Breaking Rocks: Music, Ideology and Economic Collapse, from Paris to Kinshasa | BERGHAHN BOOKS
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Breaking Rocks: Music, Ideology and Economic Collapse, from Paris to Kinshasa

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Volume 19


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Breaking Rocks

Music, Ideology and Economic Collapse, from Paris to Kinshasa

Joe Trapido

272 pages, 3 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-398-9 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (December 2016)

ISBN  978-1-78920-794-1 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (September 2020)

eISBN 978-1-78533-399-6 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“While the book’s subject – the economics of Rumba Congolaise – is arguably hyper-specialized, its intellectual scope and ambition are extensive. Trapido’s considerable insights engage a diverse, expansive body of literature that will be germane to readers interested in the Congo Basin, economic anthropology, ethnomusicology, postcolonial theory, and beyond.” • Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

“Built upon a stunningly rich ethnography, Breaking Rocks elaborates on the political entanglement of the music industry spanning across the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Congolese diaspora. A witty, fresh account, including stories and case studies rooted in a thorough period of fieldwork, Breaking Rocks is simply a must-read for anyone either professionally or amateurishly inclined to anthropology or musicology.” • Kristien Geenen, Ghent University

“This is a highly impressive, utterly original, often brilliant book on both the empirical and theoretical levels… A wonderful ethnography of music production, performance, spectacle, and deceit.” • Nancy Rose Hunt, University of Michigan

“This is an excellent book, written with great warmth and verve in the narrative… Breaking Rocks will make a significant impact on African Studies.” • Michael Rowlands, University College London


Based on fieldwork in Kinshasa and Paris, Breaking Rocks examines patronage payments within Congolese popular music, where a love song dedication can cost 6,000 dollars and a simple name check can trade for 500 or 600 dollars. Tracing this system of prestige through networks of musicians and patrons – who include gangsters based in Europe, kleptocratic politicians in Congo, and lawless diamond dealers in northern Angola – this book offers insights into ideologies of power and value in central Africa’s troubled post-colonial political economy, as well as a glimpse into the economic flows that make up the hidden side of the globalization.

Joe Trapido works in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies. A fan of Congolese music, he is also a follower of Congolese society and politics more generally. His work has been published in the New Left Review and in Africa.

Subject: Anthropology (General)Political and Economic AnthropologyCultural Studies (General)
Area: AfricaFrance


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