"Mek Some Noise", Timothy Rommen’s ethnographic study of Trinidadian gospel music, engages the multiple musical styles circulating in the nation’s Full Gospel community and illustrates the carefully negotiated and contested spaces that they occupy in relationship to questions of identity. By exploring gospelypso, jamoo (“Jehovah’s music”), gospel dancehall, and North American gospel music, along with the discourses that surround performances in these styles, he illustrates the extent to which value, meaning, and appropriateness are continually circumscribed and reinterpreted in the process of coming to terms with what it looks and sounds like to be a Full Gospel believer in Trinidad. The local, regional, and transnational implications of these musical styles, moreover, are read in relationship to their impact on belief (and vice versa), revealing the particularly nuanced poetics of conviction that drive both apologists and detractors of these styles.
Rommen sets his investigation against a concisely drawn, richly historical narrative and introduces a theoretical approach which he calls the "ethics of style"—a model that privileges the convictions embedded in this context and that emphasizes their role in shaping the terms upon which identity is continually being constructed in Trinidad. The result is an extended meditation on the convictions that lie behind the creation and reception of style in Full Gospel Trinidad.
Copub: Center for Black Music Research
List of Illustrations
1. Music, Memory, and Identity in Full Gospel Trinidad
2. The Ethics of Style
3. Nationalism and the Soul: Gospelypso as Independence
4. Transnational Dreams, Global Desires: North America as Sound
5. Regionalisms: Performances beyond a Boundary
6. Jehovah’s Music: Jammin’ at the Margins of Trinidadian Gospel Music
7. Reenvisioning Ethics, Revisiting Style
Timothy Rommen is Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Pennsylvania.
“A remarkably rich and nuanced ethnographic work that breaks important new ground.”—World Of Music
“The author’s treatment of Trinidadian musical styles is exemplary.”—Journal Of American Folklore
“A fresh contribution to the study of religion and popular culture in Trinidad.”—Keith E. McNeal Journal American Academy Of Religion/ Jaar
“Introduces an invaluable ‘on the ground’ view of an emerging tradition and its unique conceptual spaces.”—Rory M. Johnson Journal Of Religion
"'Mek Some Noise'
combines rich ethnographic details with a conceptually innovative perspective on the embattled field that music represents for Full Gospel Christians in Trinidad. Compelling, incisive, and original, this book makes a superb contribution to an understanding of music, identity, and spirituality in and beyond the Caribbean."—Jocelyne Guilbault, author of Zouk: World Music in the West Indies
"Timothy Rommen's persuasive argument about the ethics of style in Trinidadian Full Gospel worship possesses not only regional but global implications for the study of music in community. Significantly expanding on subcultural theory, Rommen captures the power of belief and conviction in musical life. This book guides us on an exploration of the role that musical style plays in moral and ethical discourse, skillfully illustrating how our musical choices reveal our ethical judgments."—Gage Averill, Dean of Music, University of Toronto
Alan Merriam Award, Society for Ethnomusicology