Cultural Counterpoints: 50th Anniversary of the LAMC

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CULTURAL COUNTERPOINTS: Examining the Musical Interactions between the U.S. and Latin America

As a celebration of its 50th Anniversary, the Indiana University Latin American Music Center presented a conference addressing historical and current musical exchanges between the U.S. and Latin America. The conference took place on Oct. 19-23, 2011.

Papers and presentations discussed the effects and impact of musical exchanges between the U.S. and Latin America, addressing diverse historical periods and repertoire streams (art-, urban, popular or traditional music; film and commercial music; etc.), and aspects of the musical phenomenon (such as compositional style, specific works, aesthetics, analysis, documentation, reception, migration, performance practice, etc.)


Recent Submissions

Now showing 1 - 20 of 39
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    Gerard Béhague: from Panamericanism to Multiculturalism [abstract only]
    (Latin American Music Center, 2011-10) Volpe, Maria Alice
    This paper discusses Gerard Béhague’s scholarly work in the light of the changing ideological and political context, concerning (ethno)musicology’s agenda vis a vis U.S. international relations. Panamericanism was crucial to the shaping of Béhague’s comprehensive knowledge of Latin American music and culture at the early stage of his academic career in the U.S. in the 1960s and 1970s. The legacy of former Latin American, Latin Americanist, and Americanist scholars who endeavoured the pioneering musicological studies on different countries provided the basis for Béhague’s formative years and further development of his career. In the context of UNESCO’s policy to respond to cultural diversity, the 1980s and 1990s saw a change in U.S. domestic policies and international politics upholding multiculturalism as the new basis on which world democracy must take place. Accordingly, American (ethno)musicology’s ideological and political agenda have changed, and Béhague was continuously engaged in updating his scholarly proposals. Multiculturalism has brought new ways of placing cultural relativism in (ethno)musicology’s agenda, and Béhague’s keen sense of current critical issues gave a remarkable contribution to the discipline. This paper will examine selected works by Béhague aiming to show that his all comprehensive scholarly work, concerning both historical musicology and ethnomusicology, epitomizes music-research endeavour coined by panamericanism as well as makes the transition to the new ideological and political framework of multiculturalism.
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    Turn-of-the-Century Buenos Aires Viewed from New York: Astor's Piazzolla's setting of Borges's "El hombre de la esquina rosada" [abstract only]
    (Latin American Music Center, 2011-10) Turci-Escobar, John
    Astor Piazzolla, whose music came to define the modern metropolis of Buenos Aires, spent most of his childhood on the lower east side of Manhattan. Growing up in New York in the 1920s and 30s, Piazzolla was exposed to a wide variety of musics. This experience, critics have argued, influenced Piazzolla’s development as a composer, especially, his penchant for crossing generic and stylistic boundaries. Piazzolla returned to New York in the late 1950s. Critical discussions of this period have focused on his financial hardships and artistic concessions and, almost unanimously, have dismissed his efforts to fuse jazz and tango. More recently, Fischermann and Gilbert have called for a reconsideration of Piazzolla’s “jazz-tango,” in particular, his choice of ensemble. The New York quintet, they argue, was the crucial link between the Octeto Buenos Aires of the 1950s and emblematic Quinteto Nuevo Tango of the 1960s. My paper concerns another significant project from Piazzolla’s New York sojourn: the music he composed for a choreography based on El hombre de la esquina rosada, a celebrated story by Argentina’s greatest modern writer, Jorge Luis Borges. Set for reciter, voice, and twelve instruments, this substantial work goes further than any of Piazzolla’s previous “classical” works in mixing genres and styles, and thus, foreshadows his later works for the concert stage. Most importantly, to compose the music for a story set in turn-of-the-century Buenos Aires, Piazzolla—who always looked forward—had to look backwards, and thus, view himself and his music from a broader historical perspective.
