Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Davila, Richard Cruz. “Él Es Chicano?: Authenticity and Authentication in Two Versions of Doug Sahm’s ‘Chicano’.” Journal of Popular Music Studies 31 (December 2019): 73-94.

Rumel Fuentes’s cover of Doug Sahm’s song Chicano authenticates the original through Allan Moore’s typology of authenticity. Moore proposes a three-part typology of authenticity in popular music, consisting of first-, second-, and third-person authenticity that is constructed by the act of listening. Sahm, born in San Antonio of German descent, speaks in the first person in Chicano, which raises concerns about his capacity to speak for the Chicano community. In Moore’s typology, Sahm’s performance of Chicano is inauthentic in the first-person (authenticity of expression) and third-person (authenticity of execution) senses. The history of American popular music is full of racial crossing, so Sahm’s adoption of a Chicano persona is not unprecedented. Fuentes, also a Texas native and heavily involved in the Chicano movement of the 1970s, recorded a cover of Chicano in 1972 (although it was not released until 2009). Fuentes modifies some of the original lyrics to declare his Chicano identity more assertively, including adding an additional verse. He also alters the rhythm section to use a traditional conjunto line-up rather than the hybrid instrumentation of Sahm’s band. The gritos (screams) in Fuentes’s vocal delivery further add to his cover’s working-class aesthetic. Fuentes’s cover lends Sahm’s Chicano a greater sense of second-person authenticity (authenticity of experience) by validating that Chicano resonates with the experiences of Mexican-American audiences.

Works: Rumel Fuentes (performer), Doug Sahm (songwriter): Chicano (87-91).

Sources: Doug Sahm: Chicano (87-91).

Index Classifications: 1900s, Popular

Contributed by: Matthew Van Vleet

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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