17 de octubre de 2014

Spanish Popular Music through Latin American eyes

Spanish Popular Music through Latin American eyes

Rubén López Cano

The relationship that Spain has with its ancient colonies in Latin America is a complex one. Unlike the relationship that the United States has with Australia and United Kingdom, for instance, Spain is not a military ally of any of the big Latin American countries. Commercial exchanges are perceived by the common citizen as an affair of the economical elites and the presence of Spanish banks and corporations are seen suspiciously as a neocolonial activity.  Asymmetrical economic relations make that immigrants from Latin American countries to are mostly unqualified workers while Spaniards travelling to the Americas do so in search of exoticism or commercial advantages […] Independently of the above considerations, the fact of sharing a common language has facilitated the consumption of cultural products such as literature, music, cinema and television series on both sides without regard to their provenance. Only the characteristics of the product and the entertainment or satisfaction value they offer counts.
We have a situation where a web of complex and paradoxical relationships oscillates between the recognition of a common culture and the need of asserting historical differences. It is in this unstable scenario that the diffusion, reception and consumption of Spanish urban popular music takes place. Perhaps for this reason many songs produced in Spain have not been really understood in Ibero-America. Nevertheless some of them have been cultural and vital landmarks for thousands of individuals. They have been a defining element in the mechanisms of construction of the identity and the subjectivity of successive generations in sundry social groups. They are an integral part of the private life of many individuals and of the history of Latin American music.
In this article I shall examine some facets of this complex relationship. I will emphasize above all, the processes and types of transnationalism of Spanish music in Latin America in cases that go from the reproduction of stereotypes of Spanish culture to the constitution of real transnational musical scenes lacking any marks of national culture and sharing a mental imagery and worlds of signification.


López-Cano Rubén 2013. "Spanish Popular Music through Latin American eyes". En Silvia Martinez y Héctor Fouce (eds). Made in SpainLondon and New York: Routledge. Pp. 187-195.