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    Radio Dialogues: U.S. Musical Influences on Cuban Alternative Music [abstract only]
    (Latin American Music Center, 2011-10) Thomas, Susan
    U.S. accounts of post-revolutionary Cuban music history tend to focus on the island’s isolation, constructing a narrative that explains more about our own isolation from Cuba than Cuba’s isolation from the rest of the world. This paper works against such narratives by examining contemporary Cuban musicians’ pervasive and tactical engagement with U.S. music in the 1980s and 1990s. The generation that created the eclectic and experimental genre now known as Cuban Alternative Music (Borges-Triana, 2010) was born roughly two decades into Cuba’s socialist experiment. Coming of age during the revolution’s greatest prosperity and optimism, they experienced the economic crisis that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. There may not been an open market for “imperialist” culture in Cuba, but young people actively sought out U.S. and British popular music by listening to Miami radio broadcasts and acquiring recordings via relatives who worked as merchant marines or diplomats, or who traveled abroad for educational or military purposes. Michael Jackson; the Jackson Five; Earth, Wind, & Fire; and Cool and the Gang are routinely cited as major influences along with Argentine rock and Brazilian jazz and bossa nova. This paper examines the role of recordings as well as direct Cuban-U.S. collaborations in shaping contemporary Cuban music. Such musical engagement should not be viewed as another example of U.S. hegemony. Rather, it was willful and selective; Cuban musicians sought out artists and genres that fulfilled certain aesthetic criteria or that offered innovative solutions to issues of rhythm, harmony, arrangement, or production.
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    Brief overview of the musical dialogue between Bolivia and United States [full paper]
    (Latin American Music Center, 2011-10) Terceros, Isaac
    This paper presents a results overview of the musical relationship between Bolivia and United States in the few last years. In this context, composers like José Velasco Maidana (c. 1899-1989) and Jaime Mendoza Nava (1925-2005) lived in the United States, opening in this way the doors for certain American influence in Bolivia, a country characterized by an appreciation and defense of its original culture. Thus, we show that a meaningful compositional dialogue has been established. One outcome of this dialogue took shape with the Orquesta Experimental de Instrumentos Nativos (OEIN), whose innovative aesthetic positioning, has stimulated an intercultural reflection integrating musical traditions of the Aymara and Western musical language. In the performance field, intercultural projects have been developed from the exchange of musicians and conductors – as the renowned violinist Jaime Laredo (b. 1941), the guitarist Piraí Vaca, or conductor Kenneth Sarch – resulting, for example, the foundation of the Orquesta Sinfónica Juvenil de Santa Cruz de la Sierra (OSJ). In the academic area, Bolivian composers have benefited from initiatives such as the Centro Latinoamericado de Altos Estudios Musicales del Instituto Torcuado Di Tella in Buenos Aires, where received instruction Alberto Villalpando (b. 1940), responsible for the formation of two generations of composers in Bolivia. Thus, technical and aesthetic aspects of musical composition in works resulting from the interdisciplinary dialogue above, were identified and will be presented in this paper.
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    Awkward and Uneven Musical Flows: The Politics of Increased U.S.-Cuban Musical Interaction [full paper]
    (Latin American Music Center, 2011-10) Storhoff, Tim
    Since his inauguration, President Obama has relaxed the musical embargo of Cuba following a long period when musical exchanges between the U.S. and Cuba were few and far between. This has made high-profile Cuban performances possible for U.S. musicians like Kool and the Gang, Colombian-American rocker Juanes, the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis. This period has also seen more Cuban musicians performing in the U.S. because the State Department has resumed issuing cultural exchange visas to Cubans, and the Cuban government is allowing more musicians to travel abroad. While these exchanges can be seen as a part of President Obama’s call for a “new beginning” in the U.S.-Cuban relationship, he also cautioned against overestimating the political impact these exchanges could have. In the same way that contemporary global economic processes create dense interconnections along with areas of exclusion and immobility, recent musical flows between the U.S. and Cuba are also awkward, uneven and discontinuous. While performers distance themselves from any overtly political stance, the disparities between who may participate in these transnational performances, when and where they take place, and the various controversies and reactions they inspire expose a range of attitudes and realities about the U.S.-Cuban relationship and its future. By analyzing the awkward and uneven nature of these performances in both the U.S. and Cuba, this paper explores the potential function of musical exchanges as bellwethers for future engagement between these two nations even when reforms in the U.S.-Cuban relationship appear to be stalling.
