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Globalization and culture
in national and local contexts:
of chicha and tecnocumbia *

Arturo Quispe Lázaro

The turn of the 21st century finds us plunged into a world of tensions and conflicts of all kinds. One, which is the subject of this essay, is the tension between globalization and national and/or local culture: cultural servitude or homogenization versus resistance, adaptation and/or revitalization of local and/or regional cultures? Amid this tension, we will analyze the emergence of the third phase of the socio-cultural phenomenon of chicha music - tecnocumbia - which arose with a new musical style, thematic content and image, and with a greater scope than that of the chicha culture that preceded it. Our intention is to examine, through tecnochicha or tecnocumbia, how cultural globalization interconnects with national and/or local manifestations of cultural creation.

This essay seeks to show that within the context of globalization, there has been a stimulation of certain artistic-musical creation in local and/or national cultures. This process has influenced, changed and renewed chicha music in Peru , creating a new phase: tecnocumbia. Chicha music is returning to the forefront on the social scene, following several phases in which it was relegated to low and very low socio-economic sectors and disparaged by Lima 's middle and upper classes. Today it extends to all levels of society, with people of all classes accepting it and dancing to it.

How did tecnocumbia emerge? What enabled it to gain a foothold in the middle and upper classes? What is the role of globalization, viewed on the national and local scale, in this social renewal of chicha? In other words, what is the relationship between global and national and/or local culture in the resurgence of chicha-tecnocumbia? Why do the mass media (radio and television) accept it now, when they spurned it until just a few years ago? What does its popularity, despite the persistence of deep social, ethnic and cultural differences, tell us about the mediate future of culture in the country? This essay will make an initial effort to address some of these questions.

The mass media called the chicha-tecnocumbia renewal "the revelation of the end of the century." This movement was accentuated in 2000 with the emergence of new male and female musical groups. It is a movement that has found a place in all media - print, radio and television - something that had never happened before. A few years ago, chicha was mentioned in the "serious" media only when it was being criticized; today it is received with astonishment and open arms.

The impact of this musical movement on the local and national scene expanded once it began to appear on television. In the last few months of 1999, chicha musicians were invited to appear on various programs in Lima and provinces. They appeared on most of Lima 's eight broadcast TV channels to be interviewed (telling their life stories and revealing the secrets of their fame and how they became so popular in such a short time) and sing their most popular songs. Nevertheless, it was not always so.

Peru , Its Differences And Chicha Music

Peru is a country with deep social, ethnic and cultural differences, which are also reflected in its music. In Lima in the 1960s, the huayno already had an audience, mainly of migrant Andean people living in poor neighborhoods, along with a few middle-class Peruvians. Cumbia, guaracha, son and mambo had an audience in both the middle and lower classes (Quispe 1993: 91). At that time, chicha music did not yet exist, although there was a large lower-income sector living in the heavily populated neighborhoods now known as peripheral urban areas.

Chicha music emerged in the "low," "very low" and "extremely low" socio-economic sectors at the end of the 1960s ( Lima had 3 million residents). Ethnically, these low-income sectors were cholos - Andean and Amazonian migrants from the provinces who arrived in Lima , the capital, in search of a better future. In this context, chicha emerges as a genre that reflected the new socio-cultural circumstances of these Andean migrants and their offspring in the capital.

Over more than three decades, the genre has been influenced by the varied social and cultural contexts of each era. In the 1970s, it reflected this initial mix, which had begun to take shape in the late 1950s. Chicha music melds two musical styles - traditional music from the various regions of the country (Andes, coast, Amazon) and genres such as the Colombian or Venezuelan cumbia, guaracha, mambo, etc., with instrumental backup adapted from rock groups (electric guitars, drums, etc.). This gave rise to a new rhythm, which was neither huayno nor any of the others; it was a mixture of all into one: chicha music. From the start, it reflected three styles - chicha of the coast, the Andes and the Amazon - that are closely tied to cultural regions of the country.

In the 1980s, the "new limeños" - first- and second-generation migrants from the provinces - settled in the city in an environment in which the music had been strongly influenced by the huayno. Chicha andina gained a foothold in a place where the rhythm and flavor were predominantly Andean.
The 1990s were a time of transformation; political life accelerated and changes on the international scene had an impact on the country. On the musical front, new rhythms and styles had been entering the country since the mid-1980s, and the huayno's influence on chicha faded in the face of the wave of new styles. The musical marketplace diversified and huayno-style chicha had to share the stage.

