Explorations in Sights and Sounds

Explorations in Sights and Sounds


Phillipa Kafka

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Explorations in Sights and Sounds





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In a supposed "interview" with Rolling Stone, Muñoz's major character, lead singer-composer Julian Toledo of Julian and the L.A. Scene, sums up Paul Simon's song "Crazy Love" as "about the love of music, about relationships ... about family." Indeed, this book takes the form of a song in which the author is simultaneously the composer and conductor orchestrating the three elements of music, relationship, and family harmonically into the text through the deployment of a dazzling grab bag of modem and postmodern authorial techniques. These include mock-ups of interviews (written) and in video format; songs seemingly printed as appendices to the text; ingenuous epistles to her big brother Julian written by his little sister, which provide relief amidst all the heaviness; as well as random entry into the head sets of a variety of characters. Reminiscent of James Joyce, or the collages of John Dos Passos, but primarily of Oscar Hijuelos's The Mambo Kings Sing Songs of Love, Muñoz's technique integrates Cuban music as an indigenous element into the work. Crazy Love, however, moves beyond Mambo Kings in its treatment of the commercialized homogenization to which ethnic music can be reduced when exploited: the chasm between ethnic authenticity and the marketplace of compromise, of sellout; the pressure to popularize ethnicity into, "You know, meaningless lyrics, catchy melodies, etc.," as Julian sarcastically puts it.


Copyright, ​©EES, The National Association for Ethnic Studies, 1992