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Lesson

Race, Mestizaje, and Music

Estoy Aquí: Music of the Chicano Movement / Race, Mestizaje, and Music

During the 1940s and 1950s, America was very much a “black” and “white” world. Mexican Americans were witnessing the way in which African Americans were being treated and thought adopting a white identity might protect them against racism and discrimination and provide them a better chance to achieve the “American Dream”. As the 1960s began, more and more Mexican Americans started to question this assimilationist point of view and wanted to embrace/celebrate their “brownness” (mestizaje). In this lesson, you will explore the ways in which Chicana/o musicians have used music elements, figurative language, symbolism, and imagery to explore their racial and cultural identity. You will also have the chance to make music “in the style of” son jarocho (a unique blend of Spanish, Indigenous, and African influences).

Lesson Components & Learning Objectives

  1. Challenging Assimilation and “Whiteness”

    • Explain why many Mexican Americans wanted to assimilate into “American” culture by “claiming whiteness” during the 1940s & 1950s.
    • Approx. 20+ minutes
  2. Embracing Indigeneity and Mestizaje

    • Describe the ways in which Chicana/o writers, artists, poets, and musicians have engaged with the concept of mestizaje through figurative language, musical sounds and expressive qualities, symbolism, and imagery.
    • 25+ minutes
  3. Son Jarocho: Musical Mestizaje

    • Perform a zapateado dance step and explore stylistic characteristics of son jarocho through performance.
    • 30+ minutes

More +
Less -

Bibliography

Text

Azcona, E. C. (2005). Rolas de Aztlán: Songs of the Chicano movement [Liner notes]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Foley, N. (1997). Becoming Hispanic: Mexican Americans and the Faustian pact with whiteness. New Directions in Mexican American Studies, 1, 53–70.

Grunewald, J. (n.d.). The fandango in son jarocho: The community tradition and improvisation of son jarocho [Lesson plan]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Levy, D., & Azcona, E. C. (2010). Global encounters: Music of Mexico [Curriculum document]. Carnegie Hall's Weill Music Institute in collaboration with New York City's Administration for Children's Services.

Loza, S. (2019). Barrio harmonics: Essays on Chicano/Latino music. UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center Press.

Montoya, M. (2016). The Chicano movement for beginners. For Beginner Books.

Rosales, F. A. (1996). Chicano! The history of the Mexican American civil rights movement. Arte Publico Press.

Sheehy, D. (2003). La Bamba: Sones jarochos from Veracruz [Liner notes]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Sheehy, D. (2009). Son de mi tierra [Liner notes]. Washington DC: Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Sheehy, D. (2018). ¡Fandango! Sones jarochos de Veracruz por Grupo Mono Blanco [Liner notes]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Soto, A. C. (n.d.). Son jarocho from Veracruz: Exploration of music and dance forms [Lesson plan]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Stavans, I. (2010). The United States of mestizo. Humanities: The Magazine of the National Endowment for the Arts, 31(5). National Endowment of the Humanities.

Audio*

Trio Casindio (2005). Lulac cadillac [Song]. On Rolas de Aztlán: Songs of the Chicano movement [Album]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Valdez, D. (2005). América de los Indios [Song]. On Rolas de Aztlán: Songs of the Chicano movement [Album]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Los Peludos (2005). El quinto sol [Song]. On Rolas de Aztlán: Songs of the Chicano movement [Album]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Son de Madera (2009). Siquisiri [Song]. On Son de mi tierra [Album]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Son de Madera (2009). Toro zacamandu [Song]. On Son de mi tierra [Album]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Los Lobos del Este de Los Angeles (2005). El tilingo lingo [Song]. On Rolas de Aztlán: Songs of the Chicano movement [Album]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Smithsonian American Art Museum (2013). Our America audio podcast: Amado M. Pena, jr., ‘mestizo’ [Audio podcast]. YouTube.

Video*

Grupo Mono Blanco (2018). Toro zacamandú (the zacamandú bull) [Video]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Son de Madera (2009). Son de Madera performs son jarocho [Video]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Images*

Peña Jr., A. (1974). Mestizo [Screenprint on paper]. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Gift of Amado M. Peña, Sr. and Maria Peña, 1996.47.5.

Baca, Walter R. (1992). Orale ese vato [Ink and pen on cotton]. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Gift of Rudy Padilla, 1993.0150.02.

