Bolivian Protestant Evangelical music and identity in relation to Andean Amerindian indigenous music, mestizo folkloric traditions, and Bolivian national identity
Sywulka, Edward Ronald
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This thesis examines how Bolivian folkloric music has been used to negotiate various national identities through a case study of an ensemble of evangelical Bolivian musicians active in the late 1960s and 1970s. Although members identified themselves as "Bolivian" through their words, clothing, and music, they also modified that image by omitting aspects of Bolivian folklore and performing many non-Bolivian songs from Latin America and North America. Through examination of their repertoire and exegesis of personal interviews, I show how the group simultaneously sought to deepen bonds with North American evangelicals while also promoting their distinctiveness as "Bolivians." I utilize ethnomusicologist Thomas Turino's concept of the cosmopolitan cultural formation (2003b) to explain the similarity between the multi-national agenda of the group's eclectic repertoire and the trans-state appeal of Bolivian folkloric music-all of which are cosmopolitan forms of music. I begin by describing Bolivian class relations, tracing the history of rural Andean Amerindians' marginalization in urban society through the 1952 Bolivian National Revolution, when indigenous peoples received citizenship. I also examine the urban appropriation of indigenous musical practices, culminating in the Bolivian folkloric "boom" of the late 1960s and 1970s and the state's use ofthe genre to encourage inclusive nationalism among Bolivians of all races and classes. In the midst of these societal changes, Bolivian Protestants were also redefining their identity, as their numbers increased and their dependence on foreign missionaries decreased. The music examined in this thesis was one attempt at forging a unique Bolivian evangelical identity.
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