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This article considers emergent musical dialogues and official cultural collaborations between Brazil and Angola in light of recent literature theorizing the Lusophone Atlantic. As Angola restructures following a long civil war and Brazil takes a leading role among the rapidly developing BRIC nations, new questions arise pertaining to the African heritage in Brazilian music, and to Brazil's role in Angolan cultural initiatives and musical markets. Through examination of Brazilian discourse about such exchanges, combined with a comparative analysis of three versions of Angolan musician Teta Lando’s 1974 song, ‘Angolano segue em frente’ (Landos original, a recent Brazilian rerecording, and a Brazilian remix), I reveal a South-South dialogue that builds on historical connections yet also establishes new resonances in musical evocations of Atlantic affinities and flows.
The global significance of Latin American popular music is well documented in contemporary research. Less is known about Latin American music and musicians in Australia and New Zealand (collectively termed ‘Australasia’): nations that have historically hosted waves of migrants from the Americas, and which are also strongly influenced by globalised US popular music culture. This article presents an overview of Latin American music in Australasia, drawing on ethnographic research, with the aim of providing a historical framework for the understanding of this music in the Australasian context. It begins with an explanation of the early 20th-century conceptualisation of ‘Latin’ in Australasia, and an investigation into how this abstract cultural construction affected performance opportunities for Latino/a migrants who began to arrive en masse from the 1970s onwards. It then discusses the performance practices that were most successfully recreated by Latin American musicians in Australia and New Zealand, especially ‘Andean’ folkloric music, and ‘tropical’ dance music. With reference to prominent individuals and ensembles, this article demonstrates how Andean and tropical performance practices have developed over the course of the last 30 years, and articulates the enduring importance of Latin American music and musicians within Australasian popular music culture.
This paper examines issues surrounding the production of a Carnival music video VCD in the home studio of the Bolivian indigenous (originario) musician and cultural activist Gregorio Mamani. On the one hand, continuities with rural productive practices suggest a model for the ‘home studio’ more resembling a ‘cottage industry’ than the kind of ‘isolated’ activity separate from family life that Paul Théberge has described for the case of North America (1997). On the other hand, the urban isolation, entrepreneurial motivations, and concern with promoting the individual that characterise Gregorio Mamani's home studio suggest the very antithesis of indigenous community values. Notwithstanding difficult relations with his community of origin and his use of technological artifice to construct (or even ‘fake’) an audiovisual impression of the communitas of Carnival, Mamani presents this work as a means to ‘strengthen culture’. Despite these contradictions, this low budget production – targeted at rural peasants and urban migrants – is shown to engage deeply with indigenous concepts of creativity and oral tradition, as well as potentially contributing to the construction of broader circuits of culture and ‘imagined communities’. Mamani's individualistic, yet influential, approach and his insistence that only one or two individuals are the composers in an indigenous community, challenges us to question the relationship between creativity and community.
As music increasingly links the global and the local and vice versa, fusions of diverse musical genres and styles burgeon. Globalisation theory (specifically Appadurai) has spurred explorations of musical hybridity and cross-fertilisation among scholars from different academic fields focusing on music. In this essay, I argue for the necessity of understanding global cultural interactions and musical appropriations or exchanges in the context of the ambivalences of the globalised mass diffusion and the power asymmetries involved. The purpose of this paper is to contextualise contemporary theoretical considerations by describing the Yoremensamble project – a government-sponsored cultural project in which a group of urban mestizo musicians from northwestern Mexico appropriated local indigenous musical expressions to produce an album titled ‘Hombre digno’ (‘Dignified man’). The album is just one of many projects around the globe in which artists self-consciously re-localize global popular music styles. The resulting sonic fusions point to the need for a critical cultural analysis of such translocal and global phenomena which is rooted in ethnography.
The study of popular music often loses something in translation. The musical categories used by scholars and musicians in different locations vary widely in meaning, complicating both analysis and disciplinary divisions. Genre classifications also create blind spots which leave styles falling between the cracks out of the picture, impoverishing analysis and even denying musicians certain benefits. This paper examines the use of terms such as folklórico, tradicional, popular and típico by both lay people and scholars in Latin America, then turns to Dominican merengue típico as a case study showing how musical categories are often intensely local. I argue that – because it relies more on notions of place than on the ideas of time, class, race or production that inform other categorisations – the concept of típico is useful in examining transnational ‘roots’ musics which bridge nations, classes and modes of production. In addition, using musicians' and listeners' own categories can help us to question the canons of musical scholarship, musical nationalism and music marketing, thus creating new possibilities for both scholars and musicians.
In this article, I examine the history of a genre that spans several continents and several centuries. I bring together material from Mexico, Cuba, France and the UK to create anew, expand upon and critique the ‘standard’ histories of danzón narrated by Mexico's danzón experts (and others). In these ‘standard’ histories, origins and nationality are key to the constitution of genres which are racialised and moralised for political ends. Danzón, its antecedents and successors are treated as generic equivalents despite being quite different. From the danzón on, these genres are positioned as being the products of individual, male originators (and their nations). ‘Africa’ is treated as a conceptual nation, and ‘Africanness’ as something extra which racialises hegemonic European music-dance forms. Political leanings and strategies determine whether these music-dance forms are interpreted, adopted or co-opted as being ‘black’ or ‘white’.