Musicking in Mérida: Creating and Maintaining History and Culture Through La Escuela Municipal De Folclore Regional
The Yucatán Peninsula has been a favorite vacation destination for decades. Outside of the resorts of Cancún, Cozumel, and the Mayan Riviera, visitors are able to travel throughout the peninsula in search of mestizo (mixed) gems: Yucatecan cuisine, artisan crafts, music, and ruins. The largest of these exotic destinations is the capital city, Mérida, which sits on the ancient ruins of T’hó. Founded in 1542 by Francisco de Montejo, Mérida rapidly became a cosmopolitan area with Spanish, Maya, and later mestizo peoples who crafted a hybrid of Spanish and indigenous culture. Today, almost five hundred years later, the Yucatecans are proud of their heritage. They have the opportunity to learn Mayan or perfect the colonial dances, called the jarana, through the help of the municipal government’s assistance. With tax dollars, the Ayuntamiento de Mérida, a branch of the city’s municipal government, opened schools thirty years ago throughout the city, encouraging students old and young to preserve and share their musical history. Through this unique governmental support, music and dance survive and are seen as important icons of the region. The strength of the schools during the past thirty years has led to nightly performances in outdoor venues in the historical city for natives and foreigners alike. Researchers in the past rarely focused on the performance and tourist aspects of the jarana and its importance, and there has been no interest generated on the schools that maintain this strong tradition. This thesis is the first work to focus on the school, its history, and its relationship to the Ballet Folklórico, a semi-professional club of dance that perform each week. Using the concept of “musicking” as developed by Christopher Small, I explore the many forces at work in the performance and teaching of the jarana and other arts of the Yucatán.
School:Bowling Green State University
School Location:USA - Ohio
Source Type:Master's Thesis
Keywords:jarana yucatán mérida ayuntamiento de escuela municipal folclore regional ballet folklórico
Date of Publication:01/01/2007