20 Oct 2015
Back across the Ocean: Migration and musical remittances from Latin America and the Caribbean to Africa
Over the past years, migration research and policymaking have focused much attention on South-North flows and on certain aspects of the migration and development nexus, such as remittances and ‘brain drain’. Cultural remittances have received little attention in policymaking. Nevertheless, culture is an important channel in the relation between migrants and their home communities and can be perceived as a potential contribution of diasporas to their countries and communities of origin.
The introduction of the concept of ‘diasporas’ in social sciences has had an important effect with regards to the focus attached to cultural expressions and identities in migration. Recent approaches to the concept of diaspora have emphasized the ‘dynamic and fluid character of both diasporas and the volatile transnational contexts in which they emerge and acquire substance’ (Tsagarousianou, 2004: 56). The discussion on diasporas has highlighted the importance of cultural remittances between migrants and their countries of origin.
The influence of African music in Latin America and the Caribbean is widely perceived and has been widely analysed. The reverse influence, from Latin America and the Caribbean to Africa, is also very lively but has been much less studied. Music offers an opportunity to approach the realities of cultural remittances in a complex migratory framework. The recommendations included in this Background Note focus on the opportunities to improve music and cultural remittances as a contribution of diasporas to the development of their countries and communities of origin.