Unknown maker (n.d.). Welcome to America [Sign]. Photograph uploaded by Wikimedia user CGPgrey, 2009. www.CGPGrey.com. In Wikimedia Commons.

Helguera, L. (ca. 1942) Americans all: Let’s fight for victory/Americanos todos: Luchamos por la victoria [Poster]. National Archives, DC., NAID513803.

Hess, J. (1982). Jose Montoya and the panel 'artistic expressions in the barrio' [Photograph]. In Tomás Ybarra-Frausto research material on Chicano art, 1965-2004. Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC., 1754.

League of United Latin American Citizens, Lulac (2006). Justice & dignity for all US immigrants [Poster]. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC., 2006.0106.17. .

Cadillac Division of GM (ca. 1950s). 1956 Cadillac Sedan Deville [Ad]. In Wikimedia commons.

Castillo, O. (1972, printed 2012). ’47 Chevy in Wilmington, California [Inkjet print]. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Purchase through the Luisita L. and Franz H. Denghausen Endowment, 2013.51.2.

Ponce, K. (ca. 2014). Pacoima mural memorial [Mural]. In PublicDomainPictures.net. Photograph by Circe Denver.

Jones, A. (2012). No dogs, negroes, Mexicans. [Sign]. In Wikimedia Commons. Originally displayed at the National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, TN.

Leffler, W. K. (1963). Civil rights march on Wash[ington], DC. [Photograph]. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Washington, DC, ppmsca.03130. In Wikipedia.

García, R. (1970). Ruben Salazar memorial group show [Screenprint on paper]. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, NPG.2017.27.

Unknown Tlaxcalan artists (ca. 1550). The meeting of Cortes and Moctezuma II, with Malinche acting as interpreter [Facsimile]. Facsimile published c. 1890. Bancroft Library, Berkley, CA. In Wikipedia.

Charlot, Jean (1933). La Malinche [Lithograph]. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC., GA.23401.

Ramos Martínez, A. (ca. 1940) La Malinche (Young girl of Yalala, Oaxaca) [Oil on canvas]. In Wikimedia Commons. Uploaded by Wikimedia user Hiart.

Martinez, E. (1967). Farm workers’ altar [Altarpiece, acrylic on mahogany and plywood]. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Gift of the International Bank of Commerce in honor of Antonio R. Sanchez, Sr., 1992.95.

Unknown artist (ca. 1970s). Corky Gonzales [Photograph]. Denver Public Library Special Collections, Denver, CO, Z-8826.

Cooley Design Lab (2018). ¡Fandango! Sones jarochos de Veracruz por Grupo Mono Blanco [Cover art]. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, DC. Photograph by Daniel Sheehy, SFW40575.

Cooley Design Lab (2009). Map of Mexico [Cartography]. Son de mi tierra, by Son de Madera [Liner notes], p. 7. Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, Washington, DC, SFW40550.

Rodríguez Juárez, J. (ca. 1715). De mulato y mestiza [Oil on canvas]. In Wikimedia Commons. Uploaded by Wikimedia user Xochiztli.

Sanchez Soto, L. (2014). Representación del chuchumbé en un fandango, Veracruz, México.[Photograph]. In Wikimedia Commons.

Strachwitz, C. (n.d.) Son jarocho instrumentation [Photograph]. In Soneros jarochos, by Grupo Mono Blanco [Liner notes], 2006, p. 2. Arhoolie Records, El Cerrito, CA., ARH00530.

Sheehy, D. (n.d.). Arpa veracruzana. [Photograph]. Featuring Smithsonian Folkways artist Felipé Ochoa.

Sheehy, D. (n.d.). Requinto jarocho. [Photograph]. Featuring musician Claudio Vega.

Sheehy, D. (n.d.). Jarana jarocha. [Photograph]. Featuring musician Chava Peña.

Unknown artist (ca. 1500s). Quetzalcoatl [Aztec codex]. In Wikimedia Commons. Uploaded by Wikimedia user El Comandante.

Laubrau (n.d.) Quijada [Photograph]. In Wikimedia Commons.

Unknown artist (ca. 2000). Pair of dancing shoes, zapateados [Photograph]. National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Gift of Martha González.

Souza, P. (2009). Los Lobos at the White House [Photograph]. In Wikimedia Commons.

*Audio, video, and images listed in order of appearance in slideshow