Africa and Africans in Christmas Villancicos from 17th-Century New Spain (Mexico)" Drew Edward Davies


Location: Hesburg Center C103

Relationships among music, race, and representation count among the most difficult issues facing the
understanding of music repertoires from New Spain (colonial Mexico), especially the Christmas season
villancico, a genre that sometimes portrays stereotyped African personages traveling to Bethlehem to
adore the Christ child through dance and song. Long interpreted to be reflective of local diversity, this
presentation situates the “negrilla” villancico within Iberian theatrical traditions and visual art of the period,
argues for an allegorical model of interpretation, and considers the viability of reviving this repertoire in the
present day.