Memory and History in Argentine Popular Music examines Argentine popular music of the 1990s and early 2000s that denounced, immortalized, and reflected on the processes that led to the socioeconomic crisis that shook Argentine society at the end of 2001. It draws upon the three most popular genres of the time—tango, rock chabón, and cumbia villera, a form of cumbia from the shantytowns. The book analyzes lyrics from these three genres detailing how they capture the feel of daily life and the changes that occurred under the neoliberal economic model that ravaged the country throughout the ‘90s. The contention is that these are canciones con historia, songs that depict historical events and tell personal stories. Therefore, the lyrics from all three genres serve as accounts of historical events and social and economic changes, denouncing the social inequalities caused by neoliberal economic policies. Furthermore, the book explores how the process of remembering and forgetting takes place on the Internet. It examines how users navigate video-sharing portals and use music to create “virtual sites of memory,” a term that extends Winter’s conception of physical sites of memory to digital environments as virtual sites of commemoration.
Delia Pamela Fuentes Korban is in the Michele Bowman Underwood Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at the University of Miami.
Chapter 1 Canciones con historia: Popular Music as a Place of Memory
Chapter 2 Songs of Belligerence and the Erosion of the Political System
Chapter 3 The Yearning for a Worker Identity Through Popular Music
Chapter 4 Popular Music Against Globalization
Chapter 5 ¿Te acordás? Popular Music and Collective Memory
Chapter 6 Remembering on the Internet
A fascinating study of the reception and meaning of popular music in the wake of large-scale political and economic upheaval, Delia Pamela Fuentes Korban’s Memory and History in Argentine Popular Music shows how diverse groups of listeners use music to remember and make sense of their individual and collective lives. Theorizing popular music as a polyvalent ‘place of memory’ and locating her discussion in the details of Argentine culture, politics, and history in the years straddling the devastating economic crisis of December, 2001, Fuentes Korban both updates and expands the scope of memory studies in Argentina in compelling and productive ways.
Memory and History in Argentine Popular Music forms a much-needed update and expansion of earlier studies. Where Vila and others told the story of the Argentine people in the authoritarian ‘70s and ‘80s, Memory and History carries that work forward to document the history of the country though the social genocide of the neoliberal ‘90s. Furthermore, Fuentes Korban’s thorough ethnographic interviews and insightful analysis of lyrics of tango, rock chabón and cumbia villera reveal that era’s canciones con historia as repositories of collective memory that help make sense of the Argentine experience.