Indigenizing the Zarzuela: Kapampangan Ethnocentric Adoption of the Foreign Genre

Julieta Mallari

Abstract


When the Spanish colonizers reached Pampanga, a province in the northern part of the Philippines, the meeting between the East and the West meant an impact of the grafted civilization over the conquered people. Religious and cultural hybridization (Bhaba 1994) inevitably took place in Pampanga. Kapampangan verbal art modestly welcomed an alien counterpart and a cultural synthesis in a “liminal space” took place. What the Spaniards introduced—religious literature, metrical romances and the zarzuela—to advance their imperialistic cause pressed on the folk and blended naturally with the Kapampangan sensibility. Kapampangan literature took on a hybrid form that came to be an incitement for the movement of the province’s literary history. Mariano Proceso Pabalan Byron, a Kapampangan poet, was the first to domesticate the form and content of the zarzuela, a Spanish literary genre. He, together with other writers such as Crisostomo Soto, established a zarzuela tradition and produced masterpieces. The enthusiasm for the zarzuela lasted for decades even after World War II; poets like Jose Gallardo easily adopted the favorite literary genre of his predecessors. The genre was most welcome because its elements constituted their familiar world. The zarzuelas that were produced reveal the constant appropriation of the native values and beliefs in the foreign literary form.

Keywords


indigenizing; hybridity; zarzuela; Kapampangan

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1344/co20115161-175

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