Already part of globalization processes that involved not only the economic sphere, but also the cultural, chicha entered a new phase. Toward the end of the 1990s, chicha amazónica took the lead, but this time in a new social, cultural and technological context. This was the third phase of chicha music, tecnocumbia, whose emergence was a product of globalization. An analysis of the relationship between cultural globalization and national culture helps us understand this musical phenomenon (see Table 1).


From the late 1960s to 2000



Leading group

Other groups

Late 1960s to late 1970s:
Beginnings of chicha,
Chicha costeña

Migration from the provinces to Lima , the capital (since the 1950s)

Los Destellos

Cumpay Quinto, Celeste, Los Diablos Rojos, Los Mirlos, Los Pakines, Los Ecos, Juaneco y su Combo, etc.

Late 1970s and early 1980s. Chicha costeña loses ground. Transition toward chicha andina

The military government (Velasco-Morales Bermúdez). The Latin American folkloric-style huayno does not have much of a following. Chicha groups adapt some of these songs to their style.

None. Most outstanding: "Chacalón y la Nueva Crema"

Los Ovnis, Karicia, Alegría, Los Destellos.

chicha andina

Rise of the population of provincial origin in the capital; "popular groundswell."

Los Shapis.

Alegría, Karicia, Los Ovnis, Guinda, Maravilla, Pintura Roja, El Pumita Andy, Génesis, Geniales, etc.

Late 1980s to late 1990s.
Chicha costeña, returns to the fore. No single leading group.

Cosmopolitanism and post-modernity. There is greater flexibility and openness; alternation. Everyone participates. Peru is a market for foreign musicians.

None. All had the same opportunity to express themselves. Chacalón y la Nueva Crema took the lead, cut short by his death, in a large sector of the low-income population.

Chicha costeña groups: Chacal, Chacalito, Guinda, Centeno etc. Also chicha andina and chicha amazónica groups,

Late 1990s - 2000.
Chicha amazónica or tecnocumbia. Different melodic mixtures.

Great influence of globalization, expansion of the media and higher technical level.

Rossy War y su Banda Kaliente.

Ruth Karina, Ana Kohler and the group Euforia, Ada y Nueva Pasión (now Ada y Los Apasionados), Agua Marina, Armonía 10, Karolyne, etc.

The Global And The Local / National In Culture

We find ourselves in a world that is becoming interconnected at a dizzying pace. The various social and geographic environments are growing closer and closer. Globalization enables us to enter into a new context on a worldwide scale, basically through the technological innovations of computers, telecommunications and the media, which facilitate and serve as a vehicle for information and knowledge on a planetary scale. This brings us face to face with new scenarios that place us in an environment that extends beyond our immediate social circle.

This leads us to the debate over whether globalization enslaves local cultures, influencing them to such a degree that they become bad copies of the foreign, or whether local cultures adapt, recycle and become revitalized. This is reminiscent of the discussion of past decades over alienation versus identity as a people or a nation, which gave rise to such terms as "assimilation," "acculturation," "syncretism" and "hybridization," in order to analyze and clarify the link between the foreign and the autochthonous. Fears have increased with globalization, because it is thought that if local culture was merely alienated before, it could now disappear, homogenized with outside influences. In times of rapid interconnection, however, it is impossible to imagine that any culture is an island; the lives of peoples and nations cannot be insulated from one another.

Beyond this debate, it is important to see what this new context of change known as globalization contributes in the way of ideas, creation and innovation, and what meaning it has for life in each zone, region, locality or country. Neither the foreign nor the native is good in itself; it is good insofar as it enables us to better understand and explain life and social relationships and, if possible, shape actions related to them.

In this world, however, we are not passive recipients. Rather, the flow of information opens up to us a world of innumerable, previously unexperienced and unimaginable possibilities, turning us into forces for change. As Lloréns says, "[...] in the local, we find various reactions, such as cultural revitalization as a protection against cultural homogenization, or an ethnic renewal in the face of increasing globalization" (Lloréns 1999: 148). Or the foreign is simply taken up in a creative way, recreating local cultural products under the influence of the global, so that - consciously or not - we become participants, within a local space, of the global forces of this era.

