Noise Uprising: The Audiopolitics of a World Musical Revolution


Friday, September 4, 2015

7:30 PM to 9:00 PM

September 4, 7:30pm
As part of the Interference Archive’s if a song could be freedom… exhibition, join cultural historian and Verso author Michael Denning in a discussion of the politics of early recorded music, the subject of his new book, Noise Uprising: The Audiopolitics of a World Musical Revolution. What are the origins of the musical styles and idioms of recorded music? How did Havana’s son, Rio’s samba, New Orleans’ jazz, Buenos Aires’ tango, Seville’s flamenco, Cairo’s tarab, Johannesburg’s marabi, Jakarta’s kroncong, and Honolulu’s hula reverberate around the globe? Why did hundreds of unknown musicians enter makeshift studios to record the melodies and rhythms of urban streets and dancehalls in the late 1920s and early 1930s? What were the politics of these shellac disks? How did they trigger the first great battle over popular music and become the soundtrack to decolonization?
Michael Denning teaches cultural studies at Yale University, and is the author of The Cultural Front: The Laboring of American Culture in the Twentieth Century and Culture in the Age of Three Worlds.
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“An instant classic. It utterly revises the history and geography of modern music.”
– Vijay Prashad
“An ambitious record of a revolution in sound in the late 1920s that erupted in port towns everywhere, from Cape Town to Shanghai—local guilds operating autonomously but in global unison like a cosmic fugue.”
– Timothy Brennan, author of Secular Devotion: Afro-Latin Music and Imperial Jazz
“I suspect it will be the most important book released on music this year.”
– Jonathon Kyle Sturgeon, Flavorwire
“Which of the senses was decolonized first? In making a case for the ear, Denning has given us a brilliant, audacious guidebook to the sly but unruly insurgencies of sound that coursed through the port cities of the Black Atlantic, the Polynesian Pacific, and the Gypsy Mediterranean.”
– Andrew Ross
“A monumental rewriting of the global history of recorded music. Every future attempt to analyze the sounds and politics of the international music industry will need to reckon with this powerful book.”
– Josh Kun, University of Southern California