In local Argentine soccer matches one can find anywhere between two hundred to fifty thousand people chanting together, accompanied by large ensembles of percussion and brass instruments. Research on this mode of musical production has focused on the genealogy of the melodies and the discursive analysis of chant lyrics with or without an ethnographic component. However, they have left unexplored how these chants, as sign-vehicles, become meaningful beyond text and beyond genealogy. My research proposes that ethnomusicology can significantly contribute to the study of chants by exploring the specific potentials that participatory moving and sounding-in-synchrony brings into experience. I argue that public mass participatory singing allows fans to actively partake in a performative social space that establishes a non-hegemonic shared system of meaning. This system, under a logic locally known as aguante (endurance), frames locally rooted interpretations of heteronormative, patriarchal, homophobic, and sometimes violent values and actions in a positive manner, in a way that might not be voiced by single individuals.
Eduardo Herrera is Assistant Professor in Ethnomusicology and Music History at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. He specializes in contemporary musical practices from Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking Latin America. He has done historical and ethnographic research in topics including Argentinean and Uruguayan avant-garde music, soccer chants as participatory music making, and music and postcoloniality in Latin America. Herrera is currently working on a book titled Elite Art Worlds: Philanthropy, Latin Americanism, and Avant-Garde Music. In this work, Herrera explores the history of the Centro Latinoamericano de Altos Estudios Musicales (1962–1971) as a meeting point for local and transnational philanthropy, the framing of pan-regional discourses of Latin Americanism, and the aesthetics and desires of high modernity. Also forthcoming from Herrera is a co-edited volume with Alejandro Madrid and Ana Alonso-Minutti titled Experimentalisms in Practice: Music Perspectives from Latin America. This volume discusses a wide variety of artistic and musical traditions from Latin America, the Caribbean, and Latinos/as in the United States, conceived and/or perceived as experimental.
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