As various authors have indicated, the global puts us off center in space and time; this means that wherever we are geographically, we not only can communicate with any part of the planet, but we can also assimilate products that come from other latitudes. This awakens and/or provokes in some people a flood of desires, ambitions and expectations, unleashing imagination and creativity. Along this line, Jesús Martín-Barbero indicates that globalization creates three other situations that affect not only aspects of social reality, but also people's lives: 1) a social de-centering; 2) secularization, in which personal self-determination is manifested, including the principle of self-fulfillment or happiness; and 3) a scattering of and disenchantment with social bonds (Martín-Barbero 1999: 44-46).

This brings us to two dynamics that interact and lead to change. One is the openness to the new that exists in local Andean sectors; the other is the current context, which, marked by the expansion of the media and technological advances, has blown a breath of fresh air into and/or revitalized specific local spaces. This creates change in both the individual sphere and the locality. The external maelstrom often forces those caught outside to enter into it or suffer the penalty of remaining outside "civilization." When they insert themselves into globalization in their own localities, peasants take on a double identity. This is explained by Nelson Manrique: "To the extent that they incorporate themselves into the virtual society that is taking hold, they will end up with a dual identity: one planetary, built on contact with the rest of the world through networking, and the other nourished by their primary, face-to-face contacts. Their identity may not be lost, but it will undoubtedly undergo profound change" (Manrique 1999: 243).

This brings us to the issue of cultural identity. Hopenhayn notes that globalization offers an "[...] unprecedented opportunity to recreate and pluralize our identity with the signals that others send us from a distance, which speak to us of other ways of looking at the world and, in contrast, the weakening of identities through their exposure to the incessant flow of signals that engulfs them, questions them and dissolves them. Globalization, therefore, does not have a single sign. Rather, it brings all the options together into a script that is open-ended. At least for now" (Hopenhayn 1999: 17). Globalization definitely produces an upheaval in elements of local identity, but it neither denies nor obliterates them; rather, they are transformed as a result of the questioning that they undergo.

In fact, it is this melting pot of new ideas, facts and situations where detachment from customs and traditions occurs, just as in the new context there are concepts that lose their meaning and their symbolic capacity. The reference points on which identity is built will tend to change as aspects of the environment are modified. Identity is not fixed, unchanging, substantial and everlasting; rather, it is built on concrete social and cultural references, which indicates that, given the modifications taking place in this sphere, the reference points of identity will have to change."

For this reason, in analyzing culture it is impossible to separate the two dimensions (global and local), because the effects of one idea - an image transmitted by television, for example - seep into all corners of every locality. Robertson, as cited by Ulrich Beck, holds that "the local and the global are not mutually exclusive. On the contrary, the local must be understood as an aspect of the global. Globalization not only means de-localization, but also assumes a re-localization; it also means a closeness and mutual encounter between local cultures, which must redefine themselves within the framework of this clash of localities" (Beck 1998:79).

To relate the global with the local, Robertson coins the term "glocalization," indicating that the global cannot be examined except within a particular context. "Globalization can be grasped on a small, concrete scale, in situ, in life itself and in cultural symbols, all of which carry the seal of the 'glocal' (a new term formed from the words globalization and localization)" (Beck 1998: 80).

It is within this context of change that we address the study of tecnocumbia. Technological changes occur in a climate that involves all of society. As the authors we have cited indicate, in the current era there is a close relationship between the global and the local by virtue of the bonds established through media-related technological innovations (cable television, long-distance antennae, computer science, etc.). This has made possible communication between the two spheres, and an influx of certain characteristics of the former have recreated the patterns of values and identity of the latter; that is, in each locality, it has introduced new, creative ideas. This has created new combinations, new syncretisms between existing cultural traits - the music of each region - and the foreign - musical genres from other cultural traditions.

Tecnocumbia And The New Context Of Change:

Changes in the musical environment surrounding chicha occurred not only because of the incorporation of new musical equipment, but also because of the atmosphere of new ideas: of individuation, sensuality, openness to all musical rhythms, an absence of conflict, etc. These characteristics shaped a new style of chicha. Tecnocumbia emerged as a sweet, gentle melody with intimate, individualized, sensual content, meant for entertainment and devoid of conflict and social content.

