Latino Studies

, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp 431–457 | Cite as

“La Bamba Rebelde”: Chicana/o nationalism, transnational culture, and postnationalist politics

  • José Navarro
Original Article


In this essay, I argue that the Chican@ music group Las Cafeteras uses the son jarocho musical genre to produce counternarratives to anti-immigrant, racist/sexist discourses in the United States and that these counternarratives simultaneously generate a broader oppositional political message to other frameworks of criminality. Las Cafeteras deploys these counternarratives by reinterpreting the song “La Bamba” as “La Bamba Rebelde” [emphasis added]; their call for listeners not to believe in borders; their reappropriation of the myth of La Llorona as a method of articulating a “haunting” in the American imagination related to immigration issues; their expressed feminist Zapatista politics; and, their reliance on a cultural and political landscape in Los Angeles that allows them to re/imagine the city and the US-Mexico borderlands as a localized site of global, postnationalist politics of solidarity.


Chicana/o music son jarocho nationalism postnationalism 



I am incredibly grateful to my Chicana/o Studies writing group (Michael Cucher, Marci McMahon, Cathryn Merla-Watson, Julie Minich), and to John Carlos Rowe, David Lloyd, and Jenell Navarro for reading through and offering insightful feedback on various drafts of this article. !Muchísimas gracias!


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • José Navarro
    • 1
  1. 1.California Polytechnic State UniversitySan Luis ObispoUSA

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