Travels with My Trombone: A Caribbean Journey

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9780002157407: Travels with My Trombone: A Caribbean Journey

From the siesta to fiesta, the lifeblood of the Caribbean is in the rhythms of the salsa, calypso and zouk. The author of this book left London for Trinidad seeking to tap some of this bravura by joining a salsa band - the heart of the islands - and this book tells of his experiences. Caught in the exhilaration of carnival in Port of Spain, jamming with a police band in Grenada, witness to the thunderous drumming in the invocation of the god Shango in Trinidad and learning an unfamiliar style of zouk for a one-night stand in Dominica, Shukman's quest to share the musical roots of the people of the islands uncovered a world of powerful eroticism, ritual and mysticism. And on the mainland, the then travel-hardened Shukman was hurled into another world of carnival in the Colombian salsa capital Cali, sang the vallenato in the plaza of the northern town of La Gloria and was awoken in Cartegena to the nightmare of being falsely arrested as a supsected drug trafficker.

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From Kirkus Reviews:

Thin, uninflected report on several months that English author/musician Shukman (Sons of the Moon, 1990) spent caroming about the Lesser Antilles and the South American highlands of Ecuador and Colombia. Presumably aiming for the picaresque, Shukman allows his narrative to sprawl, piling up irrelevant detail as he offers a largely unrevealing look at the peoples, places, and popular arts of the Caribbean Basin. Eight years earlier, Shukman had spent time in the South American Andes, an experience recorded in his first book. Here, he returns to the tropics, carrying his trombone and hoping to sit in with various bands throughout the area. His first destination is Trinidad--with its highly publicized calypso groups--where, during the pre-Lenten Carnival, he joins an aggregation called the Blue Ventures. The major insight he seems to gain from that experience, though, is that nonstop revelry is exhausting. Shukman next moves north, through the Grenadines to Guadeloupe, where zouk is the current music-of-choice. Then it's on to mountainous Dominica, where the author explores the only Carib Indian reservation in the world. Along his route, he encounters a gallery of island musicians, barely distinguishable from one another--as are the islands themselves--through the author's unfocused prose. There's a sameness, unfortunately, to most of Shukman's experiences: all- night jam sessions, boozy conversations in fly-specked rum shops, sweaty siestas in hot hotel rooms. The author is most successful when he describes a Shango voodoo ceremony he attended in Trinidad, and when he recounts his terror as he's caught in a police round-up in Cartagena, Colombia. These are slim pickings, however, in a dull and disappointing work. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

From Publishers Weekly:

At age 27, amateur trombonist Shukman ( Sons of the Moon ) left his native England for the Caribbean, which had captivated him on a trip eight years earlier. Three weeks before the height of Carnival--Trinidad's Mardi Gras celebration--he was hird to play in a soca (soul-calypso) band called the Blue Ventures. The job became his ticket to all-night parties packed with revelers and fueled by sexual energy and rum; his feverish prose aptly conveys the heated climate, as well as his own elation and overwhelming fatigue. When Lent began, Shukman went to Grenada, Guadeloupe and Dominica to play reggae, zouk (the music of the French Caribbean) and more calypso. Later, he made his way to mainland Colombia for salsa and folk music, but tension haunted his visit, which ended with his wrongful arrest on a drug charge. A continuous soundtrack seems to accompany every adventure here: Shukman joins local outfits for gigs or casual jam sessions, and frequently passes shops and taxis blasting tropical music. Buoyed by sensual imagery, this vibrant travelogue presents a potpourri of islands and musical styles.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Henry Shukman
Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (1992)
ISBN 10: 0002157403 ISBN 13: 9780002157407
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Henry Shukman
Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd (1992)
ISBN 10: 0002157403 ISBN 13: 9780002157407
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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers Ltd, 1992. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0002157403

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