Tecnocumbia has spread rapidly throughout the country's local and regional spaces, becoming a great musical movement that has both blossomed in and transcended local spaces. It has become a multi-local movement that "overflows" into other local and regional, as well as macro-regional, spaces. As Guillermo Rochabrún notes suggestively, tecnocumbia has become a "supra-local" movement. The "traits (musical, in this case) identified with certain places are merged and give rise to a style that is acceptable in a broad region with no defined limits. In other words, from the local arises something that is able to transcend it, becoming 'de-territorialized' to a certain extent. The local is redefined and becomes 'supra-local.' It is like an 'Andean-tropical globalization'" . Or, to put it more precisely, "Amazon-Andean-tropical globalization," since those who began this movement came from the Amazon, passing through the Andes and finally reaching the capital. The other route was from the Amazon to the northern coast and then toward the center of the country.

In all cases, we find the participation of regional Amazonian, coastal and Andean cultures reflected in musical compositions, as well as in the creation of new musical groups throughout the country. In sum, the tecnocumbia groups' musical creations have a multilocal acceptance that extends not only throughout this country, but also to other countries in the region and to Latinos in the United States .

The particular characteristics of this new phase are related to the following elements:

1) The use of new musical instruments. The electric guitar has given way to synthesizers and the keyboard. These instruments give it a particular sound - melodious, sweet and pleasant - that is in line with modern tastes, unlike the somewhat shrill sound of the electric guitar. They are more sophisticated instruments with a higher technical level (the sound they produce is called "techno"), which require a higher level of knowledge on the part of the new groups. These instruments are also more expensive, demanding resources that some chicha groups lack.

2) The multiplier effect of tecnocumbia. In different parts of the country, many musical groups have emerged that reflect the same style with regional variations. The first were Rossy War y su Banda Kaliente, along with the group Euforia (with Ruth Karina, in its first phase), both from the Amazon region. The former also gained recognition outside the country (see Table 2).

3) The singers' characteristic paraphernalia. As in the 1980s, they wear distinctive costumes: those from the Amazon wear clothing typical of the eastern region, while those from other areas wear modern dress stripped of typical elements, but also - in contrast to earlier years - short, tight pants that give the dancers and singers an air of sensuality.

Tecnocumbia reached the capital in the first half of 1999. Since then, it has taken the city by storm, gaining ground in the media. The history of this movement, however, began in the second half of the 1990s. Its creators in Peru , Rossy War and Tito Mauri, took the first steps in 1995, when the recorded their first compact disc, Como una Flor, in Chile . The following year, they recorded Cositas del Amor in Bolivia . Only after they realized how much of a following they were gaining did they form the group Banda Kaliente in mid- 1996. In approximately 1997, the group and its new sound became recognized. Meanwhile, it traveled throughout the Amazonian, northern and southern provinces of the country.

After more than three decades, therefore, chicha music, renewed as tecnocumbia, has become a musical genre that is "multi-class," multi-ethnic, pan-national and international. Having emerged in various places in the interior of the country, it transcends social sectors, involves all ethnic groups - Amazonian, Andean and coastal - and all regions of the country. New elements include its entry into middle- and upper-class sectors - which generally shun all popular creations - and its presence in the print media, radio and television.

In the past two decades, chicha music has reached the United States and some European countries and expanded into neighboring countries within the region. In recent years, it has appeared in Ecuador , Colombia , Brazil and Chile . It is, therefore, an international genre.

The many routes of tecnocumbia:

In an effort to make an initial classification of tecnocumbia, we can state that there are several forms of this new facet of chicha from different parts of the country. Its rapid acceptance has spurred the creation of the vast majority of groups in less than two years, between mid-1999 and 2000 (see the table of musical groups). This corresponds to the expansion of its audience, which is basically young, in all of Lima 's social sectors.





