„Neroztavili se“: cimbál a asimilace české minority v Texasu
“UNMELTED”: CIMBALOM AND ASSIMILATION OF CZECH MINORITY IN TEXAS
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Ethnomusicologists have often viewed music as a marker of cultural identity. Music may also have a more aktive role, however, in the hands of musicians, listeners, and dancers, to recreate, redefine, and fashion elements of new identities. This article explores this tension by introducing the cimbalom, an instrument familiar to many (at least in central Europe) in an unfamiliar setting. The article presents historical and archival research about the survival of the cimbalom and its use among Czech immigrants to Texas in the United States. Commonly described in Texas as a “dulcimer,” the instrument’s use in Texas is widely remarked upon in Texas museums and heritage documents, but it is not widely known outside the small Czech heritage communities Texas. A particular focus is placed on the heritage of the “Baca Band,” a longstanding family musical group that built and maintained the cimbalom in the town of Fayetteville, Texas. The article focuses on two main aspects of the instrument’s significance to Czech immigrants in Texas: the tension between the maintenance of cultural traditions and the creation of new ones, and the role of the instrument in the resurgence of ethnic awareness in the United States of the late twentieth century. In addition, the article contributes to research on old-time ethnic music, the history of recording of ethnic music in the United States, and the use of archival sources to investigate music in community life.
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