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Rockin Las Americas

Rockin Las Americas: The Global Politics Of Rock In Latin/o America

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    Rockin Las Americas
    Book Description:

    Every nation in the Americas-from indigenous Peru to revolutionary Cuba-has been touched by the cultural and musical impact of rock.Rockin' Las Américasis the first book to explore the production, dissemination, and consumption of rock music throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, Brazil, the Andes, and the Southern Cone as well as among Latinos in the United States.

    The contributors include experts in music, history, literature, culture, sociology, and anthropology, as well as practicingrockerosandrockeras. The multidisciplinary, transnational, and comparative perspectives they bring to the topic serve to address a broad range of fundamental questions about rock in Latin and Latino America, including: Why did rock become such a controversial cultural force in the region? In what ways has rock served as a medium for expressing national identities? How are unique questions of race, class, and gender inscribed in Latin American rock? What makes Latin American rock Latin American?Rockin' Las Américasis an essential book for anyone who hopes to understand the complexities of Latin American culture today.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-7255-6
    Subjects: Music, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Mapping Rock Music Cultures across the Americas
    (pp. 1-21)

    “Rock is not a crime.” This graffiti on a wall in Puerto Rico only makes sense when one understands that, for decades, Latin American rock fans and performers have been subject to a systematic pattern of harassment and abuses, under all forms of government—from Castro’s Cuba to Pinochet's Chile—and ranging from outright government repression, to intellectual demonization and social ostracism. In Mexico, one of the first countries in Latin America where rock ‘n’ roll took hold, the government closed down thecafes cantantes(youth clubs) throughout the early 1960s, claiming that they fomented “rebellion without a cause” and...

  2. La Onda Chicana: Mexico’s Forgotten Rock Counterculture
    (pp. 22-42)

    Mexican rock music has come a long way since the late 1960s, when the first indications of a truly original movement (La Onda Chicana) became evident. Contemporary groups such as Café Tacuba, Maldita Vecindad y los Hijos del Quinto Patio, Molotov, Tijuana No, El Gran Silencio, and others have all achieved what their predecessors only dreamed of, namely, gaining respectability as part of a musical vanguard both within Mexico and abroad. Today, moreover, Mexican rock is an integral aspect of left-wing student politics and has gained more than a grudging respect from intellectuals, not to mention politicians. The question of...

  3. Between Rock and a Hard Place: Negotiating Rock in Revolutionary Cuba, 1960–1980
    (pp. 43-67)

    In the mid-1960s, singer/songwriter Silvio Rodríguez was fired from his job at the Cuban Radio and Television Institute for mentioning the Beatles as one of his musical influences on the air. Some thirty-five years later, on December 8, 2000, the anniversary of John Lennon’s death, a statue of John Lennon was dedicated in a park located in the once-fashionable Vedado section of Havana. Present at the ceremony were not only Abel Prieto, Cuba's long-haired Minister of Culture, but Fidel Castro himself, who helped Rodriguez unveil the statue. Understanding these two events and the nature of cultural negotiations between rock fans...

  4. Black Pau: Uncovering the History of Brazilian Soul
    (pp. 68-90)

    The Brazilian soul recordings most difficult to find at the moment are, without a doubt, Tim Maia’sRacional and Racional II, from 1975 and 1976, respectively. Maia, the husky, incorrigible rogue with the magic voice, made these recordings not under the influence of his otherwise preferred drugs—whiskey, cocaine, and marijuana—but rather under the influence of the teachings of Universo em Desencanto, or Universe in Disenchantment, a transcendental cult centered in the suburbs of Rio de Janeiro. As an adept of Universo, and one rising fast through its forty-odd levels of enlightenment, Maia had traded in his hard-partying ways...

