Whose National Music?

Identity, Mestizaje, and Migration in Ecuador

By Ketty Wong
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Temple University Press, 2012

ISBN 9781439900574

272 Pages


Musical genres, musical instruments, and even songs can often capture the essence of a country's national character. In Whose National Music?, the first book-length study of Ecuadorian popular music, Ketty Wong explores Ecuadorians' views of their national identity in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries through an examination of the music labels they use. Wong deftly addresses the notion of música nacional, an umbrella term for Ecuadorian popular songs often defined by the socio-economic, ethnic, racial, and generational background of people discussing the music.

Wong shows how the inclusion or exclusion of elite and working-class musics within the scope of música nacional articulate different social, ethnic, and racial configurations of the nation for white, mestizo, indigenous, and Afro-Ecuadorian populations.

Presenting a macropicture of what música nacional is—or should be—Whose National Music? provides a lively historical trajectory of a country's diverse musical scene.


List of Multimedia Examples 
1. The Nation in Bloom: A Search for “Ecuadorianness” 
2. La Música Nacional: An Anthology of Songs 
3. The Pasillo: Rise and Decline of the National Song 
4. Rocolera Music: New Urban Sounds in the City 
5. Chichera Music: The “Tropicalization” of Música Nacional 
6. The Tecnocumbia Boom in Ecuador: “A Letter with My Kisses Sent with Love by Internet” 
7. The Translocation of Ecuadorian Popular Music 
Epilogue: Whose National Music? 
Glossary of Ethnic and Musical Terms 



Ketty Wong is an Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at the University of Kansas. In 2010, she received the prestigious Casa de las Américas Musicology Prize for La música nacional: Identidad, mestizaje y migración en el Ecuador, the Spanish language version of this book.

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