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Music, Race, and Nation

Musica Tropical in Colombia

Long a favorite on dance floors in Latin America, the porro, cumbia, and vallenato styles that make up Colombia’s música tropical are now enjoying international success. How did this music—which has its roots in a black, marginal region of the country—manage, from the 1940s onward, to become so popular in a nation that had prided itself on its white heritage? Peter Wade explores the history of música tropical, analyzing its rise in the context of the development of the broadcast media, rapid urbanization, and regional struggles for power. Using archival sources and oral histories, Wade shows how big band renditions of cumbia and porro in the 1940s and 1950s suggested both old traditions and new liberties, especially for women, speaking to a deeply rooted image of black music as sensuous. Recently, nostalgic, "whitened" versions of música tropical have gained popularity as part of government-sponsored multiculturalism.

Wade’s fresh look at the way music transforms and is transformed by ideologies of race, nation, sexuality, tradition, and modernity is the first book-length study of Colombian popular music.

Table of Contents

A Note on Recorded Music
1. Introduction 1
National Identity
Race and Nation
Nation, Gender, Race, and Sexuality
Music, Identity, and Music Capitalism
2. La Costa and Música Costeña in the Colombian Nation
The Colombian Nation
La Costa in the Nation
The Identity of La Costa
Colombian Popular Music and Costeño Music
3. Origin Myths: The Historiography of Costeño Music
Cultural Dynamics in the Nineteenth Century
4. Music, Class, and Race in La Costa, 1930-1950
Class in Barranquilla, 1920s-1940s
Changes in Music, 1920s-1940s
Music, Class, and Race in La Costa
5. (Alegría! Costeño Music Hits the Heartland, 1940-1950
Bogotá and Medelln before Costeño Music
The Beginnings of Costeño Music in the Colombian Interior
Costeño Music: Reaction and Counterreaction
6. The Golden Era of Costeño MusicCand After
"Al Ritmo Paisa": The Recording Industry
Changes in Costeño Music, 1950-1980
7. Costeños and Costeño Music in the Interior: Rejection and Adaptation, 1950s-1980s
Bogotá: Resistance
Medellín: "More Costeño than La Costa"?
The Costeños in Bogotá and Medellín
Ownership, Embodiment, and Identity
8. Multiculturalism and Nostalgia: The 1990s
Patterns of Consumption in the 1990s
Reviving Old Costeño Music
Costeño Music and Costeño Identity
A "Multicultural" Nation
9. Conclusion: Writing about Colombian Music
Appendix A: List of Interviewees
Appendix B: Musical Examples
References Cited

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