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Sílvia Martínez & Héctor Fouce (eds), Made in Spain. Studies in Popular Music

Teresa Fraile
p. 236-238
Référence(s) :

Sílvia Martínez & Héctor Fouce (eds), Made in Spain. Studies in Popular Music, New York and London, Routledge, 2013

Texte intégral

1Made in Spain. Studies in Popular Music opened the “Routledge Global Popular Music Series,” which was created with the aim of offering an updated introduction to several popular music scenes. The Spanish scene is only the first of a collection that has also examined Italy, Japan, Brazil, Turkey, France and Greece. While the reconstruction of the history of popular music in Spain has yet to be written, the fifteen articles included in this book present the characteristics of a very rich music scene throughout the 20th century. The preface by editors Silvia Martinez and Héctor Fouce highlights the negotiations related to national identity and the tension between tradition and modernity reflected in musical genres.

2The first section, “Popular Music and Challenges to National Identity,” focuses on regional identities, covering Basque radikal rock, Catalan nova cançó, flamenco and Celtic festivals. These articles confirm the notion that the development of certain musical genres is closely related to the construction of the Spanish nation on a heterogeneous sociopolitical base, composed of regions with totally different traditions, music and realities. In this vein, Enrich Folch offers a tour of the history of flamenco and its redefinition in different locations where it has come into contact with other musical genres, such as the innovations developed by the flamenco rumba. Ayats and Salicrú-Maltas describe the pressures that the proponents of the nova cançó have experienced at different historical moments. Sanchez Ekiza explains the conditioning factors that, in the 1980s, led to the crystallisation of trends linked to British punk in the Basque region, characterised by a high degree of social conflict and opposed to the hedonistic version of punk in Madrid. Campos Calvo-Sotelo argues that the construction of a symbolic Celtic community through music helped to avoid more extreme political positions in terms of separatist tendencies.

3A second group of articles, “Looking at the Past,” is devoted to those musical styles created before the advent of rock‘n’roll, whose imprint has marked the personal identity of Hispanic music in all genres to this day. The liberation of women is a particularly important issue in the article by Professor Celsa Alonso on musical theatre in the early decades of the 20th century as well as in the text authored by Sílvia Martínez, where she explains how the Spanish song [copla] has been used over the decades to express the problems of women. In addition, the internationalisation of musical genres is highlighted in the chapter by Anna Costal i Fornells, which explores the connection with Latin America and the ideological discourses shaped around Cuban dance and Catalan sardana. But the international context is particularly noticeable in Ivan Iglesias’s article on jazz under the Franco regime, which was first rejected and later used as a diplomatic tool, thus showing the changes in the regime’s international policy.

4The third part deals with the music developed since the 1960s and the negotiation processes in modern times. Isabelle Marc’s chapter is especially interesting, as it describes the way that foreign influences filled the landscape with new styles developed in the pop era and how new rhythms such as rock‘n’roll and beat were introduced through cover versions of American hits. The following studies unfold chronologically. Firstly, the work of Héctor Fouce and Fernán del Vall discusses Spain’s new image built during the Movida that somehow silenced other expressions of urban rock. Subsequently, this section includes an article by Gianni Ginesi on electronic music since the 1990s and Íñigo Sánchez Fuarros’s in-depth analysis of multiculturalism and musical fusion, which demonstrates that the integration and hybridisation of musical styles consumed by migrant communities was not as smooth as often proclaimed.

5Finally, the fourth part, entitled “Memory, Music and Image,” includes contributions on the inclusion of music in audiovisual media. The presence of popular music in films is shown as a wonderful stepping stone to activate collective memory. In the case of Songs for after a War, it specifically concerns the codification of collective identity under the Franco regime. Julio Arce’s work also draws attention to the adaptations that the various singer-actors had to accomplish in accordance with the regime’s requirements, although the author reveals that the dictatorship could not exercise strict control over audience interpretations. Eduardo Viñuela concludes this section with an analysis of music on public television, paying attention to the national representation portrayed by Eurovision, which gives a clear idea of identity negotiations produced in such a powerful form of mass media.

6A few additional sections close the volume. The first is a coda written by Rubén López Cano, a perspective with particular emphasis on the paradoxical relationship between Spain and Latin America that “oscillate[s] between the recognition of a common culture and the need to assert historical differences” (188). In fact, throughout the book, the importance of Spain’s multicultural dimension is striking, manifested in the dialogues previously reported by Sánchez Fuarros and Ana Castell. López Cano stresses that throughout the 20th century and to the present day, Latin mass phenomena have involved Spanish artists, singers and actors, which has served to introduce Spanish songs to the circuit of Cuban shows or Argentine and Mexican cinema and reinforce stereotypes associated with the rural, naive and noble Spanish character. Thus, musical processes of transnationalisation seeking to forge shared imaginaries take place. Sometimes these are not fully achieved, as in the case of transatlantic rock scenes, yet in some cases they are very successful, as with singer-songwriters and performers of romantic ballads.

7The book ends with a selected bibliography of Spanish popular music, which is very useful for researchers and enthusiasts. As a bonus track, it includes an interview with the legendary Joan Manuel Serrat, in which he is invited to look back on his contribution to Spanish popular music in a way that will undoubtedly touch on the controversy surrounding his Eurovision participation.

8Academically speaking, we sense, except in a few chapters, a continuation of the perspective imposed by Anglo-Saxon cultural studies, which provide a somewhat simplistic view and recreate the stereotypical narrative of the cultural products heavily influenced by the ideology of the Franco regime. However, there are several examples in this book of products which escaped this influence, perhaps because they were not as important in the eyes of the regime, and in which, therefore, many “modern” features are present. In short, Made in Spain not only provides us with the first comprehensive overview of Spanish popular music, but also offers the international reader a vision of Spanish music as told by indigenous researchers, which allows for the dismissal of unfounded stereotypes and a reflection on the notions of centre and periphery in academia. This is an extraordinary step towards the consolidation of popular music studies in Spain.

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Référence papier

Teresa Fraile, « Sílvia Martínez & Héctor Fouce (eds), Made in Spain. Studies in Popular Music », Volume !, 14 : 1 | 2017, 236-238.

Référence électronique

Teresa Fraile, « Sílvia Martínez & Héctor Fouce (eds), Made in Spain. Studies in Popular Music », Volume ! [En ligne], 14 : 1 | 2017, mis en ligne le 13 décembre 2017, consulté le 10 décembre 2018. URL :

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Teresa Fraile

Teresa Fraile a soutenu en 2008 sa thèse à l'Université de Salamanque sur la Musique dans le cinéma espagnol contemporain. Ses recherches portent sur l'utilisation de musique dans le cinéma et sur les musiques populaires espagnoles. Elle a publié plusieurs articles et travaux de recherche, parmi lesquels le livre Música de cine en España: señas de identidad de la banda sonora contemporánea (2010). Elle a également co-dirigé l'ouvrage La música en los medios audiovisuales (Arcibel 2012). Elle enseigne à l'Université d'Extremadura et préside la Société Espagnole d'Ethnomusicologie.

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Droits d'auteur

L'auteur & les Éd. Mélanie Seteun

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