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Musica Nortena: Mexican Migrants Creating a Nation Between Nations (Studies In Latin America & Car) Paperback – May 28, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Temple University Press (May 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592137474
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592137473
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,593,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Ragland’s ethnomusicological approach to música norteña's evolution and its contemporary relevance, brings the topic to life. The music is clearly a prism to examining a broad swath of social, political, economic, cultural, and communications issues. Her musical analysis is fresh, rare, and valuable.”—Daniel Sheehy, Director and Curator, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings

Book Description

Música norteña, a musical genre with its roots in the folk ballad traditions of Northern Mexico and the Texas-Mexican border region, has become a hugely popular musical style in the U.S., particularly among Mexican immigrants. Featuring evocative songs about undocumented border-crossers, drug traffickers, and the plight of immigrant workers, música norteña has become the music of a “nation between nations.” Música Norteña is the first definitive history of this transnational music that has found enormous commercial success in norteamérica.

 

Cathy Ragland, an ethnomusicologist and former music critic, serves up the fascinating fifty-year story of música norteña, enlivened by interviews with important musicians and her own first-hand observations of live musical performances. Beyond calling our attention to musical influences, Ragland shows readers the social and economic forces at work behind the music. By comparing música norteña with other popular musical forms, including conjunto tejano, she helps us understand and appreciate the musical ties that bind the Mexican diaspora.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By noguri on March 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you can't tell the difference between Tejano music and Nortena, you will know the difference by the end of this book. The author really spells out the difference and explains it in terms clear enough for non-musicians like me. The high point of the book is when the author walks us through a comparison of the same corrido as performed and recorded by Ramon Ayala y sus Bravos del Norte (Nortenos!) and by Los Dos Gilbertos (Tejanos!).

Overall, the theme of Tejano versus Norteno structures the book. The author gives a solid social history of how the two music styles developed side-by-side, as parallel styles but representing distinct social allegiances. This analytic framework makes for a very coherent study of popular culture as a reflection of identity and political position. This seems like a Gramsci-inspired study of "style wars" in popular culture, waged between the followers of Tejano music and the followers of Nortena. However, the author never mentions Gramsci nor Stuart Hall for that matter.

The upshot of the book is that Nortena wins--the biggest fan base, the most bands, and the widest network of listeners on both sides of the border. The author's data is mostly limited to interviews with musicians, fans, composers, music promoters, record company execs, and other music insiders, but she nevertheless does deliver solid analysis of the cultural and social dimensions of international migration that enabled nortena to oust tejano.

On the downside, the author could have (should have?) discussed some of the other aspects of the style wars, such as dance styles (quebradita vs duranguense?) and clothing styles (cholo vs vaquero?) which would have made her social analysis pack more punch.
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By John Donovan on June 26, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
The previous reviewer is far better informed than I, but as a nordamericano lover of Nortena music I found it hard to put the book down. The author weaves historical social, political, and economic threads into a compelling and very readable narrative;they're ones you certainly didn't learn in school. Having read the book I have a far better understanding and appreciation of cross-border culture and music. Highly recommended.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Samuel gutierrez on September 30, 2014
Format: Paperback
Everything was as advertised. Good service
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Musica Nortena: Mexican Migrants Creating a Nation Between Nations (Studies In Latin America & Car)
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