New generations, older bodies: danzón, age and ‘cultural
rescue’ in the Port of Veracruz, Mexico
[in special issue: As Time Goes By: Music, Dance and Ageing]
Popular Music, 31, (2), . (doi:10.1017/S0261143012000062).
- Version of Record
Understandings and discourses about age have tended to be instrumental to popular music in terms of production, promotion and consumption, and many studies of popular music have taken younger people, and especially ‘youth’ cultures, as their subject matter. Where older people have been considered, the focus has mostly been retrospective, that is on their experiences when young and their attitudes to contemporary ‘youth’ cultures, rather than relationships between the temporal dimension of the life course and music. As the case of danzón illustrates, stereotypes that older people are resistant to novelty, change and possibility are ill founded. Moreover, where age is used to justify rescuing ‘cultural traditions’, caution may be called for and analysis required to assess what lies behind such claims and why. In Veracruz, the older age of the majority of danzón performers is evoked to ‘authenticate’ this local ‘tradition’, and justify its ‘rescue’ and promotion by Veracruz's culture industries. Yet, older people are not considered repositories of ‘tradition’ or sought out as ‘authentic’ practitioners. Instead, many older performers are new to danzón.
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