  5. Boricua Rock: Puerto Rican by Necessity!
    (pp. 91-114)

    Latin rock,rock en espanal,N .or as it is most recently called by the music industry, “Latin alternative music:” has become a definitive marketing trend. It has enjoyed its greatest popular acceptance among young Mexican immigrants living on the West Coast. but on the East Coast as well. young Latinos and non-Latinos alike are becoming more involved with this pan-Latin musical movement. Replete with social. symbolic, and culturally laden messages and meanings, Latin alternative music draws from multiple rock variants, and is being put to the task of representing distinct subcultural communities and their associated national identities. In the...

  6. The Politics and Anti-Politics of Uruguayan Rock
    (pp. 115-141)

    What is the difference between metropolitan rock and rock from the periphery? Is it just a matter of local tonality? Where does one locate a differential when the copy is as good as the original? These are key questions, whose many possible answers shed light on problems that have haunted Latin American thought and are situated at the center of Latin American cultural studies. If metropolitan rock, according to conventional definitions, is caught in a dichotomy of either repudiating or reproducing mainstream ideological values, of resisting or being co-opted by the “capitalist machine,” of being marginalized from or assimilated to...

  7. “A contra corriente”: A History of Women Rockers in Mexico
    (pp. 142-159)

    Latin Americanrockerasare hot. Finally, the social spaces of rock have seemingly opened, and women have encountered a privileged place inside. The phenomenal popularity of Colombians Shakira, Soraya, and Andrea Echeverri (lead vocalist for Aterciopelados) is one indication of this success. But Mexicanrockerashave also begun to make their mark, both within the country and abroad. One early forum for female rockers has been the tour De Diva Voz, a small-scale version of Lilith Fair that nevertheless traveled throughout Mexico and parts of the United States, and that helped to launchrockerassuch as Julieta Venegas and Ely...

  8. “Soy punkera. ¿y qué?”: Sexuality, Translocality, and Punk in Los Angeles and Beyond
    (pp. 160-178)

    The xeroxed flyer advertising Pretty Vacant, Jim Mendiola’s 1996 independent short film, depicts the much-loved figure of the Mexican Virgen de Guadalupe strutting, of all things, an upside-down electric guitar a la Jimi Hendrix.¹ As a U.S.-born Chicana who, in the 1980s, was rescued from the suburbs of Los Angeles by the Ramones, X, and Dead Kennedys, I must admit that I was captivated by this image and intrigued by the film’s title, an obvious reference to the British Sex Pistols. A guitar jets out from La Guadalupe at a right angle, transforming the familiar oval shape of La Virgen’s...

  9. On How Bloque de Búsqueda Lost Part of Its Name: The Predicament of Colombian Rock in the U.S. Market
    (pp. 179-199)

    In a recentNew York Timesarticle, David Byrne, the lead singer and exmember of Talking Heads, expressed his dislike for the termworld music,a label favored by recording houses and music stores nationwide.¹ According to Byrne, the term is simplistic and reductive since it groups, in a single category, all bands or music that lie beyond the English-speaking domain of the U.S. music market. Among other arguments, he suggests that the label is used to designate Otherness. In this way, all the cultures of the underdeveloped world are grouped and their characteristics are synthesized into a single difference....

  10. Let Me Sing My BRock: Learning to Listen to Brazilian Rock
    (pp. 200-219)

    In March 1998 I presented the results of my study on fans of Brazilian rock to the Research Seminar of the Institute of Popular Music (IPM) at the University of Liverpool.¹ I discussed aesthetic aspects of Brazilian rock, including examples chosen to demonstrate a brief panorama of the genre and some of its characteristics. I was curious to hear the reaction of a qualified audience on a subject rarely taken seriously in Brazilian academic circles, and, especially, its music circles. In Brazil, rock is not taken seriously because it is perceived as a product of the cultural industry made for...

  11. Guatemala’s Alux Nahual: A Non-“Latin American” Latin American Rock Group?
    (pp. 220-240)

    This essay examines the story and phenomenon of the Guatemalan rock group Alux Nahual, which over two decades wrote, produced, performed, and recorded nine albums of original rock music.¹ I was a founding member of the band, participating full-time during its first sixteen years of existence and then intermittently for its last four. The group emerged in Guatemala City in 1979, released its debut album in 1981. and performed abroad for the first time in 1983. We then went on to play in the rest of Central America, as well as a number of cities in the United States and...

