Alex E. ChávezOct 21, 2021
Sounds of Crossing
Music, Migration, and the Aural Poetics of Huapango Arribeño
Duke University Press 2017
In Sounds of Crossing: Music, Migration, and the Aural Poetics of Huapango Arribeño (Duke UP, 2017), Alex E. Chávez explores the contemporary politics of Mexican migrant cultural expression manifest in the sounds and poetics of huapango arribeño, a musical genre originating from north-central Mexico. Following the resonance of huapango's improvisational performance within the lives of audiences, musicians, and himself—from New Year's festivities in the highlands of Guanajuato, Mexico, to backyard get-togethers along the back roads of central Texas—Chávez shows how Mexicans living on both sides of the border use expressive culture to construct meaningful communities amid the United States’ often vitriolic immigration politics. Through Chávez's writing, we gain an intimate look at the experience of migration and how huapango carries the voices of those in Mexico, those undertaking the dangerous trek across the border, and those living in the United States. Illuminating how huapango arribeño’s performance refigures the sociopolitical and economic terms of migration through aesthetic means, Chávez adds fresh and compelling insights into the ways transnational music-making is at the center of everyday Mexican migrant life.
David-James Gonzales (DJ) is Assistant Professor of History at Brigham Young University. He is a historian of migration, urbanization, and social movements in the U.S., and specializes in Latina/o/x politics and social movements.