Mi pueblo me hace cantar

La nueva canción latinoamericana: A 21st Century View
A Conference Hosted by the University of East Anglia
11th-12th September 2009
Call for Papers

Mi pueblo me hace cantar is a two-day multidisciplinary conference that brings together leading researchers in the field of Latin American music and politics to examine the impact and legacy of the new song movement, throughout Latin America, from a twenty-first century perspective.

New song is a living phenomenon in Latin America; President Hugo Chávez often sings and quotes from the lyrics of Venezuelan new song artist Alí Primera. Yet, with the exception of the seminal work of Jan Fairley and Robert Pring-Mill, and a small number of chapters and journal articles published on Chile, Nicaragua and Cuba, new song has received little scholarly attention. As yet, there has been no systematic country-by-country analysis of the emergence, theory, practice, functions and legacy of the movement, nor a thorough examination of its main practitioners, their key compositions, performance contexts, methods of diffusion, audience reception (as reported at the time in ephemeral literature), or of the varying responses of state institutions and the influence of new song on subsequent generations of singer/songwriters. Yet throughout the 1970s and 1980s, various new song practitioners met at international festivals, engaged in much discussion, gave many interviews to journalists, and identified themselves as part of a larger movement of activists that worked explicitly towards the integration of the region and towards the social, political and economic transformation of their nations.

The conference aims to document and account for the development of the new song movement throughout Latin America, to formulate theories regarding the creative role and functions of new song in Latin American societies, to analyse the work and careers of new song artists of various nationalities, and to deepen understanding of the reception of new song and its impact and influence both in the latter half of the twentieth century and at the present moment when in many Latin American nations leftist nationalistic/indigenous governments have been democratically elected. The conference also seeks to explore the extent to which the role of popular music in the political life of the region can be seen as a phenomenon which is unique to the Latin American/Hispanic/Lusaphone context, and how far theories regarding the political uses of songs and music can be generalised (or not) to other contexts.

The conference organizers invite submissions for papers from scholars in any discipline (in English or Spanish) on the following themes and any other related topics:

  • The impact of Chilean new song on musicians in other Latin American/Caribbean nations.
  • The new song practitioner as politician/symbol/repository of cultural meaning.
  • The re-interpretation and re-signification of new song in the 21st century/links with contemporary social movements/new song and activism.
  • New song and memory.
  • New song and identity.
  • New song and audiences; voice of the common people or that of a select minority of leftist intellectuals?
  • New song and the state.
  • New song in exile.

Abstracts of no more than 300 words can be sent by email to Hazel Marsh no later than 31st May 2009.

This conference is supported by the Society for Latin American Studies

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