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Title:Folklorization and Afro-Ecuadorian music in Esmeraldas: discourses of vergüenza and projects of revalorización
Author(s):Wellington, Peter
Advisor(s):Turino, Thomas R.
Department / Program:Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:This thesis is a study of the folklorization process in the northwestern coastal region of Esmeraldas, Ecuador in relation to music of the marimba and other styles performed by people of African descent. In order to contextualize contemporary folkloric groups in Esmeraldas City, I look at the ways socio-political histories, migration, urban development, and nationalism are all involved in transformations of musical performance practices. Around the middle of the 20th century, large projects involving infrastructural development sought to take advantage of the region’s attractive climate for tourism and plentiful natural resources, especially oil. With this came new migration from the highlands and a change in the social landscape that exacerbated economic and social class differences. Most pertinent to this thesis, such socio-economic class differences were manifested in performances of Afro-Esmeraldeño music. The marimba and its accompanying instruments became associated with the lower class, causing some people to disassociate themselves with the music in order to gain more upward mobility. Today there is a concern for continued sentiments that associate Afro-Esmeraldeño music with the lower class. Older folkloric musicians speak of vergüenza (shame) among the youth and frame their performances within in a discourse of revalorización (revalorization) that seeks to instill a sense of value for the music within the youth. There are various implicit and explicit ways in which revalorización is carried out, so one goal of this thesis is to allow the reader see connections between them. Though several folkloric groups are discussed throughout the thesis, there is discussion of three in particular in the last chapter that provides the bulk of the ethnographic research carried out for this project. Videos are available for the reader here:, and throughout the thesis; they are used to demonstrate how these folkloric groups perform identity both explicitly and implicitly.
Issue Date:2013-02-03
Rights Information:Copyright 2012 Peter Wellington
Date Available in IDEALS:2013-02-03
Date Deposited:2012-12

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