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Macarena Gómez-Barris

Macarena Gómez-Barris is Associate Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. Macarena is author of Where Memory Dwells: Culture and State Violence in Chile (University of California Press, 2009) and The Extractive Zone: Submerged Perspectives and Decoloniality (forthcoming Duke University Press). She is author of “El Fruto de la Voz: Moyenei Valdes’ Sonic Experimentation,” and numerous other chapters and peer-reviewed articles on cultural mediations. She co-edited “Decolonial Gesture,” a special issue of E-misférica (May 2014).

“Sound Horizons: Decolonial Voicings of Ana Tijoux and Ceci Bastida”
In the rap song “Vengo” (2014), Ana Tijoux invokes Mapuche world systems not only as cultural pride in Mestiza identity, but as a cosmological shift of what is to come beyond the monocultural condition and neoliberal occupation of indigenous lands in Chile. Like in other work, Tijoux’s lyrics and performance contends with military violence to offer images and resonances that enliven a sonic imaginary beyond the colonial divide. Tijuana-born Ceci Bastida produces a similar affront to the militarization of the US/Mexico border. In Tijuana No’s early music that Ceci Bastida was a part of, her punk affect and lyrics denounced how life in Tijuana was always experienced as secondary citizens in one’s own nation. Bastida’s more recent solo albums have pressed upon la violence and like Ana Tijoux she sings beyond the barrier of colonial limits. In “Sound Horizons,” I build upon Sylvia Cusicanqui’s idea of colonial horizons to understand how the sonic vibrations and voices of these two contemporary Latin American female singers/musicians challenge the many dimensions of contemporary colonialism. Both vocalists share impatience with liberal gestures and melodic lyricism, instead choosing the more complex vibrations of experimentation to voice through the colonial matrix, including the circulation of music, audience, and layered sounds that incorporate Afro and indigenous influences. Finally, both singers use their unique multidirectional musical-political standpoint as decolonial soundings towards an imaginary of an undivided Américas. I explore the power of decolonial voicing amongst these two Latin American female singers, suggesting the intentions of undoing coloniality at work within the sonic dimensions of both artists’ songs.

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