Argentina Thursdays: Things a Peña Does


So for this week’s Argentina Thursday post I would like to present two pieces. One of which is my senior thesis from the University of Wahsington, “Things a Peña Does: Everyday Forms of Nationalism.” This piece was recently published in the Jackson School Journal of International Studies, a peer reviewed journal produced by the Jackson School of International Studies at UW.  The paper was the culmination of my study abroad in Buenos Aires during the 2009-2010 academic year. The paper was one of the most difficult and exhilirating experiences of my life so far and I am indebted to the dozens of people who made this project work.

Here is the abstract with a link to the full piece:

For its entire history Argentina has been dominated demographically and economically by Buenos Aires. Poverty and relative inequalities in the hinterland have helped drive a massive internal migration to the city. A great portion of the resulting population of Buenos Aires consists of provincial Argentines who find interesting and innovative ways to negotiate urban life. This essay explores some ways that Argentine migrants use folk music parties, known as peñas, to create opportunities in the city. Importantly, many migrant accounts highlight the importance of folk music as Argentine, thus unifying folk music with other cultural representations of the nation. First person accounts show how migrants use this “entrepreneurial popular nationalism” in peñas to create their own entertainment, social networking and economic benefits. The paper presents a case for the peña, an innovative birthplace of nationalism, as a resource for a largely marginalized group.

Full Article

I would also like to present my track “Ave De Chrystal.” Made famous by the Bolivian group Los Kjarkas, my version is a remix from a recording session I did with lawyer and migrant activist Pablo Martinez. I sample Pablo’s cover version. He can be heard singing and playing the acoustic guitar. I chopped  Pablo and a group of activists are working on a social project called the Caminata de las Quenas, which celebrates the anniversary of the Jujuy Exodus in Argentina. His project is a wonderful example of how music can be used to educate and celebrate culture. A true example of Reflection and Response. If anyone has any questions about the Caminata feel free to contact Pablo at

Ave de Chrystal

No se acaba el mundo

cuando un amor se va

no se acaba el mundo

y no se derrumbara.

Si fue verdadero

tras sus huellas volvera

si no fue sincero

otro lo remplazara.

The world doesn’t end

When a love leaves

The world doesn’t end

and it won’t collapse

If she was true

through her footprints she’ll return

It she wasn’t true

Another will replace her

Reflection and Response


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