Sep 9 2014

“Cuando cruzo la frontera, llevo conmigo el sabor”: Sonidos, Cumbia Sonidera, and Contemporary Expressions of Mexican Immigration

September 9, 2014

1:00 PM - 3:00 PM


1550 UH


601 S. Morgan St, Chicago, IL

The flow of Latin American popular music across borders is triggered by mass migration of people fleeing political, social, and economic unrest throughout the hemisphere. A second flow of the region’s popular music beyond and between nations also occurs with musicians seeking market expansion and larger fan bases. Both forms of migrations influence how popular music develops in new terrains and its reception by local constituents. Mexican Sonidos are responsible for popularizing Colombian cum-bia in Mexico City’s working-class barrios (neighborhoods) dating back to the late nineteen-fifties with outdoor social dances known as sonidero. Sonidero dances consist of a Mexican Sonido delivering saludos (shoutouts) with enormous sound systems while playing popular música tropical. Cumbia’s popularity in sonidero has become so prevalent that a recent phenomenon known as cumbia sonidera has taken form. The sonidero phenomenon eventually expanded beyond Mexico City and followed the migrant trails to the United States with Mexican immigrants in search of economic opportunities. This paper examines how cumbia sonidera and Mexican sonidero enthusiasts fashion transnational social spaces beyond the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Rodolfo Aguilar completed his PhD in American Studies at the University of Minnesota in the spring of 2014. His dissertation titled, “Tambien Bailamos en el Norte: Sonidero, Transnational Lives, and Mexican Migrants in the Midwest” studied the Chicagoland sonidero scene and how its participants challenged notions of transna-tionalism, citizenship, internet consumption, and political economy in Midwestern Mexican immigrant communi-ties. Dr. Aguilar completed his Bachelor of Arts in Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illi-nois at Chicago. He has taught courses on Latinos in the U.S., Chicano Studies, Latino Cultural Studies, and American Studies. 


Marta Ayala

Date posted

Aug 13, 2018

Date updated

Aug 13, 2018