The Inevitable Bandstand


The Inevitable Bandstand

The State Band of Oaxaca and the Politics of Sound

Charles V. Heath

The Mexican Experience Series

232 pages
16 illustrations, 3 maps


August 2015


$65.00 Add to Cart

August 2015


$30.00 Add to Cart
eBook (EPUB)

August 2015


$30.00 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)

August 2015


$30.00 Add to Cart

About the Book

In the hands of the state, music is a political tool. The Banda de Música del Estado de Oaxaca (State Band of Oaxaca, BME), a civil organization nearly as old as the modern state of Oaxaca itself, offers unique insights into the history of a modern political state.
In The Inevitable Bandstand, Charles V. Heath examines the BME’s role as a part of popular political culture that the state of Oaxaca has deployed in an attempt to bring unity and order to its domain. The BME has always served multiple functions: it arose from musical groups that accompanied military forces as they trained and fought; today it performs at village patron saint days and at Mexico’s patriotic celebrations, propagating religions both sacred and civic; it offers education in the ways of liberal democracy to its population, once largely illiterate; and finally, it provides respite from the burdens of life by performing at strictly diversionary functions such as serenades and Sunday matinees.
In each of these government-sanctioned roles, the BME serves to unify, educate, and entertain the diverse and fragmented elements within the state of Oaxaca, thereby mirroring the historical trajectory of the state of Oaxaca and the nation of Mexico from the pre-Hispanic and Spanish colonial eras to the nascent Mexican republic, from a militarized and fractured young nation to a consolidated postrevolutionary socialist state, and from a predominantly Catholic entity to an ostensibly secular one.

Author Bio

Charles V. Heath is an associate professor of history at Sam Houston State University.


"The Inevitable Bandstand is an important book, as it contributes to filling a gap in the modern history of music in Oaxaca City."—Sergio Navarrete Pellicer, Hispanic American Historical Review

“An important contribution to historical studies, complementing the existing body of work on our understanding of Oaxaca, and adding a crucial piece to the puzzle.”—Mark Brill, associate professor of musicology and world music at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the author of Music of Latin America and the Caribbean

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1. Closing the Colonial Past
2. Nineteenth-Century Invasions and Influences
3. Inception, Institutionalization, and Venue
4. The BME during the Porfiriato and the Mexican Revolution
5. Mestizaje, Musical Pedagogy, and the Socialist State
6. Municipal Control to Innes’s Reign
7. From Political Proselytizer to Economic Engine
Conclusion: Gauging the Political Tool
Appendix 1. BME Directors
Appendix 2. Oaxaca Military and National Guard Units, 1846 and 1848
Appendix 3. BME Dependencies
Appendix 4. Extraordinary Performances, 1966 (Partial)
Glossary of Song and Dance Forms

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