Piura, Chiclayo, Sechura

- Agua Marina
- Armonía 10
- Caña Brava
- El Grupo 5
- Agua Bella
- Agua Dulce

- La Verdad
- Los Caribeños
- Grupo Real
- Dilber Aguilar
- Grupo Mariluna
- Bella Luz

- Johnny Chávez y grupo La Magia

Puerto Maldonado, Iquitos, Pucallpa
- Rossy War y su Banda Kaliente
- Grupo Euforia
- Ruth Karina
- Karolyne
- Grupo Explosión
- New Point
- Eva Trigozo



- El grupo Néctar
- Skándalo
- Zona Franca
- Magnezio
- Los Aliados
- Ritual
- Tornado
- X-tasis
- Joven Sensación
- Las chicas Daya
- Las Románticas
- La Niebla
- Huracán

- Yaneth y su grupo
- La Red Band


- Ada y Los Apasionados

- Sociedad de Juliaca
- Impacto de Yunguyo



- Ráfaga
- Los Sultanes
- Complot
- La Cumbia
- Karla
- Los chicos de al lado
- Red
- Macarena

- Los Ronish

Most of the groups perform in metropolitan Lima , giving concerts in dance halls and recreation facilities, mainly in low-income neighborhoods in Lima 's peripheral areas or "cones."

Differences from earlier chicha traditions

The foundations of tecnocumbia are rooted in the entire circuit of the chicha tradition: the production, circulation and dissemination of the music. Tecnocumbia, therefore, is simply the third phase of chicha music, with characteristics that stem from the fact that it emerged in a context of change throughout society. Among these specific characteristics:

1) Tecnocumbia arose in the Amazon region. This new wave began outside the capital. That makes it different from the earlier movements, both andino and costeño, which arose in Lima and spread from there into the provinces and into neighboring countries. With tecnocumbia, the opposite occurred. Its creators were Rossy War and Tito Mauri, who traveled throughout the northern, Amazonian and southern provinces before entering the city. Rossy War arrived as "the queen of tecnocumbia." The importance of this lies in the fact that the creativity, force and fullness of the musical renewal come from the provinces, specifically the Amazon. The vitality and novelty are found not only in the capital's low-income urban neighborhoods, but also in the provinces, which stole the initiative from the capital.

2) There is no exclusion. Rossy War and other exponents of tecnocumbia, such as Ruth Karina, are open to all musical genres; they are not anti-anything, they neither foster exclusion nor scorn certain musical genres. Their musical taste is broad and diverse, and they are tolerant of different musical styles. This may have a dual explanation: the first is of a personal nature, because many of the creators of tecnocumbia come from other musical genres; and the second is more social, responding to processes that have occurred in the past decade.

In the late 1980s, foreign musical groups of various genres began to appear in Peru . At the same time, the media broadened their coverage and extended their scope, reaching more distant places with various musical offerings. It was a time of greater openness to diverse musical styles, in which listeners had a greater opportunity to choose the music they preferred. Most often, people not only consumed all styles, but also liked them all. That is, possibilities broadened for both choice and taste. Thus a space developed in which there was room for all genres, and in which people enjoyed them equally. In sum, a tolerance for all musical forms was created, without disdain for any.

A different climate existed in the early 1980s, when Andean chicha musicians found greater resistance in Lima society. During that era, there was opposition from limeños to chicha and the neolimeño chicha musicians. Those were times of confrontation and exclusion on both parts; both Lima society and the established musical genres were (and still are, although to a lesser extent) neither particularly receptive nor tolerant.

In this rarified atmosphere, the Andean chicha musicians closed in on themselves; they sought a medium, a space, a music they could hold onto. They dubbed chicha music an "authentic expression" of Peruvian music, as opposed to what they called "foreign music," such as rock. Chicha artists and rock musicians squared off and insulted one another (those differences persist, although they are more muted) in a confrontation that polarized preferences, tastes and attitudes. They opposed other musical genres, and because of the harshness and inflexibility of the times, they defined themselves through segregation. There was even controversy among the chicha musicians themselves: those who played chicha costeña made their difference felt, not only in the rhythm of their music, but also in their discourse. They criticized the Andean chicha musicians, calling them chicheros, while the Andean musicians referred to themselves as cumbiamberos. Nevertheless, the greatest confrontation suffered by chicha musicians in general was with musicians of other genres - who did not consider chicha to be music - and with Lima 's social circle.

3) The search for an international image. Here there are two aspects to consider: physical appearance and the change of name.
" Physical appearance. The costume was an innovation introduced by Los Shapis, an Andean-oriented chicha group that reached its peak in the 1980s. The colors of their costumes, taken from the colors of the rainbow, and their choreography laid the groundwork for chicha andina. In some ways, identification with the rainbow consecrated it as "Andean." The product created by Los Shapis encased an entire allegory that was clearly Andean, settled in the capital.