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    Ginastera in Washington: Correspondence with Copland and Spivacke at the Library of Congress [full paper]
    (Latin American Music Center, 2011-10) Schwartz-Kates, Deborah
    The city of Washington held a special place in the creative life of Alberto Ginastera (1916-1983). It was there that the Argentine composer achieved some of his distinguished successes, beginning with the premiere of his Second Sring Quartet (1958), which was commissioned by the Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge Foundation and performed in the Library of Congress. Given these achievements, it is no surprise that Ginastera considered Washington his lucky city. Yet, the U.S. capital also proves providential for researchers, since many of the sources that document the composer’s U.S. activities reside in the Library of Congress. This paper explores the highlights of the Ginastera correspondence that is housed at the LC—a resource that yields fresh perspectives into the composer’s transnational connections with music and musicians in the United States. Ginastera’s letters to Aaron Copland offer a fascinating window into the relationship that the composer shared with a valued teacher, mentor, and friend. His two-way correspondence with Harold Spivacke, the former Chief of the Music Division at the LC, played a formative role in shaping his career. As a whole, the correspondence reveals the way that the Argentine musician upheld the Library of Congress as a model for Latin American nations. He drew deeply on the resources of the LC for a variety of purposes that exemplify his association with the iconic Washington institution.
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    Revisiting Copland’s Mexico [abstract only]
    (Latin American Music Center, 2011-10) Saavedra, Leonora
    Aaron Copland’s love for Mexico, epitomized by his orchestral piece Salon Mexico, is well known. Salon Mexico bears the name of a dancing club that Copland visited and in which he was able to grasp a moment in the life of the average Mexican. His composition is full of Mexican folk tunes that speak of Copland’s enchantment with the country, the people and the popular music. Copland, however, was also exposed to and equally marked by Mexico’s ebullient art music scene. Indeed Copland’s assimilation of the Mexican folkloric was mediated by the work that Mexican composers were doing as they aimed to construct musical signifiers of the post-revolutionary Mexican. Unlike his visits to other Latin American countries, prompted by the American good neighbor policy during the Cold War, Copland visited Mexico in a decade where he, his Mexican counterparts, and Mexico’s cultural and educational institutions toyed with the idea of socialism and of an art for the people. This paper will look at Copland’s activities in Mexico, the concerts he attended, and the music he might have known. It will examine the reception of the many compositions by Copland that were performed, even premiered, in Mexico City, and the response—as Copland may have experienced it— that audiences gave Mexican compositions intended to represent the Mexican people. Finally, the paper will show the indebtedness not only of Copland’s Mexican style but also of his American style, and the ideology behind it, to the work and political ideas of Mexican composers.
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    Cuban Art Music in the U.S. before and after the Cuban Revolution [abstract only]
    (Latin American Music Center, 2011-10) Quevedo, Marysol
    The wellspring of U.S. Pan-American sentiment toward Cuba dried up quickly after the 1959 Revolution. Prior to the Revolution exchanges between Cuban and U.S. composers was vigorous, however, the events following the Revolution not only changed economic and political relations between Cuba and the U.S., but also composers’ and musicians’ ability to maintain ties between the two countries. This paper traces the pre-Revolutionary exchanges between Cuba and the U.S. through Henry Cowell’s New Music Society and its related publications (which included Amadeo Roldán’s Rítmicas), the Pan-American Association of Composers, as well as Cuban composers who studied in the U.S. (including Gisela Hernández, and Julian Orbón). The decrease in exchanges between the two countries is most noticeable in festivals and concert series in the U.S., such as the Inter-American Music Festival (IMFA), revealing the embargo’s effect on cultural matters. A quick survey of the programs of the IAMF reveals that after their first festival in 1958 the only Cuban composers included in performances were those who were exiled in the U.S. The lack, and some years complete absence, of Cuban works in the IMFA and the dearth of scholarship about Cuban art music form this period suggests a lack of compositional activity in Cuba. In reality, however, music composition in Cuba flourished, and cultural exchanges with other Latin American countries continued, in fact even increased, with the establishment of institutions to cultivate Pan-American exchanges, most notably the Casa de las Américas. Thus, in spite of the U.S. embargo Cuba actively fostered Pan-Americanism, albeit a different kind of Pan-Americanism from that fostered by the U.S.
