1 Department of English, Faculty of Humanities, Aarhus University, Aarhus University2 School of Communication and Culture - Department of English, School of Communication and Culture, Arts, Aarhus University3 School of Communication and Culture - Department of English, School of Communication and Culture, Arts, Aarhus University
Charting Van Dyke Parks's New World Musical Voyage
During the early 1970s the American song-writer, musician and producer Van Dyke Parks completed work on a series of albums exploring the musical contours of the circum-Caribbean region and, through them, broader patterns and issues in 20th century US-Caribbean relations. Focusing on the connections between the United States and the (former) British colony of Trinidad and Tobago as articulated via the latter's calypso and steel band traditions, these recordings (two solo albums and two productions) not only explore the grammar, vocabulary and subject matter of a new world music before the phrase ‘world music' was conceived; they also invite a range of scholarly interpretations. Drawing on a selection of theoretical concepts - notably cultural imperialism, the Black Atlantic, minstrelsy, and world music itself - this article offers a set of formalist and contextualist readings intended to rehearse Parks's Caribbean work as both a case study in (and a challenge to aspects of) the inter-disciplinary analysis of popular music.