Abstract: DR. JOSHUA TUCKER, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, was awarded funding in April 2013 to aid research on 'Andean Sounds, Indian Selves: Music, Media, and Indigenous Experience in Highland Peru.' Funding supported research in Ayacucho, Peru, on the circulation of Andean popular music and its connection to transnational debates over indigenous identity. Focusing on a Quechua-language genre called chimaycha, this work shows how local activists tied to the global indigenous movement compete with agents of the popular cultural industry to define certain kinds of songs and performers as the true voices of contemporary indigenous Peru. This scene pits traditionalists, who seek to preserve esthetic distinctiveness and thereby claim the rights accorded to bearers of 'deep difference,' against 'modernists.' The latter instead follow inherited expectations that indigenous performers sing songs of personal experience, meaning that their non-traditional songs treat the decidedly modern problems of labor migrants in the urban milieu. By following musicians, luthiers, broadcasters, and listeners as they create, circulate, consume, and debate the value of chimaycha, this research shows how they stage a debate between differing commitments to indigeneity without entirely exhausting the 'truth' of either position. Indeed, far from threatening the perdurance of indigenous identification, these debates challenge a dominant narrative in vogue among nationalist ideologues, according to which salutary forms of cultural mixture are inexorably whittling away Andean commitments to indigenous difference and self-determination.
Tucker, Joshua. 2013. Gentleman Troubadours and Andean Pop Stars