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Volume 64 / Humanities


JONATHAN RITTER, Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology, University of California, Riverside

SINCE THE LAST HANDBOOK SECTION ON ANDEAN MUSIC (written by then Contributing Editor, Walter Clark; see HLAS 60, p. 693), the quantity and diversity of musical scholarship about the Andean region has grown considerably in South America itself, as well as in the US and Europe. The most significant development in the intervening years has been a veritable explosion in studies of popular music. To mention but one telling sign of this growth, the Latin America chapter of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music (IASPM) is now the largest and most active scholarly society dedicated to music in South America, and countries in the Andean region have hosted its biannual conference on several occasions (Santiago, 1997; Bogotá, 2000; Lima, 2008).

Some of this expansion in popular music studies reflects the maturation of long-established scholarly traditions, particularly those related to nationalist projects within individual Andean countries. The study of vallenato music in Colombia, for instance, has a scholarly trajectory stretching back several decades, with close ties to ideological struggles over the Caribbean versus Andean identity of the country. Consequently, what is notable about recent Colombian scholarship on vallenato is not its novelty, but the sheer volume of works being published and the growing diversity of approaches they reflect: celebratory genre histories (items #bi2007003140#, #bi2007003359#, #bi2007003353#, and #bi2007003355#), musicological treatises emphasizing musical analysis (item #bi2007000073#), biographical studies of musicians and composers (items #bi2007003352#, #bi2007003134#, and #bi2007003355#), and critical essays on the genre's literary and social associations and significance (item #bi2008003443#).

Beyond vallenato, the music-nation relationship has also driven a number of other recent studies of popular music in the Andean region. Most notable are Turino's broad exploration of musical nationalism in Latin America in the 19th and 20th centuries, including specific references to popular/folkloric genres in Peru and Bolivia (item #bi2008002708#), and the collection of essays edited by Ana María Ochoa and Alejandra Cragnolini (item #bi2008002707#), which includes chapters on the Ecuadorian pasillo, the Chilean cueca, Argentine chamamé, and several Colombian genres. Books by music critics or scholars writing in a journalistic format are also contributing to these debates (see item #bi2006002187# for Colombia, item #bi2007003138# for Venezuela, and item #bi2007003149# for Peru).

Arguably the most novel and interesting works within this new body of popular music scholarship are those addressing the adoption and adaptation of transnational popular musics within local and national contexts in the Andean region. In Peru, Olazo's study of jazz music in Lima (item #bi2007003351#); Cornejo's history of Peruvian rock (item #bi2007003143#); Rozas' fascinating exploration of "fusion" music, from Yma Sumac's operatic versions of "Inca" songs in the 1950s to Manongo Mujica's contemporary mixes of rock, jazz, electronic music, and Peruvian folklore (item #bi2008003437#); and finally, Romero's social history of chicha music and technocumbia (the "Peruvianization" of a Colombian popular genre) (item #bi2008003438#), together challenge the notion of discretely "national" popular musical traditions as thoroughly as the music they describe. Garcés Montoya's study of hiphop in Medellín (item #bi2007003132#), Restrepo's work on punk in the same city (item #bi2007000133#), and Marín and Germán Muñoz's (item #bi2007003141#) broader study on youth subcultures and transnational popular musics (rock, metal, grunge, rap, etc.) in Colombia accomplish much the same for that country.

Driven in large part by this new scholarship in popular music, as well as the growing number of South American scholars trained abroad and now teaching in their countries of origin, many recent works on music in the Andean region reflect a deeper engagement with the theoretical currents that dominate musical and cultural studies scholarship in Europe and North America. To cite but two examples: Martha Marín and German Muñoz's just-mentioned book on urban youth subcultures in Colombia is exemplary in this regard, drawing substantially on theoretical works associated with both British cultural studies (Stuart Hall, Simon Frith) and French critical theory (Michel Foucault, Gilles Deleuze), as well as Latin American postmodernists (especially, Néstor García Canclini). Second, Luz María Lepe Lira's prize-winning ethnography of women's song in the Ecuadorian Amazon (2005) is a very different book, but equally compelling in its engagement with postcolonial and feminist theory (item #bi2007003133#).

More traditional topics and approaches to musical study in the Andes have not been left behind entirely in this paradigm shift towards popular music. Several important works on art music of the colonial period have been published in recent years, including Quezada Macchiavello's study of sacred music in Cuzco in the 17th century (item #bi2007003129#), Baker's related work in the convents and monasteries of Cuzco (item #bi2008003435#), Godoy's study of sacred music in colonial Quito (item #bi2004003412#), and Calcaño's work on late colonial music in Caracas (item #bi2007003364#).

Likewise, ethnographic research on traditional musics throughout the Andes continues apace. One recent significant development was the elevation of the former Centro de Etnomusicología Andina at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú to the Instituto de Etnomusicología, placing it on a more secure (and, one hopes, permanent) institutional footing. Founded by ethnomusicologist Raúl Romero in 1985 as the Archivo de Música Tradicional Andina with funding from the Ford Foundation, this institute has sponsored research on traditional and popular music in Peru and, to a smaller extent, throughout the Andean region for more than two decades. It maintains the largest and most significant archive of audio and video recordings of Andean music and rituals in South America, and has published numerous CDs (including the 8-volume series Traditional Music of Peru, coproduced with Smithsonian Folkways), books, and documentaries. Their most recent publications include the Avances de Investigación series, offering detailed ethnographic studies of particular festivals and regions in Peru (items #bi2008004059#, #bi2007003135#, #bi2008004060#, and #bi2008004058#), and the Documentales Peruanas series, which packages documentary films on contemporary popular music in Peru together with a short book on the same topic (items #bi2008003438# and #bi2008003437#). The institute is also developing a more comprehensive Web site with educational materials on Andean music (http://www.pucp.edu.pe/ide).

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