Politics, Poetics, and Latinidad in the Meta-Barrio
Latinos in the United States
Published by: Michigan State University Press
Imprint: Michigan State University Press
This volume explores the significations and developments of the Salsa consciente movement, a Latino musico-poetic and political discourse that exploded in the 1970s but then dwindled in momentum into the early 1990s. This movement is largely linked to the development of Nuyolatino popular music brought about in part by the mass Latino migration to New York City beginning in the 1950s and the subsequent social movements that were tied to the shifting political landscapes. Defined by its lyrical content alongside specific sonic markers and political and social issues facing U.S. Latinos and Latin Americans, Salsa consciente evokes the overarching cultural-nationalist idea of Latinidad (Latin-ness). Through the analysis of over 120 different Salsa songs from lyrical and musical perspectives that span a period of over sixty years, the author makes the argument that the urban Latino identity expressed in Salsa consciente was constructed largely from diasporic, deterritorialized, and at times imagined cultural memory, and furthermore proposes that the Latino/Latin American identity is in part based on African and Indigenous experience, especially as it relates to Spanish colonialism. A unique study on the intersection of Salsa and Latino and Latin American identity, this volume will be especially interesting to scholars of ethnic studies and musicology alike.
A significant account of the role of popular music in the political project of Latinidad. Andrés Espinoza Agurto dispenses with parochial squabbles over Salsa’s name or origins to describe its role in the collective seizing of a decolonized consciousness of shared African and Native histories and the common experience of working-class barrio life, both across the hemisphere and around the way. Through close readings of the music and lyrics of Salsa composers (rather than performers), he traces the steps in the emergence of Latinx class consciousness in the twentieth century and, in an important final gesture, the continuation of Salsa’s political project of Latinidad in the musical movements of today.—Michael Birenbaum Quintero, associate professor of music and chair, musicology and ethnomusicology, Boston University
Going beyond the nationalist narratives that have traditionally claimed ownership to Salsa, Andrés Espinoza Agurto reminds us that the beauty and joy of its lyrics, dance, and rhythms belong first and foremost to all Latinos, as the shared experience of the global barrio and the profound expression of their collective identity, resistance, and fight.—Jaime O. Bofill Calero, assistant professor of ethnomusicology, Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music, and editor of Musiké