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  • Location: London, New York City, West Africa

Swing Time

Swing Time

Why a Booktrail?

1980s/1990s: A story of friendship, race, music and more

  • ISBN: 978-0241144152
  • Genre: Fiction

What you need to know before your trail

Two brown girls dream of being dancers – but only one, Tracey, has talent. The other has ideas: about rhythm and time, about black bodies and black music, what constitutes a tribe, or makes a person truly free. It’s a close but complicated childhood friendship that ends abruptly in their early twenties, never to be revisited, but never quite forgotten, either…

Dazzlingly energetic and deeply human, Swing Time is a story about friendship and music and stubborn roots, about how we are shaped by these things and how we can survive them. Moving from north-west London to West Africa, it is an exuberant dance to the music of time.

Travel Guide

A musical journey through London, New York and West Africa

As well as settings, a good guide and travelling accompaniment to this book would be to have a Jazz and blues record to hand with several musical tracks and bands on there. Maybe play it on a record player or at the least a walkman since this is clearly set in the 1980s – with mentions of  Top of the Pops, Angel Delight and the birth of the Thriller video.

Good jazz club in London? Ronnie Scott’s Soho, London

Jazz in New York? Small’s and Birdland are both iconic

African music – As they travel in Africa, one of the dances and musical references is the Kankurang

The Gambia’s Kankurang dance is a Mandinka masquerade who is dressed in leaves, bark and ochre coloured tree fibre with a machete in one hand and a stick in the other. He often chews  bark while performing his menacing dance. His traditional purpose is to round up young boys who are due for circumcision and guard them against evil spirits.

Booktrail Boarding Pass Information: Swing Time

Author/Guide Zadie Smith  Destination: London, New York, West Africa  Departure Time: 1980s, 1990s

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