Music and Sound in the Pandemic Moment

¡Maldito Coronavirus! - Mapping Latin American Musical Responses to the Pandemic Moment - Daniel S. Margolies

Daniel S. Margolies [+-]
Virginia Wesleyan University (Emeritus) and Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center
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Daniel S. Margolies is Director of Strategic Initiatives, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, San Antonio, Texas, and Emeritus Professor at Virginia Wesleyan University. He is the author of Henry Watterson and the New South: The Politics of Empire, Free Trade, and Globalization (University Press of Kentucky, 2006) and Spaces of Law in American Foreign Relations: Extradition and Extraterritoriality in the Borderlands and Beyond, 1877-1898 (University of Georgia Press, 2011); editor of Companion to Harry S. Truman (Wiley-Blackwell, 2012) and co-editor (with Umut Özsu, Maïa Pal, and Ntina Tzouvala) of The Extraterritoriality of Law: History, Theory, Politics (Politics of Transnational Law) (Routledge, 2019). Margolies has written numerous history articles on a wide array of subjects as well as interdisciplinary studies of Mexican migrant music and articles and essays on cultural sustainability and other aspects of Texas-Mexican conjunto music. His article “Latino Migrant Music and Identity in the Borderlands of the New South,” was awarded the 2010 Carl Bode Award for Outstanding Article in the Journal of American Culture in 2009 by the American Culture Association. Margolies has been a Fulbright Senior Scholar at Sogang University in Seoul, Korea, a Faculty Fellow at the American Center for Mongolian Studies in Ulaanbaatar, and twice a Visiting Scholar at the Center for the Study of Law and Society at the University of California-Berkeley. He is founder and Artistic Director of the Festival of Texas Fiddling, which features son huasteco and Tejano music, and is an advising consultant to the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center for the annual Tejano Conjunto Festival in San Antonio. More information is at
J.A. Strub [+-]
University of Texas, Austin
J.A. Strub is a dissertator in ethnomusicology at the University of Texas at Austin. His research focuses on questions of community pedagogy and participatory culture in música huasteca. J.A's writings on music, foodways, urban studies and participatory democracy have been featured in the Atlantic, CityLab, the Nation, Edible Queens, Democracy Journal, StarChefs Magazine, and publications by the Roosevelt Institute, the Russel Sage Foundation, and the Walt Whitman Forum on Culture. He has presented at various conferences including the Fourth International Conference on Participatory Budgeting, Frontiers of Democracy 2016, El 13ro Encuentro de Son Jarocho, Son Huasteco, Huapango, Fandango, y Trovada, and the virtual Sounds of the Pandemic Conference. Strub has been awarded grants by the Rainwater Foundation, the Bruno Salazar Network, the William H. Macaulay Opportunities Fund, and the Goldsmith Foundation. He is a development consultant for Mexico Beyond Mariachi, a teaching arts and traditional music research organization based in New York City, and is the founder of the Foro de Cultura Huapanguera en Texas, a showcase of huapango music, regional gastronomy, and scholarship on the culture of migration. Strub is an avid listener and active performer of traditional and vernacular Latin American musics, including son jarocho, son huasteco, vallenato, salsa and timba.


The coronavirus moment is a global crisis experienced, interpreted and confronted in locally- contingent, idiosyncratic, and often virtual ways. The covid pandemic necessitated a mass reduction in human movement and direct interaction, but a diverse cultural life nevertheless has flourished in new ways, many of them presented and experienced online. The inspired, tremendous outpouring of musical responses to the Coronavirus pandemic from Latin American artists addresses similar themes through distinct cultural lenses informed by local histories, affects, and artistic conventions. This introduction considers the challenges and opportunities of the singular covid music moment for Latin American musicians in different regional contexts. It connects the book’s overall study of the region’s musical response with other new research into covid-era individual and community music making, social media technologies, and an array of other new scholarship on the impact of the coronavirus on music, musicians, listeners, and the soundscape. The introduction spatially and culturally maps over 1,600 musical responses to coronavirus from across Latin America collected by the authors, noting points of similarity as well as divergence among the examples and building a conceptual framework for their analysis built around theories of music and wellbeing, diasporic music, Do-it-Yourself (DIY) archiving, ethnopoetics, locality and musical mobility, and sustainable regional music cultures. The introduction presents and contextualizes stylistic, lyrical, and productional diversity of these responses. It explains the thematic connections and interdisciplinary framing of each of book’s chapters, each of which is oriented around a specific theme built on regional music case studies. The introduction concludes with a description of fieldwork and digital ethnography in the time of social distancing and considers ethics, privacy, and ownership in contemporary digital research. Building on the raft of studies of virtual and hybrid ethnography over the past two decades, this book argues that the unprecedented ubiquity and penetration of social media in daily life during the pandemic necessitates a renewed understanding of what it means to make and listen to music as an inescapable aspect of digitally-mediated life. The chapter concludes with a discussion of YouTube, the primary site of the initial research in this project, as a platform that is designed to be simultaneously participatory and stratified and which has emerged as a critical, participatory, DIY archive of regional musical life across Latin America during the pandemic.

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Margolies, Daniel; Strub, J.A.. Music and Sound in the Pandemic Moment. ¡Maldito Coronavirus! - Mapping Latin American Musical Responses to the Pandemic Moment. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Mar 2024. ISBN 9781800503977. Date accessed: 31 Mar 2023 doi: 10.1558/equinox.43035. Mar 2024

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