By the end of the 1990s, however, the situation had changed. Rossy War, for example, opted for a modern costume with a sensual air - skin-tight, black shorts - and rounded out her attire with a Mexican sombrero that gave her a cosmopolitan image like that of certain artists from that country (the group Garibaldi or Thalía, for example). She nuanced her image and her costume, however, with accessories that were clearly Amazonian, not only to reflect her origin or identity, but especially to have an impact in a city that considers the Amazon and its people distant and foreign. That also marked a difference from the coastal chicha groups, which had sought to imitate the dress of salsa groups.

According to Campodónico, in a globalized context, businesses no longer consider their national markets to be the most relevant and important for the accumulation of capital, because they have been replaced by a larger space: the world market. This could be the most significant characteristic of the world economy today (Campodónico 1995:8). And Rossy War bet on the international appeal of her product.

Among young groups, the costumes are similar to those of the groups Menudo or Magneto: bright, vibrant colors, with a blazer or jacket, a long shirt, a T-shirt or some combination of those items, special shoes or sneakers, and long hair, sometimes dyed brown. Among older male groups, however, the uniform is a blazer with a tie of the same color. These groups are similar to the chicha groups of earlier eras.

" About the name change. One's name is part of one's identity, and in the subject that we are exploring, it identifies the artist's social and cultural area of origin. It is logical, then, that a change of name implies a change of identity. In the world of chicha, there are no precursors of this change; on the contrary, the Andean chicha musicians sought to identify themselves by their cultural roots, and changing the name implied an attack on that culture and the possibility of being poorly regarded by the musical world and their peers. Today, in times of change and flexibility, those restrictions do not exist, to the extent that Rosa Guerra Morales encountered no obstacles in turning herself into Rossy War. Moreover, by doing so she broadened her horizons and expectations.

Here there is another break with the earlier chicha musicians. The chicheros of the 1970s sought to be recognized in the city. Those of the 1980s wanted, moreover, to take the capital by storm. By the end of the 1990s, their eyes were set on the international scene. They wanted to reach their "mecca," the United States . In this sense, the English name represents the broadening of the expectations of a group of people who think like the times: globally. The difference between them and earlier groups lies in the fact that at first they considered the local, then the national and finally the international. Now, they think on an international scale, taking over the local in the process. Rossy War ushered in the shift toward the international: a costume tied to a cosmopolitan image and an English name or pseudonym to help gain entry into a demanding, highly competitive market.

Nevertheless, not all have followed this route. That is, not all have changed their names, particularly to English. Other chicha-tecnocumbia groups or musicians have sought to gain fame using their original names.

4) Leading role for women. In the first two decades, the world of chicha was a strictly masculine one. Women played a decorative and supporting role and were subordinate to men, who had the leading roles (director and/or patron). The role of women was limited to that of companionship in the entertainment environment, attending fiestas with their partners. At most, they formed fan clubs for certain groups, with women getting together and organizing around a chicha artist or group.

The first female chicha singer appeared by accident: the director of the group Pintura Roja hired a woman first as a chorus member, then as singer. She was the first of those who would, in the late 1990s, emerge in greater numbers and in leading roles: La princesita Milly. Later came the first female chicha announcers, who worked at Radio Inca at the service of chicha groups. The director hired them to broadcast their music on the station. Some time later, dancers came on the scene, hired by the musical groups. Dancing sensually, clad in short skirts or bikinis, their job was to persuade and motivate the male audience to go to the fiestas. In sum, women played a decorative, supporting role, always subordinate to men.

That changed in the late 1990s, and women took on a leading role. Rossy War and the group Euforia, with its vocalist, Ruth Karina (who left to form her own group and was replaced by Ana Kohler), set an example for the formation of other, similar groups led by women: Ada Chura y los Apasionados, Karolyne y su Grupo, Agua Bella, Bella Luz, Las Chicas Daya, Grupo Maryluna and many others.

The most important point here is the change in expectations observed among certain women, not only because of their desire for personal development and advancement, but also their desire to become directors. Today, women truly play a leading role on the stage of the world of chicha.

