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 Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo


“Tracing the roots of timba musically, socially, and historically, Vaughan has created a fascinating study of present-day Cuba that will be of value to those interested in not only ethnomusicology but also anthropology, sociology, Caribbean studies, and Cuban culture in general.” 

–L.E. Shaw, Choice


Rebel Dance, Renegade Stance: Timba Music and Black Identity in Cuba shows how community music-makers and dancers take in all that is around them socially and globally, and publicly and bodily unfold their memories, sentiments, and raw responses within open spaces designated or commandeered for local popular dance. As an African American anthropologist, musician, dancer, and photographer who lived in Cuba, Vaughan reveals a unique perspective on contemporary Cuban society during the 1990s, the peak decade of timba, and beyond, as the Cuban leadership transferred from Fidel Castro to his brother. Simultaneously, the book reveals popular dance music in the context of a young and astutely educated Cuban generation of fierce and creative performers.