Wilin Centre for Indigenous Arts - Theses

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    Cueca, tradition and innovation: utilising the traditional Bolivian music form of Cueca as a generative tool in jazz based composition and improvisation
    Rojas Luna, Danilo ( 2019)
    The Cueca is an expression of Latin American culture in the forms of dance, poetry and music. This investigation examines the important elements of the Bolivian Cueca, its history, development and geographical journey alongside a creative element of practice-based research arising from an analysis of my first professional recordings of Cueca that explore African-American jazz-based improvisation leading to new compositions. For this purpose, I will undertake an ethnographic and musical analysis of the Bolivian Cueca (structure, rhythm, harmony, melody and improvisation) from the first pioneers and influential composers and interpreters Simeón Roncal (pianist, 1870-1953) and José Lavadenz (mandolinist, 1883-1967). This includes an autethnographic reflection of my relationship with my cultural identity as a composer, performer and son of the Bolivian composer Gilberto Rojas (1916-1983). My intention is to ground the rationale that integrates my later study of jazz-based improvisational studies within the Cueca tradition. I have included a phenomenological contextual analysis of my 2005 recording of “Chuquisaqueñita” in the CD/DVD “Lunar” and findings from my practice-led research which enabled my understanding of the hitherto unconscious elements that I had adopted from the aforementioned composers to then create and spontaneously engage jazz and improvisation techniques within the Cueca. My creative work includes Cuecas that I composed throughout this study, which was inspired by my personal understanding as a Bolivian currently living within a multicultural context in Melbourne, Australia, highlighting the development process of Australian jazz sensibilities alongside the cross cultural notions of agency we encounter as musicians within globalised jazz.