In conclusion:

Tecnocumbia enters into the tradition of chicha music with continuities and differences. Just as the change from chicha costeña to chicha andina was due to the social and cultural transformations that the country experienced in the late 1970s and early 1980s (the "Andeanization" of Lima, the "popular groundswell," etc.), chicha took a new turn, becoming renewed and revitalized thanks to changes in technology and communications on a planetary scale. Thus was created tecnocumbia, which arose in the Amazonian provinces.

While the relationship between global and local culture is marked by tensions, it is also true that within each country, region or locality, cultures renew themselves with elements from beyond their borders. Globalization has made possible the renewal of chicha with a new melody and a new name. Some rock musicians see slim prospects for it, but the future of chicha - now tecnocumbia - was never graven in stone. From the outset, each group blazed the trail by its own existence. It used to be criticized for its shrill sound; at that time, no one saw much of a future for it, either. Nevertheless, it is clear that today it has a new air, a new sound and new expectations. Thus with sweat, effort, creativity and much resiliency, chicha artists continue to forge the future of the genre, even though they do not know what tomorrow may hold.


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[1] This essay has been corrected and expanded since its first version (a speech selected for the February 2000 ILASSA Conference at the University of Texas , Austin ). I am grateful for the invaluable comments of Guillermo Rochabrún, whose contributions have enriched the text of this second version. A complete version of this article has been published in Debates en Sociología No. 25, 2000. Pontifical Catholic University of Peru . Lima , Perú.

[2] Nevertheless, in Lima 's upper classes there has also been outright discrimination against this musical genre. For example, on Saturday, November 11, 2000, the tecnocumbia group Zona Franca was barred from singing at a benefit concert at the Jockey Plaza Shopping Center . The argument given to block its participation was that the expected audience - drawn from Lima 's upper class - was not a tecnocumbia audience.

[3] Thus we have three phases of chicha music: chicha costeña in the 1970s, chicha andina in the 1980s, and since the late 1990s chicha amazónica and a melodic mixture. Between them, we find two stages in which it ebbed somewhat: the first, from the late 1970s to the early 1980s, in a context in which chicha adopted a more huayno-style melody and gave way to chicha andina, and the second, from the late 1980s to the late 1990s, which served as a bridge to the current phase of chicha amazónica and other groups (for more detail, see Quispe, 1993).

[4] "Globalization affects the basic categories or our perception of reality, in that it transgresses the relationship between time and space, reinventing it under conditions of exponential acceleration: both categories of what is real are compressed by way of microelectronics..." (Hopenhayn, 1999: 19).

[5] Changes in this area began in the 1950s, when radio, television and cinema began to reach places that were further and further from the capital. Some provinces had access to this apparatus of modernization even earlier, toward the beginning of the century. Although the term was unknown at the time, it is reasonable to assert that these advances globalized some perspectives and introduced others. This indicates that peoples, however far-flung, become integrated into a wider world through these modern transmitters. In addition, as Romero points out, residents of the Andes were not closed off to outside influences; on the contrary, "not only is the mestizo Andean culture attentive to what is happening beyond its borders, but the incorporation of modernity has been and still is one of its fundamental traits" (Romero 1999: 177).

[6] In this sense, the media are the vehicle for transmission of the new. Jesús Martín-Barbero indicates this clearly: "The media today constitute the most powerful device for dissolving the nation's common cultural horizon, becoming mediators of the heterogeneous fabric of images that shape the identity of cities, regions and even local spaces and neighborhoods. Cutting across the movement of homogenization implied by economic and technological globalization, the mass media and electronic networks carry a multiculturality that explodes the traditional reference points of identity" (Martín-Barbero 1999: 47).

[7] Comments and critical notes on an earlier version of this text. October 22, 2000.

[8] Musical preference for tecnocumbia is reflected in an opinion survey conducted by a well-known Lima polling firm: "[...] last year, it was not mentioned a significant number of times, and in just one year it has gained ground as a musical form that enjoys great appeal among youth. On average, 46% of young people regularly listen to tecnocumbia. In each, the percentages are: sector A: 17%; sector B: 17%; sector C: 44%; sector D: 60%; sector E: 56% [...]. More women than men: 51% and 41%, respectively" (Apoyo, 2000: 46).



Arquitectura chicha
David Pezo Cobarrubias

Globalización y cultura en contextos nacionales y/o locales: De la música chicha a la tecnocumbia
Arturo Quispe Lázaro


Interculturalidad Nº 3
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