A “newer” new song : nueva canción in the life and music of Lourdes Pérez : intersections of politics, identity and community



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Commonly known as nueva canciόn in Puerto Rico or nueva trova in Cuba, “new song” is a 60-year-old genre, a musical form resonant with political overtones. This thesis examines the life and music of Lourdes Pérez, a Puerto Rican singer working in the nueva canciόn tradition. Pérez, who has lived in the U.S. for 20 years, is dedicated through her compositions to create a “newer song,” a form of socially engaged music based on artists of the past but addressing contemporary issues. Through the creation of a diverse community for such music, and collaborations with other Latin American musicians and artists, Pérez has taken the genre in new directions. I examine the various sociopolitical messages conveyed in Pérez’s music through an analysis of the extramusical context of performance. I raise questions about the ways in which globalization affects her work, and about the present-day relevance of the nueva canción song form itself. Since little research has been conducted on nueva canciόn I hope this paper will encourage future work.