“Coronavirus, Por Que Llegaste a mi Tierra?” The Pandemic as Foreigner
Maldito Coronavirus! - Mapping Latin American Musical Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic - Daniel Margolies
Daniel Margolies [+]
Virginia Wesleyan University
J.A. Strub [+]
University of Texas, Austin
This chapter poses questions about topophilia, xenophobia, plague, and the fraught history of cultural encounter and interchange in the Americas as expressed in música del coronavirus. This chapter looks at how lyrics in coronavirus-themed Colombian vallenato, Mexican corrido, Cuban timba and Peruvian huaynos reflect a dualism that links regional pride to anxiety about a foreign Other. This tendency is historically contextualized by considering the experience and cultural resonance of readings of encounter since the Spanish conquista, the region’s long history as a nexus of extractive commerce, and manifestations of political paranoia during Latin America's bloody twentieth century. This chapter discusses how symbols of cultural patrimony are posited in the music as potential bulwarks against the coronavirus and how lyrical musings on cuisine and lifestyle bespeak a worldview that categorizes the pandemic as invasive and uncanny. It also acknowledges the common presence of racist and derogatory language in música del coronavirus, and contextualizes these sentiments within the cultural history of xenophobic Anti-Asian feeling in the region.