“Women’s Presence in Contemporary Scenes of Mexican Son”

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206 Ingraham Hall | Virtual
@ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

Dr. Raquel Paraiso

Presented by Dr. Raquel Paraiso, Researcher, and Musician

About the presentation: Traditional music in Mexico –once nearly the exclusive domain of men– is no longer what it was when rowdy characters reveled in fiestas or cantinas ¬off limits to any self-respecting woman. Over the last two decades, women and girls have claimed their place in Mexican son scenes as they have elsewhere and have become central figures where music is played throughout Mexico. This shift reflects a changing world in which women’s presence is key in spaces where music is played and culture is created and consumed: cultural centers, music schools, festivals, and communal celebrations such as fandangos and huapangos. How did this happen? The presence of women playing key roles in son across Mexico reflects wider economic, social, and political trends and is reflected in the sonic and affective landscape of these scenes. I explore these issues across three regional styles of son, analyzing the role of women within the revival movements that have been key in sustaining and transforming the cultural knowledge held within traditional musical practice.

About the presenter: Raquel Paraíso, a researcher, musician, and educator earned a B.A. in violin performance from the Conservatory of Music in Salamanca, Spain. She holds a Master’s in Violin Performance, a Master’s in Ethnomusicology, and a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her areas of interest focus on cultural politics of music and music production of place, identity, and ethnicity in Latin American music at large and Mexican music, in particular. Her current research in Mexican traditional music examines issues of symbolism, embodiment, and sound in contemporary gendered, globalized, and transnational scenarios. Her research and field recordings have been published by Oxford University Press, Cambridge Scholars, and Penguin Random House, as well as El Colegio de Michoacán, the National Institute of Anthropology (INAH) and Revista de Literaturas Populares (UNAM). She has presented her work at numerous national and international academic conferences for both academic audience and the general public. In her serie of podcast Músicos tradicionales de México/Traditional musicians from México (Spotify & Raquel’s YouTube channel), Raquel explores new ways to talk about music and musicians while experimenting with expressive ways to write about the topic. Versatile as a musician and scholar, she teaches violin at CIMI-Universidad Veracruzana, and is actively involved with the practice and performance of Latin American music with the group Sotavento, recepient of a FONCA-SACPC (2021-2023) grant from the Secretary of Culture of Mexico for their composition project El viaje de Papalotl, Mexican traditional music for children of all ages.