions in the Americas. It is an extremely well-written, well researched and argued, and highly readable book."—Lawrence H. Mamiya, co-author of The Black Church in the African American Experience

"This is a smart and thoughtful book by a very talented ethnographer. Anyone interested in Haiti will appreciate the work of Elizabeth McAlister."—Karen Brown, author of Mama Lola: A Vodou Priestess in Brooklyn

"A rare in-depth look at an extremely popular, yet often misunderstood phenomenon. With this book and CD, Elizabeth McAlister, an involved observer, makes an incalculable contribution to our musical and cultural literature."—Edwidge Danticat, author of The Farming of Bones: A Novel
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 277 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 50615th edition (March 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520228235
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520228238
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #987,698 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I can't recommend this book highly enough for anyone interested in world music, Afro-Caribbean religion and Haitian culture. Very few academically researched books convey this level of top quality, engaging writing. I couldn't put it down! Rara is a unique, fascinating musical form indigenous to the Caribbean and affiliated with the Haitian peasantry and vodou. It's hard to explain -- a multi-layered, polyphonic music akin to the minimalism of Steve Reich, but much cooler. If you're lucky enough to live in New York or Miami, you can see rara every weekend during the summer in your own city! This book explains the history, culture and significance of the music. And it also includes a CD so you can hear the music for yourself. Highly recommended!
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This book was written by someone who obviously lives within the Haitian culture. There are so many gems of information, and so much understanding and love of the people and culture of this mysterious land. By the time I had finished reading it, barriers had been removed. I felt as though I had spent time there, had experienced the Rara bands and danced elbow to elbow with them.

The subject matter is enticing, and the writing is enjoyable. I read this several years ago, and intend to reread it often, to increase my understanding of Haitian culture. Heck, I just want to dance with them again!
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A fantastic piece of scholarship written by a fantastic scholar and human. If you are interested in Haiti and enjoy good ethnography, this should not be skipped.
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I had never heard of Rara. I am glad I read it. I would encourage those who have a strong interest in Haiti to read it.
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