We understand music through the lens of our identity and lived experiences. Musical narratives differ, and the predominantly-known history of music is written by those whose identities hold power by associating their idea of musical skill with the self.
I thought of Neil Rosenberg’s book on the development of bluegrass, which focused on the impact of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys. 1 Rhiannon Giddens offers a more holistic perspective and insists that bluegrass is a blend of African, European, and Native traditions. 2
Musical histories like these are even harder to uncover when their records are further removed from the present and written by colonizers. One of those histories is that of the pre-Columbian Incan Empire in present-day “Peru.” Continue reading