Transformation and reaction of popular music in Argentina

Mara Favoretto

Friday 30th April, 10am-12pm

Bon Marche Studio (UTS Bldg 3, Lvl. 1, Rm 105)

Presentation: 20mins

Traditionally, Argentine tango represented the displaced, oppressed ‘other’ and challenged hegemonic discourses of nationhood. During the 70s and 80s under the constraints of censorship imposed by the military dictatorship rock nacional flourished, a movement characterized by its highly coded and allegorical use of language. After the economic, social and political crisis in Argentina in the 1990s, a result of the neo-liberal policies, a new musical sub-genre emerged: the cumbia villera. Therefore, when facing situations of crushing censorship and repression, or socio-political and financial crisis, literary devices and cultural systems react in a variety of ways that are creative, dynamic, innovative and unexpected, as if they were organisms that could evolve and adapt to a new, hostile environment. This study analyses the impact cumbia villera has had on Argentine culture by mapping the rhetorical tropes found in cumbia villera lyrics that re-semanticise traditional tango, creating a new system of meanings for Argentine language, society, gender and music, as these elements adapted to the new cultural crisis.

Dr. Mara Favoretto is a Lecturer in Hispanic Studies at the University of Melbourne where she was awarded her doctorate in 2009. Born in Argentina, she specializes in contemporary popular music and lyric response as counter discourse in cultural crisis. Her research interests include rhetorical tropes used to encode subversive messages under constrains of censorship and cultural expressions of resistance in Latin American society. She is the author of Alegoría e ironía bajo censura en la Argentina del Proceso.

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2 Responses to “Transformation and reaction of popular music in Argentina”


  1. 1 gabriela April 26, 2010 at 3:30 pm

    How can I have access to this conference? I find it particularly interesting as I have always felt there was a connection between tango and cumbia villera. I personally like rock and roll, I belong to the generation in the middle (not so old as to like tango and not so young as to enjoy cumbia)and I found that tango lyrics showed some kind of chauvinism, which I also found in cumbia villera. Mothers are sacred, women are mean or worse than that, easy. Whereas our generation has claimed for freedom, the new one comes back to the old values? I’d like to read about this.

  2. 2 Lyrics and Song May 21, 2014 at 7:38 am

    I have been browsing online more than 2 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours.

    It’s pretty worth enough for me. In my view, if all website owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the internet will be a lot more useful than ever before.


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