Epitomising the Modern Spanish Nation through Popular Music: Coplas from La Caramba to Concha Piquer, 1750–1990


Carbayo Abengozar, Mercedes (2007) Epitomising the Modern Spanish Nation through Popular Music: Coplas from La Caramba to Concha Piquer, 1750–1990. Gender and History, 19 (3). pp. 419-441. ISSN 0953-5233

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Abstract

Music is an important language of the emotions and can often arouse strong passions in its performance and representation, both from the individual's perspective of personal identity and for the individual's sense of identity and of belonging to a given community. Likewise, music can serve to whip up and reinforce nationalism and national chauvinism against the ‘other’ as well as serving as a badge of identity. In this article I explore a musical form, a song that has been defined as ‘Spanish’ and as the ‘national’ song: la copla. Copla is rooted in the past and first appeared as both a poetic and a theatrical form, but always accompanied by music. It was, however, during the eighteenth century, when nationalism made its appearance as a ‘concern’ in the Spanish political-cultural arena, when coplas would be used as a mark of Spanish identity. Copla is a women's song. Although it has been interpreted by men, some of them internationally renowned like Miguel de Molina, the most famous performers have been and still are women. That is why perhaps a recurrent theme of coplas is unrequited love, whereby love and passion play an important role, either with regard to the individual or the community from which the individual hails. But there are also other themes such as the longing stimulated by alien rule, which is reflected by cultural opposition and resistance to discourses of power, not only in terms of open opposition, but in a more subtle form of resistance, particularly in gender terms. I claim that it is precisely this resistance to fixed discourses of gender that have made coplas excellent negotiators with the different musical, social and political contexts and in this way have made them an icon of the invented tradition that is fundamental in the creation of a nation.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the postprint version of the published article, which is available at Carbayo Abengózar, M. (2007), Epitomising the Modern Spanish Nation through Popular Music: Coplas from La Caramba to Concha Piquer, 1750–1990. Gender & History, 19: 419–440. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0424.2007.00494.x
Keywords: popular music; gender; identity; community; Coplas; La Caramba; Concha Piquer; 1750–1990;
Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts,Celtic Studies and Philosophy > School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures > Spanish
Item ID: 6345
Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1468-0424.2007.00494.x
Depositing User: Mercedes Carbayo-Abengozar
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2015 16:14
Journal or Publication Title: Gender and History
Publisher: Blackwell
Refereed: Yes
URI:

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