Charles V. Heath II: The Inevitable Bandstand

Charles V Heath II (History Department, Sam Houston State University) shares with us news of his latest publication.

Dear Manuel and Allison,
Thank you for your efforts on behalf of we Latin Americanists.
I write to ask how I might gain permission to announce the publication of my first book, The Inevitable Bandstand: The State Band of Oaxaca and the Politics of Sound, University of Nebraska Press, 2015.,676320.aspx
Attached please find: book cover image, author photo, coupon, and “About the book”.
Please let me know if you require any further information.

Charles V Heath II
Associate Professor
Department of History
Sam Houston State University

About the book

This is the first history of the Banda de Música del Estado de Oaxaca (State Band of Oaxaca, BME), a civil organization nearly as old as the modern state of Oaxaca itself. If you have ever visited the city of Oaxaca, it is quite possible you heard the sounds of the band bajo los laureles of the Alameda, or in the kiosco on the Zócalo.

In the hands of the state, music is a political tool. The Banda de Música del Estado de Oaxaca (State Band of Oaxaca, BME), a civil organization nearly as old as the modern state of Oaxaca itself, offers unique insights into the history of a modern political state.

In The Inevitable Bandstand, I examine the BME’s role as a part of popular political culture that the state of Oaxaca has deployed in an attempt to bring unity and order to its domain. For nearly 150 years, the BME has served multiple functions: it arose from musical groups that accompanied military forces as they trained and fought; today it performs at village patron saint days and at Mexico’s patriotic celebrations, propagating religions both sacred and civic; it offers education in the ways of liberal democracy to its population, once largely illiterate; and finally, it provides respite from the burdens of life by performing at strictly diversionary functions such as serenades and Sunday matinees.

In each of these government-sanctioned roles, the BME serves to unify, educate, and entertain the diverse and fragmented elements within the state of Oaxaca, thereby mirroring the historical trajectory of the state of Oaxaca and the nation of Mexico from the pre-Hispanic and Spanish colonial eras to the nascent Mexican republic, from a militarized and fractured young nation to a consolidated postrevolutionary socialist state, and from a predominantly Catholic entity to an ostensibly secular one.


“An important contribution to historical studies, complementing the existing body of work on our understanding of Oaxaca, and adding a crucial piece to the puzzle.”—Mark Brill, associate professor of musicology and world music at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the author of Music of Latin America and the Caribbean

The bibliographic information of Charles’s book is:

Charles V. Heath II. The Inevitable Bandstand. The State Band of Oaxaca and the Politics of Sound. Lincoln, NE, University of Nebraska Press, 2015. Link to University of Nebraska Press website.