I am a freelance writer, editor, and independent scholar with a PhD in ethnomusicology. I have conducted research on Afro-Cuban folkloric and popular musical practices since 2004, primarily in the cities of Havana, Matanzas, and Santiago. My dissertation, entitled “Localizing Hybridity: The Politics of Place in Contemporary Cuban Rumba Performance”, focused on recent innovations in rumba performance in the cities of Havana and Matanzas. My book, Geographies of Cubanidad: Place, Race, and Musical Performance in Contemporary Cuba, examines various Cuban musical practices – rumba, timbason, and folklore oriental (eastern Cuban folklore) – and draws on recent fieldwork conducted in Santiago. My theoretical focus has centered on the entanglements of race and place in contemporary Cuba and their impact on musical performance.

Beyond Cuban music, I am interested in African-derived practices from various sites throughout the diaspora, including Haiti, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and black American popular genres such as hip-hop and soul.


PhD, Music (Ethnomusicology), University of California, Berkeley, 2010

MA, Music (Ethnomusicology), University of California, Berkeley, 2004

BA, Music, Barnard College and Columbia University, 1997


Geographies of Cubanidad: Music, Place, and Racialized Identity in Contemporary CubaJackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2015.

Peer-reviewed publications
“Music and Eastern Cuban Identity.” In Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Latin American History, edited by William Beezley. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017.

Music and Eastern Cuban Identity

“Cuba.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Music, edited by Bruce Gustafson. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.
Cuba – Music – Oxford Bibliographies, PDF

“Rumba.” In Oxford Bibliographies in Music, edited by Bruce Gustafson. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.
Rumba – Music – Oxford Bibliographies, PDF

“National symbol or ‘a black thing’?: Rumba and racial politics in Cuba in the era of cultural tourism.” Black Music Research Journal 33 (2): 177-205, 2013.
Bodenheimer_Rumba and Racial Politics, PDF

“‘La Habana no aguanta más’: Regionalism in contemporary Cuban society and popular music.” The Musical Quarterly 92 (3-4): 201-41, 2009.
Bodenheimer_La Habana No Aguanta Mas, PDF

Non-refereed articles/book chapters
“Ever the Twain Shall Meet.” Berkeley Review of Latin American Studies, Fall 2015: 44-49.

“Rumba Performance and the Politics of Place in the Era of Cultural Tourism.” In Handbook on Cuban History, Literature, and the Arts, edited by Mauricio A. Font and Araceli Tinajero. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2014.

Review of Performing Afro-Cuba: Image, Voice, Spectacle in the Making of Race and History, Kristina Wirtz. Latin American Music Review 37 (1): 115-117, 2016.

Review of Performing Afro-Cuba, PDF

Review of Hip Hop Underground: The Integrity and Ethics of Racial Identification, Anthony Kwame Harrison. Dancecult: Journal of Electronic Dance Music Culture 2 (1), 2011.

Review of Hip Hop Underground, PDF

Review of Andrés Chacón y Ire Ire: Tambor Lukumí – Música Afro-Cubana (3-CD set), Middle Path Media. Ethnomusicology 54 (1): 163-68, 2010.

Review of Tambor Lukumi, PDF

Review of Afrocuba de Matanzas: 50 Years On (DVD) and Afrocuba de Matanzas: Live at El Palenque Havana 2005 (DVD), La Timbala Films. Latin American Music Review 30 (2): 265-72, 2009.

Review of Afrocuba DVDs, PDF

Encyclopedia entries
Various entries. In Dictionary of Caribbean and Afro-Latin American Biography, edited by Henry Louis Gates and Franklin Knight. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

“Coros de clave.” In The Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the WorldVolume 9, Genres: Caribbean and Latin America, edited by David Horn, Heidi Feldman, Mona-Lynn Courteau, Pamela Narbona Jerez, and Hettie Malcomson, 223-225. London: Bloomsbury, 2014.

Coros de Clave, PDF

Blog Posts

    Rebecca Bodenheimer

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