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Scruggs, "Let's Enjoy As Nicaraguans"

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Esther Zapata

on 30 April 2014

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Transcript of Scruggs, "Let's Enjoy As Nicaraguans"

Scruggs, "Let's Enjoy As Nicaraguans"
Nicaragua Quick Facts
AREA: 50,193 sq m
POPULATION: 4 million +
Migrants to city do not maintain cultural continuity.
"Let's Enjoy As Nicaraguans"
The Use of Music on the Construction of the Nicaraguan National Consciousness
T.M. Scruggs
Music in the Construction of Nicaragua National Consciousness
Miskitu lyrics, Creole music & Mestizo audience represented the unification of a musical trend

By 1990s all cultural organization promoting exposure to different music had ceased activity largely due to Americanization

Almost all Palo de Mayo groups have disbanded

Regions beyond core were ignored by government
"El Marimbero Gringo"
Cultural Isolation
Low level of economic development led to social and cultural isolation of the majority of the western half.
Isolation further added by topographical and ecological variations of the country
The Active Middle
Beginning of unsystematic and highly personalized investigations into peasant culture and pre-European Nicaraguan culture.
Camilo Zapata
Starts one of first radio stations
Expands operations to include recording studio and record label
Media and Mediation
Late 1940's
Radio takes over and helps create a market for local music products.
Helps with the dissemination and acceptance of Son Nica across national territory.

"No history of people from any given part of the country having reproduced forms of their expressive traditions beyond isolated, individual retentions, once they relocated".
Costumbrista - use of local customs
Vanguardia - literally and intellectual movement
Never resulted in an inclusion of regional cultural traits.
Misleading information about the true cultural aspects of the entire Nicaragua country while ignoring the east coast.
The Center Invents Itself
Middle class power center promoted musical forms drawn from their own area
National Influences:
Mexican - ranchera and mariachi
Cuban - guarachas and boleros
Anglo North American - popular
Use of traditional folk expression to create popular music style
Set out to create musical style to differentiate Nicaraguan guitar-accompanied song from the Mexican styles
Creation of the Son Nica - borrowed from the marimba de arco trio
Provided accompaniment for the principal folk dance - Masaya
Participants promote "baile de la marimba"

Strumming pattern of the string instruments - the reverse of the waltz
Almost entirely in major keys with very little use of minor chords
Many include a quick repetition of words in passages of compressed rhythmic activity
use of localized topics and Nicaraguan vernacular Spanish
Enter the North
Salvador Cardenal Arguello
Early 1960's
Records publicly performed ceremonial music to have public discover music unique to Nicaragua and beyond local.
Little communication between the mountainous north and central regions, and the major cities in the south.
Northern Music:
Purely instrumental
Dual guitar setting: one carries harmonized lead, second is chordal accompaniment
Derived from European dances: Mazurka

La Perra Renca
Carlos Mejia Godoy
singer, song writer - 1960s
Mixed live music with local stories and verbal folklore
Embedded northern music into the national consciousness
Introduction of a choreographed representation of Mazurka dancing into repertoire of Managuan folklore troupe created greater awareness and acceptance of northern culture
Common Musical Foundation
Traits of northern music close enough to Son Nica to facilitate acceptance as a genuine Nica
The Atlantic Coast
Embracing music from eastern Atlantic Coast was more difficult.
Only when US forced British withdrawal did "reincorporation" begin
Three major population groups:
Spanish Mestizo migrants
The Miskitu
Entirely remote to Pacific Coast
No one had previously documented their music
Developed over centuries of European contact
Exotic sounds of kitars and arasnapats
Unintelligible to Spanish speakers
Palo de Mayo in Managua
Arguello's catalog became most comprehensive sound documentation of Nica music.

Afro-Nicaraguan Creoles gain limited commercial musical success.
Slow tempo with syncopated rhythmic accompaniment and major tonality.

Banjo, ass's jaw, wash pan bass, scraper, guitar and accordion.

Reflects cultural links with Creoles and other English-speaking Caribbean cultures

Integrates elements of Jamaican Mento

Increased tempos and substitutes banjo, washtub bass and accordion with popular music instrumentation of trap drums, horns and electric instruments including electric bass, guitar and organ.

Tied with overly sexual dance and denounced by many Creoles.
Luis Felipe Andino
In 1976, producer was prompted to record a full-length album of the popular band "Los Barbaros del Ritmo" titled "Palo de Mayo".

Title was chosen to identify product to its target audience - urban Mestizo youth.

Identified youth as the main audience for dance and music.
"The splendid palo de mayo has arrived.
They're dancing it in the university,
In the countryside and all the parties"
"And let's dance, let's dance,
This rhythm so pinolero,
Let's enjoy it as Nicaraguans,
Our unequaled palo de mayo."
Toward a Multiethnic Nation
Triumph of the Sadista Popular Revolution in 1979.

Stance called for an expanded and reworked definition of what constitutes the nation.

Embraced all of the peoples within the borders.

Dance troupes added representation of northern regional, Miskitu and Palo de Mayo to repertoire.

Students asked to spread literacy and "document" folk music and customs
ENIGRAC's priority is to record politically engaged music and traditional folk music

Central tenet was to develop closer relationships between both coasts -
Godoy's Influence
Otta de la Rocha's
Wrote and performed Mitsiku songs directed at Mestizo audiences

So popular he toured Western and Eastern Europe as much as Nicaragua's Pacific Coast
"Sirpiki Mayram"
Became a national hit

Creole accented Miskitu song with mento songs in rest of album

Became a stable, along with other Miskitu songs that Creole groups adapted to Palo de Mayo style to symbolize multicultural Nicaragua
by Alejandro Garcia
T.M Scruggs' Inspired Discussion
1) In the article, Scruggs notes that "distinct musical forms and styles linked remote population groups and generated a musical common bond" What similarities/differentials do you find in the musical makeup on the US?

2) "Music defined the way in which Nicaraguans still perceive their country today" Does this apply to any other countries? How so?

3) Is the dissolution of Nica music in comparison reflective of American pop music and our current trends?
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