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    Somos Iguales: Cuban Hip-Hop in the Age of Social Networks [full paper]
    (Latin American Music Center, 2011-10) Pereira, Alyssa
    Through occupation and trade during the last ten years, the United States and Cuba have absorbed facets of each other’s cultural profile. Two products of recent exchange in Cuba as a result of its relationship with the United States are the emergence of online social networks and the growth of Cuban hip-hop. In the US, social networking (through vehicles such as Facebook, Myspace and Twitter) is used as a method of communication and a marketing tool. Many small record labels primarily rely on this type of grassroots marketing to appeal to their web-savvy target audience. While rap musicians in Cuba do not always have the capability to commercially sell professionally mixed albums due to a dependence on government allocated musician’s funds and materials, and submissiveness to government’s jurisdiction over what music is publicly released, the accessibility of the internet and social networks make possible a release of music at an underground level. As a result, complete censorship becomes an impossible feat and these musicians are able to release their music nationally and internationally through this medium. In this paper, I explore the expansion in the use of new social media networks in Cuba and their role in burgeoning the commercialization of Cuban rappers and their music. I note the differences in social media’s influence for Cuban underground rappers versus commercial rappers and the resulting success, both culturally and financially. Finally, I discuss the transnational impact of music dispersed through social media in Cuba and compare it to an earlier model of government-mandated distribution.
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    Save the Children or Save the Music: Venezuela’s El Sistema as Syncretic Aesthetic and Pedagogical Export [full paper]
    (Latin American Music Center, 2011-10) Pedroza, Ludim R.
    El Sistema defines itself as a “Venezuelan government social institution for the systematization of instruction and collective practice of orchestral and choral music as instruments of social organization and community development.” The program trains mostly poor children throughout their elementary and secondary education. Some will ultimately join the famous Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra, and a handful, such as conductor Gustavo Dudamel, might become world-renown musicians. Founder José Antonio Abreu emphasizes the social objectives of the program and exhibits a keen consciousness of the versatile nature of Latin America’s modernity and the program’s adaptability and mutability. On the other hand, Abreu’s belief in the “unique” power of music to “transform” echoes Romantic ideologies specifically exemplified in Lisztian philosophy. In short, the program’s history, documentaries, and performances, reflect an aesthetic negotiation between European musical mythology and Venezuelan socio-artistic identity; the resulting entity both nurtures the “classical” canon and challenges it through the inclusion of Latin-American composers and adapted popular dances. Foreign musicians and media, nevertheless, appear to understate the social and musical syncretic potential of the El Sistema phenomenon, emphasizing instead the program as “the future of classical music.” Upon this dualistic foundation, Mark Churchill (of the New England Conservatory) now attempts to build El Sistema USA. This paper will scrutinize the complex aesthetics of El Sistema and its transplantation as a pedagogical model to the U.S. Such scrutiny affords us an opportunity to explore current mythologies of “classical music” and El Sistema’s potential to preserve them or mutate them.
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    Inter-American Musical Encounters During the Cold War: Festival of Spain and the Americas, Madrid, 1964 [full paper]
    (Latin American Music Center, 2011-10) Payne, Alyson
    The renewal of the Pact of Madrid in 1963 brought the United States and Spain into a closer rapport as well as strengthened Spain’s connection to the Organization of American States (OAS). No longer politically isolated, Spain began to host inter-American exhibits of music and art to promote more amicable relations with the American republics. One such event, the Festival of Music of the Americas and Spain, held in Madrid in 1964 and sponsored by the OAS and the Institute for Hispanic Culture, showcased the latest avant-garde music of the U.S., Latin America, and Spain. In addition to promoting new music, this display of compositions by Aaron Copland, Juan Orrego Salas, Roque Cordero, Aurelio de la Vega and others aided the political relations among the countries involved. Since the start of the Cold War, the U.S. had tried to strengthen its inter-American relations, while at the same time, deterring Communism in the region. Avant-garde music, in stark contrast to Soviet musical policies, could unite the Americas in a cosmopolitan embrace. Spain, eager to rehabilitate its international reputation, also promoted its own avant-garde compositions in addition to those from the Americas. This demonstration of musical goodwill also helped Spain to secure needed economic assistance from the U.S. and Latin America. This paper examines the cooperation of the U.S. and Latin America with Spain on this festival in order to explore the myriad political uses of music, from promoting democracy to dictatorship.
