Daniel B. Reed integrates individual stories with the study of performance to understand the forces of diaspora and mobility in the lives of musicians, dancers, and mask performers originally from Côte d'Ivoire who now live in the United States. Through the lives of four Ivorian performers, Reed finds that dance and music, being transportable media, serve as effective ways to understand individual migrants in the world today. As members of an immigrant community who are geographically dispersed, these performers are unmoored from their place of origin and yet deeply engaged in presenting their symbolic roots to North American audiences. By looking at performance, Reed shows how translocation has led to transformations on stage, but he is also sensitive to how performance acts as a way to reinforce and maintain community. Abidjan USA provides a multifaceted view of community that is at once local, national, and international, and where identity is central, but transportable, fluid, and adaptable.
EM Series Preface
Preface: A Confluence of Beginnings
Notes on Language
Part I. Program Notes
1. Introduction: Abidjan USA
2. "Ballet" as Nexus of Discourses
Part II. Stages and Stories
Act I. Vado Diomande
3. Kekene: the Performance of Oneness in NYC
4. "If you aren’t careful, you don’t know where you will end up!": Vado Diomande and Transcendence
Act II. Samba Diallo
5. "Culture brings everybody together": Samba Diallo’s Ayoka
6. "I’m happy because I’m different": Samba Diallo and Exceptionalism
Act III. Sogbety Diomande
7. "You know you’re in a different country": Sogbety Diomande’s West African Drum and Dance
8. "When you’re in a new context, you try things that work in that context": Sogbety Diomande and Adaptability
Act IV. Dr. Djo Bi Irie Simon
9. "Open Village": An Ivorian Wedding in an Indiana Cornfield
10. "Everyone is a cook, but he’s a chef!": Dr. Djo Bi and Innovation
11. Thoughts on the Way Out
"The personal narrative, detailed studies of four musicians, including analysis of their lives and music, and a broader discussion about diaspora and migration provides an important study of African music in the United States."
Alex Perullo, author of Live from Dar es Salaam
"Daniel B. Reed's scholarship is solid and his writing style is thoroughly engaging. The topic is novel, there are fascinating twists and turns throughout."
editor of Hip Hop Africa
"An important, thorough study.... Recommended."