Despite its focus on Mexican themes, imagery, and traditions, Mexican ranchera music has been among the most popular musical styles in central and southern Chile since the first half of the twentieth century. Utilizing evidence from Chilean periodicals and oral histories, this essay presents an analysis of the relationship between the popularity of ranchera music and Chilean identity. It asserts that a combination of political and commercial ties between Mexico and Chile, similarities between rural life in the two countries, and musical compatibility among Mexican rancheras and rural Chilean folk music facilitated the spread of ranchera music throughout the Chilean countryside. Despite the Chilean public’s widespread embrace of ranchera, this foreign music did not lead to a transnational identity, but, instead, rancheras became incorporated into Chilean nationalist sentiments.


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pp. 54-75
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