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Full Extreme: Party Music, Affect, and the Politics of Modernity

Jocelyne Guilbault, University of California, Berkeley

October 16, 2019 · 4:30 pm-6:00 pm · Cone Seminar Room, Woolworth

David A Gardner '69 Magic Project

During Carnival masquerade, music occupies the streets. Members of masquerade bands carefully choose the songs they play along the circuit they travel for one important reason: to have their favorite song win the Road March competition. The Road March winner is determined by the number of times a song is played at the judging points during Carnival Tuesday.

This paper focuses on the 2017 Road March song, “Full Extreme,” the song that played almost 500 more times than its closer competitor that year. I examine this song as an event that reveals how various forces and intensities are at play in foregrounding simultaneously “collective effervescence” (Durkheim 1995 [1912]) and the local tradition of calypso’s critical rhetoric in Trinidad. By exploring how it has galvanized massive support, I show how this song confronts what has been at the core of the exclusionist politics of modernity and what is called for not only to create mass appeal, but also to encourage public engagement and political debate in modern democracies.

This colloquium is part of the “Sound Knowledges” series, a Humanities Council Magic Project curated by Gavin Steingo (Music)

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