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Isles of NoiseSonic Media in the Caribbean$
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Alejandra Bronfman

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469628691

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469628691.001.0001

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(p.91) 5 Voice
Isles of Noise

Alejandra Bronfman

University of North Carolina Press

Taking up the problem of whether and how radio broadcasts spoke to Caribbean audiences, this chapter explores the introduction of the sounds of blackness throughout the region. The sounds of what Kamau Brathwaite called “nation language” entered the soundscapes of Haiti and Kingston with implications for the politics of belonging in the late 1950s. The voices and sounds of people speaking--in addition to singing—in creole generated a new interest in broadcasting. Radio personalities like Louise Bennett revitalized a marginalized medium and convinced ordinary people that the radio could speak to them. In Haiti, one of the first regular programs to use creole was “Le Quart d’Heure de Frère Hiss,” sponsored by Nelson Rockefeller’s Office of the Coordinator of Inter-American Affairs and staffed by Haitian actors and writers. The traditions of creole and the technological innovations that enabled the implementation of broadcasting in the Caribbean should not be imagined as two forms of media in conflict with one another. Rather they were both necessary to the production of broadcasting as a modern medium.

Keywords:   Kamau Brathwaite, Creole, Louise Bennett, Nelson Rockefeller, Broadcasting, Race

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