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    Walt Disney and Diplomacy: The Musical Impact of Aquarela do Brasil [full paper]
    (Latin American Music Center, 2011-10) Berndt Morris, Elizabeth; Morris, Charles
    In a diplomatic attempt to create cultural exchange between Latin American countries and the United States, Disney Pictures created the film Saludos Amigos in 1942. The film Saludos Amigos was a combination of four independently conceived cartoon shorts regarding Latin America. This paper will concentrate on the final of the four cartoon shorts, Aquarela do Brasil. Aquarela do Brasil was created with the specific cultural function of improving relations with Brazil before entering World War II as requested and funded by the United States Government. The strategy of Franklin Roosevelt’s Latin American policy was cultural sharing with the goal of demonstrating how both cultures are similar and to strengthen cultural ties. In 1941, to accomplish the task of creating Saludos Amigos, Disney and a crew of writers, artists, and one musician, explored first-hand a variety of Latin American cultures. Disney and his crew chose to spend the majority of their time in Rio de Janeiro, using it as headquarters for their time in South America. As a result, the cartoon short Aquarela do Brasil, based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is much more detailed and accurate. The cultural impact of Aquarela do Brasil’s music was significant and played a large role in the popularization of the samba in North America during the 1940s and 50s. Furthermore, the international popularity of the samba, Brazil, which premiered to American audiences in Aquarela do Brasil, helped samba to be perceived as the “national sound” of Brazil.
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    Ragtime traces in the Brazilian choro Segura ele! [Hold him!] by Pixinguinha: composition and performance hybridization after the trip to Paris in 1922 [full paper]
    (Latin American Music Center, 2011-10) Borém, Fausto; Moreira Júnior, Nilton Antônio
    Analytical study about Segura ele! (Hold him!) and Um a zero (One by Zero), two choros by Brazilian composer and performer Alfredo da Rocha Vianna, known as Pixinguinha (1897-1973), the leading figure of the genre in the twentieth century. It is well known that after the historical trip of his choro group Oito Batutas (Eight Smarties) to Paris in 1922, where he met American jazz musicians, Pixinguinha introduced some stylistic innovations in the performance practices of choro. It shows traits of ragtime in Segura ele! and features of traditional choro, (a Brazilian popular music genre), in Um a zero, departing from lead sheets (PIXINGUINHA, 1919, 1929), historical recordings (PIXINGUINHA, 1998) and iconographic information. A comparison among formal, harmonic, rhythmic, motivic, instrumentation and iconographic elements reveal that Pixinguinha´s choro style was influenced by the US popular music genre in several levels, in the song Segura ele!. There is, still, a comparison between similar motives from Segura ele! and The Entertainer, composed by Scott Joplin, the most important composer of ragtime. Some considerations by Scott Joplin about how to play the ragtime are observed in the recording of Segura ele!. Finally, it is possible to visualize the difference between Um a zero that was composed in 1919, before the trip, and Segura ele!, composed in 1929, some years after the trip.
