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My examples derive from an array of sources—from literary texts, such as Rigoberta Menchú’s testimonial, to anthropological, ethnomusicological and videographic documentary materials from Costa Rica, Guatemala and Mexico.I analyze the commentaries of musicians themselves, and also the observations of scholars and social critics who contribute to the overall discourse on music and identity.Strands of culture come to occupy dominant, prominent or subtle aspects of national identity through negotiation and these strands are visible in cultural representations such as music and dance.Although such processes of negotiation are inherent to all types of identity formation, they are particularly noteworthy in Latin American music because of the prevalence of cultural mestizaje.As for the “negotiation” of political identity, I am alluding to the process of transculturation through which different and sometimes contradictory elements of national, ethnic and/or social culture combine unevenly.Such negotiation is ongoing and subject to change; there exists no resolution.Guatemalan folklorist, Marcial Armas Lara, writes in ) who showed him the ancient image.Armas explains that he faithfully copied the codex.
Discussing, in depth, writings, films, and cartoons from a vast array of contemporary sources, Carrie C.
Reading the manner in which scholars “read” pre-Colombian “music,” can reveal as much about the scholars themselves as early indigenous music.
Take, for example, the polemic about whether the marimba derives originally from Africa, pre-Hispanic Mesoamerica or Asia.
Both of these propositions have been disputed by a majority of scholars.
My purpose here is not to enter the debate, nor to test the merits of these cases, but rather to read these narratives of origin in a way that will foreground the manner in which the image of the marimba gets stretched and pulled across history from its mythical origin to the present of national identity.