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Jump Up!Caribbean Carnival Music in New York$
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Ray Allen

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190656843

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190656843.001.0001

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J’Ouvert in Brooklyn

J’Ouvert in Brooklyn

Revitalizing Carnival Tradition

(p.207) 8 J’Ouvert in Brooklyn
Jump Up!

Ray Allen

Oxford University Press

Chapter 8 describes the emergence of Brooklyn’s J’Ouvert celebration in the 1990s. With its steelband and percussion-only policy, which strictly forbade deejays and amplified bands, J’Ouvert reflected a conscious attempt to preserve and revitalize older Carnival musical practices as forms of cultural heritage in response to their near disappearance from the more commercial Eastern Parkway parade. This chapter will flesh out the emergence of Brooklyn J’Ouvert, focusing on how a group of Trinidadian migrants revived a century-old celebration to create an event that appeared to some to actually be “more authentic” than what was going on back in Trinidad at the time. It is an extraordinary story of cultural revitalization within Brooklyn’s Caribbean community. Brooklyn J’Ouvert was derived from its parent Trinidad celebration, but like many diasporic expressions, it took on a life of its own.

Keywords:   Brooklyn, J’Ouvert, Carnival, cultural heritage, steelband, diaspora, cultural revitalization, Caribbean community

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