Item Details

Chamorro country songs: Cross-Cultural translation in post-World War II Chamorro music

Issue: Vol 16 No. 1-2 (2015)

Journal: Perfect Beat

Subject Areas: Popular Music

DOI: 10.1558/prbt.v16i1-2.22321


Scholars of music, culture and history in the Marianas Islands have paid little attention to contemporary Chamorro language music. In part, it has been dismissed on grounds of its 'inauthenticity'. And yet, the music has deep meaning for the generations of Chamorros who came of age in the three decades after World War II. This article addresses challenges to the music's authenticity by situating the practices of adapting foreign songs in the folk culture of pre-World War II Guam. Furthermore, this paper provides both an explanation and a cross cultural context for the particular attraction older Chamorros hold for American country music. Selected Chamorro songs demonstrate ways Chamorro artists adapt and translate American songs in ways that make them more cultural specific but nevertheless point to affinities between working class Chamorros and mainland Americans.

Author: Michael Richard Clement Jr.

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