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Alma Guaraní: The Paradoxical Cultural Identity of Paraguayan Music

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1. Title Title of document Alma Guaraní: The Paradoxical Cultural Identity of Paraguayan Music - Music, Meaning and Value in Paraguayan Song
2. Creator Author's name, affiliation, country Timothy Watkins; Texas Christian University;
3. Subject Discipline(s) Popular Music
4. Subject Keyword(s) South American music; Paraguay; Paraguayan music; Latin American music; Berta Rojas; Jeporeka; Guarani; Nuevo Cancionero
5. Subject Subject classification Latin American Music
6. Description Abstract Though less than three percent of Paraguay’s population is Indigenous, Paraguayan national identity is closely linked to the culture of the Guarani Indians that dominated the area at the time of the arrival of Europeans. Europeans were always a small minority in Paraguay, and the Paraguayan population quickly developed a relatively homogenous mestizo ethnic identity. Though by definition a mixture of European and Indian, this mestizo identity has come to be understood in ways that highlight its continuity with Indigenous Guarani elements over European ones in such cultural expressions as language, foodways, folk medicine, mythology and even religion. While many aspects of Paraguayan culture do in fact derive from Indigenous ones, music is a prominent exception; both Paraguayan música folclórica (folk music) and concert music are overwhelmingly stylistically European. Paradoxically, despite its thoroughly European nature, Paraguayan music has been bestowed a Guarani identity precisely because it is Paraguayan. This article examines the centrality of this mythical Guarani heritage to notions of musical paraguayidad (Paraguayan-ness) in such varied contexts as the
language, topics, and traditional instruments of Paraguayan folk musics; the creation of the popular guarania genre in the 1920s as an intentionally nationalistic music expression; the stage persona and music of the guitarist Agustín Barrios (1885-1944); and the reception of the music of the Italian Jesuit missionary composer Domenico Zipoli (1688-1726), and its incorporation into the national Guarani mythos.
7. Publisher Organizing agency, location Equinox Publishing Ltd
8. Contributor Sponsor(s)
9. Date (YYYY-MM-DD) 01-Oct-2026
10. Type Status & genre Peer-reviewed Article
11. Type Type
12. Format File format PDF
13. Identifier Uniform Resource Identifier
14. Identifier Digital Object Identifier 10.1558/equinox.44105
15. Source Journal/conference title; vol., no. (year) Equinox eBooks Publishing; Music, Meaning and Value in Paraguayan Song
16. Language English=en en
18. Coverage Geo-spatial location, chronological period, research sample (gender, age, etc.)
19. Rights Copyright and permissions Copyright 2014 Equinox Publishing Ltd