music paper final draft

music paper final draft - Huynh 1 Music and the Chicano...

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Huynh Music and the Chicano Identity The term “Chicano” or “Chicana” refers to people of Mexican heritage who are born and raised in the United States. Through his music, Chicano Musician Lalo Guerrero portrays the Chicano identity with an emphasis in the pride of the Mexican heritage and struggles as minority in the United States. However, the perception of the Chicano identity evolves throughout history and varies among individuals. In this research paper, I will examine whether the Lalo Guerrero’s portrayal of the Chicano identity reflects the younger generation Chicano’s sense of identity by conducting interviews with Javier Francisco, my peer of Mexican heritage. Lalo’s song “Cancion Mexicana”, “No Chicanos on TV” and “No Way Jose” were presented to during the interview. Despite the fact that these songs were widely recognized, Javier disagreed with Lalo Guerrero’s portrayal of the Chicano identity and offered a distinctive point of view. First, I will present a biography of Lalo Guerrero as historical background for this essay. Lalo Guerrero is “a living legend among Chicanos of the Southwest and in Mexico” (Loza 158). He was born in 1916 in Tucson, Arizona. He did not learn to speak English until he started school. He listened to his mother play guitar when he was young and learned to play from her when he was fourteen or fifteen years old. From his mother, he learned traditional Mexican music such as rancheras, folk songs and romantic songs. Yet, he was exposed to the American culture through his schooling and eventually influenced by the popular American musicians of his time, such as Al Jolson, Bing Crosby (Loza 158). 1
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Huynh Lalo Guerreo experienced identity conflict as a child. In his interview with Professor Steve Loza, he described that he had an “inferiority complex” because everything that was Mexican was “given a negative connotation” and “second-rate” (159). Because of the feeling of displacement, Lalo wanted to sing and play American music of the time. However, he experienced extensive discrimination in his early music career. There were few opportunities for Mexicans or Mexican Americans to become popular singers in the American mainstream society. Eventually, he reverted to singing Mexican music and went to Mexico and recorded and published two songs. One of the songs “Cancion Mexicana” later became the unofficial anthem of Mexico and was covered by many popular singers such as, Lucha Reyes and Lola Beltran (Guerrero). However, despite his success in Mexico, he faced another identity conflict – he was Mexican American. To the Mexicans, he was a pocho born in the United States and assimilated to the American culture (Loza 159). Thus, the identity conflicts he faced in his early years attributed to the socially related songs he wrote later in his career. Lalo Guerrero’s
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music paper final draft - Huynh 1 Music and the Chicano...

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