Bambuco, Tango and Bolero: Music, Identity, and Class Struggles in Medellin, Colombia, 1930-1953
This dissertation explores the articulation of music, identity, and class struggles in the reception and consumption of three genres of popular music in a peripheral capital during a period of social and political turmoil. It explores the connections between two simultaneous historical processes in the mid-twentieth century. Colombian society experienced the rise of mass media and the society of mass consumption in Colombia and the outbreak of a social and political strife, a period usually known as La Violencia. Through the analysis of written material, especially the press, this work illustrates the use of aesthetic judgments to establish differences in ethnicity, social class, and gender. Another important aspect of the study focuses on the adoption of the genres by different groups, not only to demarcate differences at the local level, but as means to inscribe themselves within larger social imaginaries. In this way, bambuco articulates the contradictions and paradoxes brought about in the way Antioqueños (the regional community) want to belong to the nation. Tango articulates the difference between the regional whitened identity, the so-called raza antioqueña (Antioqueño race), and the mestizo (mixed ethnicity) imaginary associated to the nation's capital. Finally, the adoption of bolero embodies the aspirations of the middle classes to gain access to transnational and cosmopolitan imaginaries, generating in the process a de-politization of the space of social struggles that characterizes popular culture. Using a diachronic approach, the dissertation illustrates the variations of musical practices according to particular social and political circumstances. The discussion includes the musical and textual analysis of a few representative pieces of the repertoire.
Advisor:Leonora Saavedra; Ana María Ochoa; Deane Root; Bell Yung; Andrew Weintraub
School:University of Pittsburgh
School Location:USA - Pennsylvania
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Date of Publication:06/05/2006