Catching Waves in the Canary Islands: Music and Identity

Atlantic stepping stones between Spain and the Americas

Bartolomé Duijsens


Chaired by Bartolomé Duijsens (The Netherlands), Fundación Interchange

When in 1492, Columbus left the Canary Islands for an unknown destination, he laid the foundations for a very intimate connection between this archipelago and the newly discovered one across the Atlantic, ‘Las Antillas’ (later baptised as the Caribbean and the Americas).

Cultural traditions across the Spanish Atlantic show a great resemblance, due primarily to the linguistic and religious conquest of these vast new territories. In this session, we will first try to enlighten the relationship between Canarian music and identity – how ‘La Canariadad’ is constructed – and then try to demonstrate how diasporic movements and poetic, textual and musical traditions and exchanges forged similar but distinct musical identities in the Canary Islands, Venezuela and Cuba.

To illustrate these resemblances and exchanges, we will use musical examples and video footage.