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Scenes of a Migrant Latin American Music Genre

edited by Hector Fernández L’Hoeste and Pablo Vila

Publication Year: 2013

Cumbia is a musical form that originated in northern Colombia and then spread throughout Latin America and wherever Latin Americans travel and settle. It has become one of the most popular musical genre in the Americas. Its popularity is largely due to its stylistic flexibility. Cumbia absorbs and mixes with the local musical styles it encounters. Known for its appeal to workers, the music takes on different styles and meanings from place to place, and even, as the contributors to this collection show, from person to person. Cumbia is a different music among the working classes of northern Mexico, Latin American immigrants in New York City, Andean migrants to Lima, and upper-class Colombians, who now see the music that they once disdained as a source of national prestige. The contributors to this collection look at particular manifestations of cumbia through their disciplinary lenses of musicology, sociology, history, anthropology, linguistics, and literary criticism. Taken together, their essays highlight how intersecting forms of identity—such as nation, region, class, race, ethnicity, and gender—are negotiated through interaction with the music.

. Cristian Alarcón, Jorge Arévalo Mateus, Leonardo D'Amico, Héctor Fernández L'Hoeste, Alejandro L. Madrid, Kathryn Metz, José Juan Olvera Gudiño, Cathy Ragland, Pablo Semán, Joshua Tucker, Matthew J. Van Hoose, Pablo Vila

Published by: Duke University Press


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p. C-C

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

Aside from Elena and Beatriz, who inspired this entire project, I’d like to thank Pablo Vila for his support and input throughout the journey. Due to personal circumstances, this was not an easy ride, but Pablo managed every-thing quite gracefully. Special thanks go to the Center for Latin American and Latino/a Studies and the College of Arts and Sciences at Georgia State ...

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pp. 1-28

Like intelligence, education comes in many packages. Growing up middle class in Latin America, I was educated not only at home, in school, and at church but in the most unexpected ways and locations. At home, aside from what I may have learned from my relatives, a good chunk of my education took place in the kitchen, where I worked on my homework while women ...

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Chapter 1. Cumbia Music in Colombia: Origins, Transformations, and Evolution of a Coastal Music Genre

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pp. 29-48

The Caribbean coastal region of Colombia is called the Costa, and its inhabitants are referred to as costeños.1 The música costeña (coastal music) is a product of tri-ethnic syncretic cultural traditions including Amerindian, Spanish, and African elements (List 1980b, 1983), a merging that begins with the colonial period and continues into the republican period on the Caribbean ...

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Chapter 2. ¿Pa’ dónde vas Marioneta? ¿Pa’ dónde va la gaita? La Cumbiamba Eneyé Returns to San Jacinto

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pp. 49-86

Before leaving for San Jacinto to compete in the 17th Festival Nacional Autóctono de Gaitas, Martín Vejarano and La Cumbiamba Eneyé (LCE) performed at The Rose, a small club in the hipster enclave of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which for the past few years has regularly featured artists involved with the local Nueva Colombia music scene.1 What marked this event as special...

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Chapter 3. Cumbia in Mexico’s Northeastern Region

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pp. 87-104

What is it about cumbia music that makes it so popular in northeastern Mexico? Why do so many of its Mexican followers ignore its Colombian origin? What are the elements that maintain its popularity through the years, even in the wake of new and diverse styles of music? This essay describes the panorama of cumbia styles in northeastern Mexico, a region that ...

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Chapter 4. Rigo Tovar, Cumbia, and the Transnational Grupero Boom

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pp. 105-118

As the lights of the TV studio slowly fade, the music starts with a repetitive, syncopated electric guitar riff accompanied by a rather uncomplicated harmonic sequence played on the Sonic City electric piano. The supporting musical structure is provided by a driving bass line and an incisive cumbia rhythmic pattern played by the güiro in counterpoint with the cowbell and bongos. ...

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Chapter 5. Communicating the Collective Imagination: The Sociospatial World of the Mexican Sonidero in Puebla, New York, and New Jersey

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pp. 119-137

The innovative and unique forms of performative expression fashioned by diasporic communities have come to be recognized as some of the most notable features of globalization. Research of scholars in the arts and social sciences has revealed that the transnational movement of peoples, ideas, technologies, ideologies, and capital has inspired many marginal communities, especially ...

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Chapter 6. From The World of the Poor to the Beaches of Eisha: Chicha, Cumbia, and the Search for a Popular Subject in Peru

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pp. 138-167

In 2006 a Peruvian television network scored a ratings hit with a miniseries based on the life and music of the singer Lorenzo Palacios Quispe, better known by the stage name that he adopted in the 1970s: Chacalón (Big Jackal). A pioneer in the cumbia-based style known as chicha, Chacalón fronted the band La Nueva Crema (The New Cream) from the late 1970s until his death ...

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Chapter 7. Pandillar in the Jungle: Regionalism and Tecno-cumbiain Amazonian Peru

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pp. 168-187

Tecno-cumbia thumped throughout the neighborhood, its pulsating beats growing louder and louder as we circled the Complejo, a popular tecno-cumbia amphitheater in Iquitos. The mood was festive, and young people doused in water and dusted with baby powder and cornstarch lurched out of motokarros (rickshaw motorcycles), tumbling to the ticket booth. We entered ...

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Chapter 8. Gender Tensions in Cumbia Villera’s Lyrics

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pp. 188-212

Due to the novel character of the studies of music and identity in Argentina, quite often there are no studies available on a particular musical genre. That is why, in many cases, musical research in Argentina cannot follow the canonical writing format used by the social sciences, in which a thorough review of the literature and a positioning of the research in relation to that ...

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Chapter 9. Feliz, feliz

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pp. 213-225

Pablo Lescano exemplifies tradition and modernity at the same time. Pablito, the master of rhythm, the creator of cumbia villera, acknowledges the paternity of his child as an inevitable fate: marked by a chamamecero (a performer of chamamé, a regional folk genre) grandfather from Corrientes province, and his precocious adventures at Tropitango de Pacheco, Buenos Aires (the ...

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Chapter 10. El “Tú” Tropical, el “Vos” Villero, and Places in Between: Language, Ideology, Music, and the Spatialization of Difference in Uruguayan Tropical Music

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pp. 226-247

At first blush, the lyrical passage from the Uruguayan cumbia group La Plebe seems most interesting for the us/them duality that it invokes. Emerging from the depths of the economic crisis into which the River Plate region sank at the turn of the twenty-first century, La Plebe’s brand of cumbia—known as ...

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Chapter 11. On Music and Colombianness: Toward a Critique of the History of Cumbia

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pp. 248-268

To speak about cumbia is to speak about Colombianness. At the same time, to reflect on cumbia entails a focus on a narrative of idiosyncratic resistance and collective obstinacy. Just as in other latitudes, as an expression of identity, musical genre, and cultural practice, cumbia speaks to us, from the be-ginning, about how the presence of diverse social and ethnic groups was ...


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pp. 269-284


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pp. 285-288


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pp. 289-302

E-ISBN-13: 9780822391920
E-ISBN-10: 0822391929
Print-ISBN-13: 9780822354338
Print-ISBN-10: 0822354330

Page Count: 312
Illustrations: 13 illustrations, 1 map, 6 figures
Publication Year: 2013

Edition: 1