Harmony and Normalization: US-Cuban Musical Diplomacy (University Press of Mississippi, 2020) explores the channels of musical exchange between Cuba and the United States during the eight-year presidency of Barack Obama, who eased the musical embargo of the island and restored relations with Cuba. Musical exchanges during this period act as a lens through which to view not only US-Cuban musical relations but also the larger political, economic, and cultural implications of musical dialogue between these two nations. In this first book on the subject since Obama’s presidency, musicologist Timothy P. Storhoff describes how, after specific policy changes, musicians were some of the first to take advantage of new opportunities for travel, push the boundaries of new regulations, and expose both the possibilities and limitations of licensing musical exchange. This ethnography demonstrates how performances reflect aspirations for stronger transnational ties and a common desire to restore the once-thriving US-Cuban musical relationship.
Dr. Timothy Storhoff is an orchestra administrator, fundraiser, and ethnomusicologist in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
Emily Ruth Allen (@emmyru91) is a PhD candidate in Musicology at Florida State University. She is currently working on a dissertation about parade musics in Mobile, Alabama’s Carnival celebrations.