Nor-tec Rifa!: Electronic Dance Music from Tijuana to the World

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Overview


At the dawn of the twenty-first century, the Nor-tec phenomenon emerged from the border city of Tijuana and through the Internet, quickly conquered a global audience. Marketed as a kind of "ethnic" electronic dance music, Nor-tec samples sounds of traditional music from the north of Mexico, and transforms them through computer technology used in European and American techno music and electronica.

Tijuana has media links to both Mexico and the United States, with peoples, currencies, and cultural goods--perhaps especially music--from both sides circulating intensely within the city. Older residents and their more mobile, cosmopolitan-minded children thus engage in a constant struggle with identity and nationality, appropriation and authenticity. Nor-tec music in its very composition encapsulates this city's struggle, resonating with issues felt on the global level, while holding vastly different meanings to the variety of communities that embrace it.

With an impressive hybrid of musicology, ethnomusicology, cultural and performance studies, urbanism, and border studies, Nor-tec Rifa! offers compelling insights into the cultural production of Nor-tec as it stems from norteña, banda, and grupera traditions. The book is also among the first to offer detailed accounts of Nor-tec music's composition process.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"In this brilliant study of a local culture's transnational dynamics and dimensions, Alejandro Madrid reveals how radical changes in contemporary commerce and culture are imbuing old identities, borders, and boundaries with new meanings."--George Lipsitz, author of Footsteps in the Dark

"The Nortec Collective stands astride the US/Mexico border creating an art of hope and adaptation. This music represents all that is possible along the new frontier, and it has fomented a movement of art and film and literature that is unique in the world. Alejandro Madrid's masterful study of this brilliant hybrid stands as one of the important texts in the history of the new, shining, borderlands. Nortec sings, 'Tijuana makes me happy.' This work makes us happy to be alive."--Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Devil's Highway and The Hummingbird's Daughter

"Alejandro Madrid is an amazing thinker. His fresh theoretical insights are synthesized from a broad base of knowledge and disciplines. This work will appeal to anyone interested in border studies and contemporary societal trends, as well as those with an interest in contemporary music and activism through music."--Brenda M. Romero, Associate Professor of Musicology and Ethnomusicology, University of Colorado

"Alejandro Madrid has brilliantly captured Nor-tec's burst into the twenty-first century. This is an innovative book that effectively balances traditional with virtual fieldwork, musical analysis with a cultural-oriented approach, and theoretical reflections with empirically grounded investigations. Madrid's critical mind and analytical skills meet the ingenuity and eloquence of the Nortec Collective."--Helena Simonett, Vanderbilt University, author of Banda: Mexican Musical Life across Borders

"Nor-tec has spawned audio imitators, Volvo ads, t-shirts, and indie films, popped up everywhere from art installations to MTV and HBO, and now Tijuana's first-next-big-global-thing finally has its own full-scale scholarly book that lends a critical ear to border beats. With a focused and serious mix of theory, interviews, and lots of listening during long nights in Tijuana clubs, Madrid has done the music and the scene a great service by unraveling its histories and dissecting its meanings for fans and scholars alike."--Josh Kun, University of Southern California, author of Audiotopia: Music, Race, and America"

"Alejandro Madrid has in this book skillfully accomplished to make us understand the Nortec's collective past, its origins and development throughout its ten years of existence. Nor-tec Rifa!' is fundamental for all people interested in Mexican music and/or electronic dance music." --The World of Music


"Madrid's analysis provides a good case study to consider border studies as a dynamic theoretical tool for the study of identity as a transient and changing strategy used to navigate and survive the complexity of dominant ideologies." --Latin American Music Review

"Expertly researched and well-written...Alejandro Madrid's engaging study indeed does much to reveal the dynamic complexity of early twenty-first century Tijuana--and US-Mexico borderland culture--as a whole." --Popular Music

"Nor-tec Rifa! is a reference for studies that deal with the construction and negotiation of individual and collective identities in liminal contexts and under conditions of globalization. It is also an important contribution to electronic dance music studies, hybrid music cultures, and postcolonial Latin America." --Yearbook of Traditional Music

"Without a doubt, this is the best, more serious, and intelligent book about the party scene in Tijuana. Other people had tried it before, but most of them ended up drunk and saying stupidities. On the other hand, this book, encapsulates the media and intellectual discussions that Nortec has generated." --Heriberto Yepez, Replicante

"An important work...Nor-tec Rifa! is one of the few existing interdisciplinary case studies that delves into the multicultural connections of dance music, technology, the Internet, and Mexican-American border cultures. Hopefully, it will prop open the door for more to follow." --E-Misférica

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Alejandro L. Madrid is a musicologist and cultural theorist whose research focuses on the intersection of modernity, tradition and globalization in music and expressive culture from Mexico and the U.S.-Mexico border. In 2005 Alejandro received the prestigious Casa de las Américas Musicology Prize. He is Assistant Professor of Latin American and Latino studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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Table of Contents


List of Figures     xiii
List of Music Examples     xv
Introduction: Nor-tec and the Borders     3
Origins Revisited: Myth and Discourse in the Nortec Collective     24
Tradition, Style, Nostalgia, and Kitsch     50
Getting the Word Around     87
"Where's the Donkey Show, Mr. Mariachi?": Reterritorializing TJ     114
Producers, DJs, VJs, Fans, and the Performance of Nor-tec     147
Dancing with Desire     169
Nor-tec and the Postnational Imagination     189
Notes     205
Bibliography     227
Index     243
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