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“Untimely Participation and Colonial Aesthetics in Wilders Music” by: Jessica Swanston Baker
December 4 @ 3:30 pm - 5:00 pm
Assistant Professor Jessica Swanston Baker
University of Chicago
In the eastern Caribbean islands of St. Kitts and Nevis, wilders, a contemporary popular music genre, is imagined and discussed as “too fast.” And while discursive categorization of the genre posits the sounds— the rhythms and the melodies—as unfolding at an excessively fast rate, the musicians, too, are regarded as being out of sync. That is, musicians who choose to play wilders and form wilders bands are caught up in multi-layered conversations about their legitimacy as musicians because of the music they play, where, and how they come to learn, practice, and perform it. Considering these conversations in the context of the postcolonial Caribbean, this talk traces the history and the legacy of coloniality within post- and anti-colonial education reforms. Where, through education regimes, Kittitians and Nevisians come to understand legitimate musicianship to be a slowly measured process, wilders musicians offer a different conception of time, musicianship, and mastery and are necessarily and intentionally untimely.