Re-inventing the Past at Sunday Serenade: The Residual Cultures of a British Caribbean Dance Hall

  • Sherril Dodds University of Surrey
Keywords: British Caribbean, Raymond Williams, popular dance, music, diaspora, race


In this article, I focus on Sunday Serenade, a British Caribbean club for the ‘over 30s’ in north-west London. Given how the participants identify with expressive music and dance practices from their Caribbean ‘homeland’, I commence by examining the extent to which Raymond Williams’ (1973) concept of ‘residual cultures’ can be a useful lens through which to examine how Sunday Serenade is constructed as distinct from a dominant white culture. Yet in response, I argue that Williams’ model produces a static understanding of culture that fails to recognise the complex staging of the participants’ contemporary British lives. Therefore, I draw upon critical race studies and diaspora theory to explore how the participants of Sunday Serenade refuse to be contained within a discourse of sameness through their engagement with transnational music and dance practices, but promote a corporeality that is economically, culturally and socially distinct.