Writing

Rebel Dance, Renegade Stance: Timba Music and Black Identity in Cuba

“Rebel Dance, Renegade Stance is a must-have for any reader who wants to understand the Cuban street. With the passion of a dancer, the skepticism of an anthropologist, and an emphatically black perspective, Umi Vaughan articulates the complex cultural forces at work–  and play — in Havana’s ecstatic, virtuosic, big-band dance music.” –Ned Sublette, author of Cuba and Its […]


Carlos Aldama's Life in Batá

Carlos Aldama’s Life in Batá

Cuba, Diaspora, and the Drum

This book recounts the life story of Carlos Aldama, one of the masters of the batá drum, and through that story traces the history of batá culture as it traveled from Africa to Cuba and then to the United States.


Timba Brava: Maroon Music in Cuba

Timba Brava: Maroon Music in Cuba

from Rhythms of the Afro-Atlantic World

My essay, “Timba Brava: Maroon Music in Cuba,” describes the historical development and contemporary performance of the Cuban music/dance style called timba.


Shades of Race in Contemporary Cuba

Shades of Race in Contemporary Cuba

Both Cuba and the U.S. are melting pots, where various racial and national sources feed the continual process of nation building and cultural production.



An excerpt (in Spanish) from a talk entitled "Afro-Latin Diaspora and the Drum"
at Universidad Católica Santo Toribio de Mogrovejo, Chiclayo, Peru, 2011.