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    Musical Analysis of 16 Poesilúdios for Piano, by Almeida Prado, According to Analytical Techniques Developed by American Theorists [full paper]
    (Latin American Music Center, 2011-10) Moreira, Adriana Lopes da Cunha
    This work presents a musical analysis of structural and pertaining to surface aspects in the 16 Poesilúdios for piano, by the Brazilian composer Almeida Prado (1943-2010). It focuses on aspects of study, analysis and promote of contemporary Brazilian music, as a contribution for its bibliography. The methodology unites a brief biography of the composer; the division of his work into four phases; the presentation of excerpts by a compact disc with the pieces played by the researcher that presents this work, as well as photos of the paintings that have suggested the composition of some Poesilúdios; interviews with some artists to whom some pieces are dedicated, and an interview with the composer with his consideration about his own compositions are also included. It also explores aspects in relation to tempo, dynamics, timbre, texture and structure, with special emphasis on set theory, and proposes an association between musical analysis techniques developed during the twentieth and the twenty-first centuries, presented by authors like Felix Salzer (1982) and Joseph Straus (2005). Therefore, it defends the approach of a work conceived by one of the most relevant Brazilian composers after Heitor Villa-Lobos, which work is analyzed according to techniques developed by American theorists and analysts. The conclusion verifies possible interactions between all these aspects, identifying the elements of unity and considerations about the structure of the Poesilúdios.
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    The Danzón and Caribbean Musical Influences on Early Jazz [abstract only]
    (Latin American Music Center, 2011-10) Moore, Robin
    Music scholars have long lamented the lack of historical data describing the emergence of early jazz repertoire in New Orleans. Not only do no recordings of the music exist prior to 1917, but few written sources from the turn of the twentieth century make any mention of the emergent musical style. As a result, many studies describe jazz as the invention of a few almost mythical figures in isolation, with little reference to earlier performance practice. This paper uses an analysis of the earliest recordings of the Cuban danzón, dating from 1905, as a window into the formative years of jazz. The danzón is especially significant as the first African-American music ever recorded, and a style known to have been performed in New Orleans beginning in the late 1880s. Analysis suggests (1) that many parallels in form, rhythm, and style exist between the danzón and dixieland repertoire, and (2) that instrumentation associated with the final “hot” (partially improvised) sections of the danzón bear striking similarities to the clarinet-trumpet-trombone frontline of dixieland. The danzón may well have contributed directly to the development of jazz; danzón style ties jazz to broader regional developments, and underscores the fact that the histories of Latin American music and music in the United States are fundamentally intertwined.
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    Audioscapes: Interpreting Nationalistic Perspectives Through Transnational Death Metal (Band: Brujeria) [abstract only]
    (Latin American Music Center, 2011-10) Mena, Michael
    The California-based Mexican-American “activist” metal band Brujeria, uses a powerful, yet conflicting, blend of nihilism, anarchism, and racism with a dose of hyper-patriotism in its attempt to convey the voice of oppressed Mexicans on both sides of the border. My research on this band has revealed a peculiar concentration of live performances along the U.S.-Mexico border. While it is uncertain whether or not Brujeria is intentionally political, their live performances and song lyrics are highly critical of both the U.S. and Mexico regarding immigration policy, border-crossing, and other issues which have resonated among the binational youth of South Texas and Northeastern Mexico (locally referred to as “border kids”). In this paper I explore the conflicting notions of space, performativity, binationality and U.S. Mexico relations within the context of Brujeria performances in the South Texas Borderlands. As a participant/observer of the South Texas Death Metal scene, I have witnessed the emotional impact that Brujeria has on border kids. This audience is deeply confused about its social identity, and Brujeria appear to have developed a devoted following by tapping into the emotions of such a volatile binational youth audience. While on the surface, it might appear that Brujeria’s primary ambition is to prey on such a young and influential audience, I argue that Brujeria promotes and nurtures a new form of bicultural and biracial pride among the border kids that might be considered in response to a long history of exploitation and oppression of Mexicans in the region.
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    Increasing Cultural Awareness through Choral Music [full paper]
    (Latin American Music Center, 2011-10) Meisten, Kimberly D.
