William Buckingham presents Free Talk “Remembering Isleño Décimas: Louisiana’s Lost Tradition of Spanish Ballad Singing”

The Center for Louisiana Studies, in partnership with the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park, and Preserve Acadian Cultural Center, invites the public to a free lecture by University of Chicago doctoral candidate William Buckingham on “Remembering Isleño Décimas: Louisiana’s Lost Tradition of Spanish Ballad Singing.” The talk will be Wednesday, March 14, 2018, beginning at 6:30 p.m. at the Acadian Cultural Center, 501 Fisher Road, Lafayette, LA.

Buckingham’s research centers on the Isleño décima, a unique genre of Spanish folk song from St. Bernard Parish in southeast Louisiana. Louisiana’s Hispanic heritage is a significant, if often forgotten, facet of the state’s cultural mixture. An introductory overview of this heritage will provide context for close listening and analysis of some examples of recorded décimas. This rich and diverse repertory attests to both ancient origins in medieval Spanish romances, brought by colonists from the Canary Islands in the eighteenth century, as well as more recent influences from both a regional circum-Gulf Hispanic culture and a rich local multicultural milieu. Today, the décima is no longer vital as a musical practice, resulting from the decline of the unique dialect of Isleño Spanish, decades of land loss, hurricanes, and the decline of the communities that once sustained the tradition. In closing, Buckingham will consider the significance of these recent developments within the broader context of Louisiana’s diverse cultural heritage and unfolding ecological crisis.

Doors open at 6:00 p.m. and the presentation will begin at 6:30 p.m. For more information about this event, please call 337.482.6027 or email clspresents@louisiana.edu.