Society for Cultural Anthropology
Society for Humanistic Anthropology
Cosponsored - Oral Presentation Session
“Me encanta,” young Venezuelan musicians would say about music, meaning that they are enchanted by it, that they love it. To be enchanted is to experience wonder and fascination, to let oneself be moved and to move others. In Spanish, it contains the word cantar, which means “to sing.” This sound enchantment was frequently born when playing both classical and popular music together, an act of collective creation, in which I, as an ethnographer, frequently participated. In this paper, I trace the resonance of sound enchantments in the lives of Venezuelan musicians who found shelter in Paris from the political and economic crisis in their country.This fieldwork presented me with the challenge of writing about a present vibrating with potentiality, joy, and determination but also a social fragility. This fragility was born out of a political climate intolerant to immigrants, which found manifestation in legal obstacles to residency and everyday discrimination in public spaces and educational settings.My interlocutors’ simultaneously enchanted and critical position became a conceptual lens through which I thought about the world-building potential of music in their lives.Collective musical practices, in which ethnographer and interlocutors participate together, reflect an aesthetic interdependence but also the act of influencing one another intellectually and conceptually that teaches us to listen to the world differently.