Wednesday@Noon Lecture by Patricia Vergara. Corridos Prohibidos, Musical Memory Projects

Department of Music
Wednesday@Noon Lecture   

Patricia Vergara
Assistant Professor of Music, Global Arts Studies Program, UC Merced

Corridos Prohibidos, Musical Memory Projects, and the Politics of Multiculturalism and Reconciliation in Colombia
Jonathan Ritter, coordinator

October 17, 2018
Wednesday, 12:10- 1:00 P.M.
Music Rehearsal Hall, ARTS 157
Free and open to the campus

For over sixty years, the internal war in Colombia has caused the deaths, forced displacement and disenfranchisement of millions of people. Tentative steps towards peace and reconciliation by government entities and NGOs have recently included projects for building social integration and historical memory, often through the use of musical practices. This talk interrogates the work of memory projects that tend to privilege regional musical traditions and Western classical music as vehicles for peace, while examining the interplay of truth, private memory, and public recollection within the narratives of and about corridos prohibidos – sung-stories about the many facets of the conflict that began to circulate in cassettes and CDs since the 1990s. Public discourses about the Colombian war, which, can be argued, has its roots in the historical disenfranchisement of large segments of the population and the criminalization of political dissent, have tended to deny its very existence, highlighting instead the violence derived from the drug trafficking. Corridos are thus perceived by detractors as distasteful as they bring the “public secret” (Taussig 1999) to earshot; they are often interpreted as celebratory of criminal life or, conversely, as the voice of oppressed peasants affected by the war. I propose instead that listening to and composing corridos prohibidos can work as powerful private sites of memory and to bring into being collectives of participants that engage in complex ways of narrating and remembering a violent past.

Patricia Vergara is an assistant professor of music at the University of California, Merced. She received her MA and Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from the University of Maryland, College Park, and a BM in jazz piano performance from Berklee College of Music. Addressing processes of spatial and sonic mobilities, coloniality, and neoliberalism, her book project examines the many layers of adaptation of Mexican musical styles in Colombia from the 1930s to the present, and the interrelationships between political violence, affect, memory, and belonging. Vergara is a contributor of the edited volume ¡Arriba el Norte…! Música de Acordeón y Bajo Sexto. Música Norteña Mexicana, published by Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH). She was the recipient of the 2017 Hewitt Pantaleoni Prize from the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of the Society for Ethnomusicology, and the 2014 Paper Prize form the Latin American and Caribbean Section of the Society for Ethnomusicology. A pianist and accordionist, Vergara has toured and recorded in the U.S., Europe, and Brazil, performing in a variety of Latin American music genres, jazz, and popular music styles. She serves as the 2018-2020 Director of the live performance series Arts UC Merced Presents.

Information: (951) 827-3245

• The Wednesday@Noon Series offers concerts, lectures, and presentations of academic research by Department of Music faculty, postdoctoral researchers, students, and international guest artists and scholars. Ian Dicke, coordinator.

Wednesday, October 17 at 12:10pm to 1:00pm

Arts Building, Music Rehearsal Hall, ARTS 157
Arts Building, Riverside, CA 92507

Event Type

Arts, Music & Concerts, Lectures & Presentations


Faculty & Staff, Graduate Students, Undergraduate Students, Transfer Students


Free and Open to the Campus

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