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Ethnomusicology: Chicano Music

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The influence of Mexican culture in the United States has, since the onset of the twentieth century, grown rapidly. The socioeconomic and political consequences that followed Mexico's independence from Spain and the US annexation of the Southwest, including California and Texas, created a distinct dynamic between historically settled Mexicans in this region and newly established Anglo-American populations. After decades of cultural and political conflict and an inevitable assimilation of Mexican and American cultures gave rise to a distinct era of heightened political, cultural and social activism: The Chicano movement. This movement, ignited by the post World War II African American civil rights unrest, saw the burgeoning of Chicano cultural expression. Chicano music, reformed and renewed, rose as a dominant expressive force, a consequence of the intermixing of American and Mexican populations. The Chicano movement and its energized sense of cultural pride gave way to a distinct renaissance in musical expression, highlighting both the birth of new bi-cultural styles and ensembles ranging from Tejana orquesta and conjunto to Chicano rock and jazz among others, and a renewed sense of Mexican culture, heritage and musical tradition. In its essence, the music that emerged during this period reflected directly the political, cultural and economic struggles of Mexican-American peoples. Whereas the newfound ethnic zeal and cultural pride manifested itself in more traditional Mexican music from older ...

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