Week Ten

The podcast “Music and Nation in Latin America” provided a unique way to observe unity in a nation. History in many different cultures demonstrates music’s capability to connect people in a deep way through mutual love for a certain sound. This connection doesn’t only exist in one’s community, but worldwide. It is truly amazing the reach it can have and the impact it has on a person’s life.

I thought Dawson made an interesting note when he acknowledged in the past, different areas were extremely distinguished by the style, sound and instruments that made up their music. It is definitely a huge contrast from today, where some music, no matter the language or style, is recognized worldwide. It is true there are still differences in music depending on where you go, but it is still highly unlikely to find a place where the people don’t recognize at least one song from popular culture.

This expansion in musical recognition is mainly due to the advances in recorded music, and more specifically, the transmission of recorded music. The radio spreads popular music worldwide and plays a major role in defining and identifying a particular area’s style of music. Dawson brings up the example of the tango in Argentina. He comments on difference between what tourists view as an authentic representation of a foreign country’s musical traditions versus what locals actually view as authentic. I’ve never personally experienced this coming from Florida, where we don’t have any stereotypical dance or music style; however, I have noticed this occurrence when traveling. It is obvious the displays are for tourists’ entertainment and I often wonder how locals feel about them.

After listening to the podcast, I now understand how the radio contributed to this misconception. At one time, the style may have been extremely evident in a culture. The radio displayed this style to the world, who then came to accept it as the norm in that specific area. So now if the style has changed in the locals’ minds, outsiders have already associated them with the old one.

One of the band examples that I found most interesting was the one from Cuba. They practiced “Cuban” music but were not well liked in Cuba. They then found popularity in the US, and were later accepted back into Cuba. The most ironic part is when they returned to Cuba, it wasn’t to play for a Cuban audience. Their primary gig was at a hotel where the majority of guests are foreign. It seems like even though locals may not personally want to listen to that music, they are using the misconception to their advantage to please outsiders who expect that style of music.

3 thoughts on “Week Ten

  1. Emily Townsend

    I like how you compare our reading to our view of music today. It’s interesting to note how music in Dawson’s text plays such an important role in emphasizing nationalism. For example, samba in Brazil. Contrarily, today, music is played and known worldwide, in spite of its origin. I wonder, does this globalization of music lessen the people and country of a music type or song’s origin?

  2. Nayid Contreras

    Hi there,
    The power of music is very well expressed in your blogs for this week’s readings. I do also agree that the emotions and feelings that music transmits to people, is a unshakable one. I also like that you brought your personal and geographical conception of music played in Florida, as a way ton interpret the power of music and how for some, music has such a powerful meaning behind it. Great job!

  3. eva streitz

    In response to Emily’s comment I think that the type of popular music that is spread virally does not ever truly resonate in the hearts of the people of its original country. I may be generalizing, but songs like that don’t usually have a strong message or purpose other than to have as many listeners as possible.


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