Musicians in Transit: Argentina and the Globalization of Popular Music

Duke University Press
Free sample

In Musicians in Transit Matthew B. Karush examines the transnational careers of seven of the most influential Argentine musicians of the twentieth century: Afro-Argentine swing guitarist Oscar Alemán, jazz saxophonist Gato Barbieri, composer Lalo Schifrin, tango innovator Astor Piazzolla, balada singer Sandro, folksinger Mercedes Sosa, and rock musician Gustavo Santaolalla. As active participants in the globalized music business, these artists interacted with musicians and audiences in the United States, Europe, and Latin America and contended with genre distinctions, marketing conventions, and ethnic stereotypes. By responding creatively to these constraints, they made innovative music that provided Argentines with new ways of understanding their nation’s place in the world. Eventually, these musicians produced expressions of Latin identity that reverberated beyond Argentina, including a novel form of pop ballad; an anti-imperialist, revolutionary folk genre; and a style of rock built on a pastiche of Latin American and global genres. A website with links to recordings by each musician accompanies the book.
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About the author

Matthew B. Karush is Professor of History at George Mason University. He is the author of Culture of Class: Radio and Cinema in the Making of a Divided Argentina, 1920–1946 and coeditor of The New Cultural History of Peronism: Power and Identity in Mid-Twentieth-Century Argentina, both also published by Duke University Press.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Duke University Press
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Published on
Dec 2, 2016
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Pages
280
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ISBN
9780822373773
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Latin America / South America
Music / General
Music / Genres & Styles / Latin
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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In nearly every account of modern Argentine history, the first Peronist regime (1946–55) emerges as the critical juncture. Appealing to growing masses of industrial workers, Juan Perón built a powerful populist movement that transformed economic and political structures, promulgated new conceptions and representations of the nation, and deeply polarized the Argentine populace. Yet until now, most scholarship on Peronism has been constrained by a narrow, top-down perspective. Inspired by the pioneering work of the historian Daniel James and new approaches to Latin American cultural history, scholars have recently begun to rewrite the history of mid-twentieth-century Argentina. The New Cultural History of Peronism brings together the best of this important new scholarship.

Situating Peronism within the broad arc of twentieth-century Argentine cultural change, the contributors focus on the interplay of cultural traditions, official policies, commercial imperatives, and popular perceptions. They describe how the Perón regime’s rhetoric and representations helped to produce new ideas of national and collective identity. At the same time, they show how Argentines pursued their interests through their engagement with the Peronist project, and, in so doing, pushed the regime in new directions. While the volume’s emphasis is on the first Perón presidency, one contributor explores the origins of the regime and two others consider Peronism’s transformations in subsequent years. The essays address topics including mass culture and melodrama, folk music, pageants, social respectability, architecture, and the intense emotional investment inspired by Peronism. They examine the experiences of women, indigenous groups, middle-class anti-Peronists, internal migrants, academics, and workers. By illuminating the connections between the state and popular consciousness, The New Cultural History of Peronism exposes the contradictions and ambivalences that have characterized Argentine populism.

Contributors: Anahi Ballent, Oscar Chamosa, María Damilakou, Eduardo Elena, Matthew B. Karush, Diana Lenton, Mirta Zaida Lobato, Natalia Milanesio, Mariano Ben Plotkin, César Seveso, Lizel Tornay

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The collection opens with an in-depth exploration of the social and sonic currents that coalesced into reggaeton in Puerto Rico during the 1990s. Contributors consider reggaeton in relation to that island, Panama, Jamaica, and New York; Cuban society, Miami’s hip-hop scene, and Dominican identity; and other genres including reggae en español, underground, and dancehall reggae. The reggaeton artist Tego Calderón provides a powerful indictment of racism in Latin America, while the hip-hop artist Welmo Romero Joseph discusses the development of reggaeton in Puerto Rico and his refusal to embrace the upstart genre. The collection features interviews with the DJ/rapper El General and the reggae performer Renato, as well as a translation of “Chamaco’s Corner,” the poem that served as the introduction to Daddy Yankee’s debut album. Among the volume’s striking images are photographs from Miguel Luciano’s series Pure Plantainum, a meditation on identity politics in the bling-bling era, and photos taken by the reggaeton videographer Kacho López during the making of the documentary Bling’d: Blood, Diamonds, and Hip-Hop.

Contributors. Geoff Baker, Tego Calderón, Carolina Caycedo, Jose Davila, Jan Fairley, Juan Flores, Gallego (José Raúl González), Félix Jiménez, Kacho López, Miguel Luciano, Wayne Marshall, Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Alfredo Nieves Moreno, Ifeoma C. K. Nwankwo, Deborah Pacini Hernandez, Raquel Z. Rivera, Welmo Romero Joseph, Christoph Twickel, Alexandra T. Vazquez

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