This course focuses on the musical genres and styles (both traditional and popular) that have grown up around the accordion in the New World. We will begin our explorations in Nova Scotia and move toward the Midwest, travelling though the polka belt. From there, our investigation turns toward Louisiana and Texas--toward zydeco, Cajun, and Tex-Mex music. We will then work our way through Central and South America, considering norteno, cumbia, vallenato, tango, chamame, and forro. Our journey will include in the Caribbean, where we will spend some time thinking about merengue and rake-n-scrape music. Throughout the semester, the musical case studies will be matched by readings and films that afford ample opportunity to think about the ways that music is bound up in ethnicity, identity, and class. We will also have occasion to thinkabout the accordian as a multiply meaningful instrument that continues to be incorporated into debates over cultural politics and mobilized as part of strategies of representation through the New World.
In a two-part post, the Penn Gazette Arts and Culture blog features music listening suggestions from various staff and faculty at the Music Department. Both Part 1 and Part 2 highlight some new and interesting summer listening suggestions.