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CENTRAL PARK RUMBA: NUYORICAN IDENTITY AND THE RETURN TO AFRICAN ROOTS

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Abstract:

This essay focuses on the performance of Central Park rumba in the 1960s and 1970s, and its role in the formation of Nuyorican (Puerto Ricans from New York City) identity. Puerto Ricans and Nuyoricans learned and reinterpreted traditional Cuban rumba as their return and performance of African roots. Their search for "roots" resulted in the articulation of a Nuyorican identity reproducing their mediated memory, a rumba knowledge based on mechanical reproduction. What I designate as rumba à la boricua-the result of a mediated, hybrid subjectivity-generated a space of negotiation and contestation against the limitations of nationalism and neo-colonialism.

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