Long associated with the pejorative clichés of the drug-trafficking trade and political violence, contemporary Colombia has been unfairly stigmatized. In this pioneering study of the Miami music industry and Miami’s growing Colombian community, María Elena Cepeda boldly asserts that popular music provides an alternative common space for imagining and enacting Colombian identity. Using an interdisciplinary analysis of popular media, music, and music video, Cepeda teases out issues of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, and transnational identity in the Latino/a music industry and among its most renowned rock en español, pop, and vallenato stars.
Musical ImagiNation provides an overview of the ongoing Colombian political and economic crisis and the dynamics of Colombian immigration to metropolitan Miami. More notably, placed in this context, the book discusses the creative work and media personas of talented Colombian artists Shakira, Andrea Echeverri of Aterciopelados, and Carlos Vives. In her examination of the transnational figures and music that illuminate the recent shifts in the meanings attached to Colombian identity both in the United States and Latin America, Cepeda argues that music is a powerful arbitrator of memory and transnational identity.
"Using the lens of popular music to illuminate the aesthetics and identities of Colombian musicians and their fans within the United States, Maria Elena Cepedas Musical ImagiNation finally gives these & new Latinos, so long tainted by facile and stereotypical associations with drugs and violence, the thorough and respectful attention they deserve. A masterful and deft exposition that draws the threads of social history, media studies, transnational studies, and gender and critical discourse together." ~Deborah Pacini Hernandez,Tufts University
"Cepeda's analysis stands on its own strength, grounded in her explication of complex social contexts in which popular Colombian music is made and disseminated . . . She skillfully weaves analyses of race, gender, class, and nation and offers multiple readings of of singular texts or perfromances." ~Hui Wilcox, Ethnic and Racial Studies
"The book is a major contribution to studies of the production of Latin music in the United States and a significant intervention into debates about musical identities in an out of Columbia." ~Keith Negus, Journal of Popular Music
"A valuable contribution to Latino/a cultural studies. Cepedas book expands the traditional boundaries by focusing on Colombianos transnational identity through popular music. Cepedas sophisticated, critical, and compelling arguments locate popular music as an alternative to violence in the social imaginaries of and about Colombianos. Erudite, rigorously researched, and accessibly written." ~Frances R. Aparicio,author of Listening to Salsa