  12. My Generation: Rock and la Banda’s Forced Survival Opposite the Mexican State
    (pp. 241-260)

    ¡Que viva el rock!Long live rock!: An emblematic, sonorous, identifying shout, synonym of joy, of hanging out, of the utopian union of dreams and hopes, of the desire to be together, of the pleasure of the concert, the performance, the thrill of the re-encounter of the people, ofla banda,of the barrio, of the identity of thousands of young people, of los chavos, ready to come together within one of youth’s principal forms of expression-if not the most vital of all—the music that abets chaos: Rock.

    In postrevolutionary Mexico, one of the most reproachable conflicts between the...

  13. Neoliberalism and Rock in the Popular Sectors of Contemporary Argentina
    (pp. 261-289)

    During the 1990s an important portion of youth in thesectores popularesdid with rock (and from rock) very weird things. They glorified thieves and slums, as if they were heroes and revolutionary paradises, androck nacionalbecame more nationalist than ever before. The Argentine popular sectors, impoverished yet modernized (an apparent paradox that, as we shall see, is not one) have made their mark in both the listening and creation of rock music. We call this phenomenonrock chabón.

    Rock chabónis the result of the presence of new voices and listeners of rock in Argentina. This presence is...

  14. A Detour to the Past: Memory and Mourning in Chilean Post-Authoritarian Rock
    (pp. 290-311)

    The phrase that best characterized Chilean youth in the 1990s was “iNo estoy ni ahl!” (I don’t give a damn!). In no time, this phrase was deployed to characterize youth as a lost generation; it was interpreted as their “death sentence” as citizens and became the slogan that best signaled their complete lack of political commitment. This reaction by an older generation toward youth might best be understood as the former’s inability to comprehend the lack of interest by youth in the nation’s recent past. Therefore political apathy and amnesia became the label stamped by others to identify this generation,...

  15. The Nortec Edge: Border Traditions and “Electronica” in Tijuana
    (pp. 312-331)

    Electronic popular music, also known as Electronica, represents the ultimate paradigm of transnational music. Although it is produced all over the world and embraces virtually all kinds of music, styles, genres, and influences, Electronica follows fairly similar procedures everywhere: it is electronically manipulated and thus able to transform every unit of sound, every rhythm, in an endless flow of musical variations. Precisely because of the diversity of audiences it reaches and the re-processing of sounds it allows, Electronica creates a continuous feedback between the local and the global. Thus new styles are continuously being re-created within already established trends, transforming...

  16. Esperando La Última Ola / Waiting for the Last Wave: Manu Chao and the Music of Globalization
    (pp. 332-346)

    In 1994, only months after the EZLN, the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, first emerged out of the Lacand6n jungle to occupy San Cristobal de Las Casas and hold a deeply cracked mirror up to the face of contemporary Mexico, the Franco-Spanish band Mano Negra released their final album,Casa Babylon.Recorded while the band was touring Latin America, the album touched on everything from ragga to salsa, but it began in Chiapas, with a tribute to guerrilla insurgent leader Subcomandante Marcos and his Internet-and fax-issued “Declaration of War” against Mexican political lies. The opening track of the album was...

  17. Afterword: A Changeable Template of Rock in Las Américas
    (pp. 347-356)

    Hockin’ Las Americasis the first comprehensive study of the various rock and rock-inflected musics in Latin and Latino America. While it (or any study, for that matter) cannot be exhaustive, it does cover a vast terrain and nearly half a century. It offers a social and cultural history of rock in several countries, dealing with a range of activities from various genres of music, television shows, youth groups, club cultures, the music industry, and style cultures including clothing, body decorations, and visual and textual preferences. It is thus about a group of behaviors that constitute no one style but...

  18. APPENDIX: Rock in Latin America, 1940–2000
    (pp. 357-362)