Special Consultant

Daniel T. Neely is a musician and ethnomusicologist. He received his Ph.D. from New York University in 2008 and his dissertation “Mento, Jamaica’s Original Music”: “Development, Tourism and the Nationalist Frame” was written with the support of a Fulbright Grant and NYU’s Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship. His research has appeared in a number of books, including Victorian Jamaica (Duke University Press, 2018), Jamaica Jamaica! (Philharmonie de Paris, 2017), Sun, Sea and Sound: Music and Tourism in the Circum-Caribbean (Oxford University Press, 2014; also, co-edited with Tim Rommen), Creolizing Contradance in the Caribbean (Temple University Press, 2009; co-authored with Ken Bilby) and the Concise Garland Encyclopedia of World Music (Garland, 2008); and journals, such as Caribbean Quarterly and the Caribbean Studies Journal. In addition, Daniel helped organize and lectured at the Institute of Jamaica’s 2017 Grounation conference on mento and he was the banjo player and music director for the Jolly Boys 2010 album, Great Expectations. Finally, Daniel plays traditional Irish music and writes about the subject weekly for the Irish Echo newspaper. His academic research in the area focuses on the history of Irish music in Boston 1890-1930 and he has presented his work at Boston College, the Catskills Irish Arts Week, the Ward Irish Music Archives and elsewhere.


Daniel was crucial to the filming of “Pimento and Hot Pepper-The Mento Story”. His Ph.D. on mento helped pave the way for the entire project. Not only did it better help us understand the historical context of mento, it also helped us appreciate what the state of the music is today.
Before shooting began I visited Daniel in New York City and he gave me a list of many of the working mento bands throughout the island. He also gave us important connections he had made with musicologists, politicians and people associated with recording the music. Without this information, our work would have been much more difficult.
There is a lot of music in the film and Dan was a strong contributor in helping identify the songs. This helped simplify our clearance work. Finally, he helped us with many of the creative/structural aspects of laying out the film.
Bill Monsted
March 22nd, 2018