The Music, Language, and Culture Workshop

April 19th – Fernando Rios


Please join us for the Ethnoise! workshop this Thursday, April 19th at 4:30, in Goodspeed Hall room 205.  We will welcome Fernando Rios, Visiting Assistant Professor in Ethnomusicology at the University of Maryland, College Park as he presents:


“They’re Stealing Our Music”: The Argentinísima Controversy,
National Culture Boundaries, and the Rise of a Bolivian Nationalist Discourse”


Abstract: In Bolivia, the notion that foreigners incessantly appropriate the country’s folkloric music has served as a powerful elicitor of national sentiment since the early 1970s. This presentation examines the rise and consolidation of this nationalist discourse through the lens of the Bolivian anger that erupted following the Argentine charango player Jaime Torres’ 1973 performance in the nativist film Argentinísima. I argue that this reaction was connected to growing local concerns regarding Argentine as well as Bolivian blurring of national culture boundaries in the realm of Andean folkloric-popular music performance practices. I also contend that the Bolivian appropriation discourse that took shape in this period facilitated the localization of certain folkloric musical styles, specifically those that Argentine and other non-Bolivian artists also performed, by foregrounding Bolivian nationalist meanings and refuting alternative interpretations. In closing, I suggest that ethnomusicologists may wish to expand the range of topics normally considered as examples of localization or indigenization to include expressive practices that are not clearly of foreign origin and that serve as emblematic national traditions.


Fernando Rios is Visiting Assistant Professor in Ethnomusicology at the University of Maryland, College Park, where in the fall term he will begin his appointment as Assistant Professor. His research, which is based on fieldwork and archival research conducted in Bolivia, Argentina and France, explores folkloric musical representations of Andean mestizo and indigenous expressive practices in relation to Bolivian nation-building projects and international artistic trends. His recent published work includes articles in Ethnomusicology Forum (“The Andean Conjunto, Bolivian Sikureada and the Folkloric Musical Representation Continuum,” 2012), Ethnomusicology (“Bolero Trios, Mestizo Panpipe Ensembles and Bolivia’s 1952 Revolution,” 2010) and Latin American Music Review (“La Flûte Indienne: The Early History of Andean Folkloric-Popular Music in France and its Impact on Nueva Canción,” 2008).

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