    This paper examines the impact of a unique community engagement program called ¡Cantaré!, which places Mexican composers in Minnesota classrooms to serve as composers-in-residence. Since 2008, the Minnesota-based chorus VocalEssence has connected eight different Mexican composers with more than 20 school, college and community choruses. Urban, suburban and rural communities have participated. The composers work directly with the singers and write new choral works specifically for each group. Through the VocalEssence !Cantaré! program, more than 5000 people have heard 35 new choral works, commissioned and premiered in community concerts throughout the state. The paper will clarify the effects of the program on audiences, composers and performers by reviewing evaluation results and exploring the cross-cultural influences of the compositions. Data has been collected from student, teacher and composer surveys; teacher and student focus groups; classroom observations; Cultural Advisory Committee meeting notes; audience and budget statistics; and related ¡Cantaré! educational resources developed for music teachers and conductors. Key findings reinforce the profound impact of the arts (in this case, contemporary choral music) in the assimilation process of immigrant populations. As the public face of the immigrant group, the arts can enhance understanding and tolerance, easing the incorporation of present and future immigrants. It is our hope that this paper will demonstrate the program’s positive social and musical impact, thus motivating others to replicate the program nationally.
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    Music schools and musical activity in 17th Century New Mexico Missions [full paper]
    (Latin American Music Center, 2011-10) Lozano, Tomás
    Before borders were established between Mexico and the US as we know it today, a great section of the latter was previously part of New Spain. This paper will present a part of musical history that to this day remains dimly recognized. By taking Franciscan documents from the 17th Century, I will demonstrate that by 1630 there proved to be large amounts of musical activity, including orchestras, performed by natives from La Provincia de la Nuevo Méjico—what today is New Mexico. They played musical instruments including chirimías, bajones, trumpets, and organs, and sang Gregorian and polyphonic chants, following the same pattern and structure of all other missions in New Spain. Among other activities, the missions assumed the role of teaching both how to read and write music. I will even say that the craft of musical instrument making also took place at the missions of La Provincia de la Nuevo Méjico. The musical activity that transpired in these missions during the 17th century will perhaps always retain an air of mystery, but enough documentation exists to offer a window into the past. All this activity occurred more than one hundred years before the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (1848) in which Mexico ceded its lands to the US Government. New Mexico became then a US Territory but was not a member of the Union until 1912. This music schools from La Provincia de la Nuevo Méjico were the first music schools of what today is the United States.
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    Singing Blackness across Borders. Capeyuye and Mascogo Identity in Northern Mexico [abstract only]
    (Latin American Music Center, 2011-10) Madrid, Alejandro L.
    This paper takes capeyuye [spiritual singing] as a point of departure to study the Mascogos’ continuous struggle to define themselves as binational people, as Afro- Seminoles living in Coahuila, Mexico. By reflecting on the intersections of race, nationality, and the body within the specificities of Mascogo border culture and history, the paper problematizes Anne Anlin Cheng’s notion of “racial melancholia,” suggesting that self rejection might be a more strategic move than she acknowledges to be. In the end, the author coins the term “dialectical soundings” and propose that the singing of spirituals among the Mascogos in fact renders Blackness visible in the context of the Mexican border essentialist racial discourses.
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    Olin Downes and the Reception of Latin American Composers in the United States [abstract only]
    (Latin American Music Center, 2011-10) Lopes, Luiz Fernando
    Olin Downes, influential music critic of the New York Times from 1924 until his death in 1955, was an indefatigable supporter of contemporary music and his interest extended to Latin American composers such as Carlos Chávez, Alberto Ginastera, Camargo Guarnieri, and Heitor Villa-Lobos. Downes’s reviews and newspaper pieces in relation to the New York World’s Fair from 1939 were especially instrumental in consolidating the reputation of Villa-Lobos in the United States. Downes thought highly of Chávez not only as a composer but also as a conductor, whom he compared in favorable terms to Arturo Toscanini’s tenure with the New York Philharmonic. Downes established a particularly enthusiastic relationship with Villa-Lobos and his music, about which he wrote more often than that of any other composer from Latin America. The Brazilian composer reciprocated in kind by dedicating to Downes his Symphony No. 8 from 1950. This paper examines Downes’s music criticism in the New York Times, especially his reviews of Latin American music performances, as well as his papers and unpublished correspondence, which mostly survive at the University of Georgia in Athens. Although it is clear that Olin Downes’s support of Latin American music was indefatigable and genuine, this paper reveals that is was not entirely disinterested and that the renowned critic also worked in tandem with the State Department in Washington, D.C., and its Good Neighbor Policy for the arts.