Cumbia Villera: Cheap Trash or Argentine Culture?
Hoog Antink, A.F.
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This master thesis examines in what way the Argentine music genre cumbia villera has developped itself since its coming into existence at the end of the 1990s in Buenos Aires. The most important focus is how the music and its origins are connected to the Argentine social situation influenced by the Argentine economic crisis of 2001 and its aftermath. The place of cumbia villera, its reputation and its popularity in Argentina has changed over time from generally ignored by the middle and upper class and embraced by the poor, marginal classes, to loved by more or less everyone, and ultimately ridiculed and/or hated by particularly the middle and upper class. Those shifts in popularity are connected to the social situation of the country, but also to the changing lyrics and themes of the songs as I explain in my thesis. Although the music is nowadays generally seen as cheap trash that has nothing to do with Argentina, I show with my thesis that cumbia villera fits perfectly well in the Argentine music history when comparing it for example to the tango and folk music.