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date: 29 May 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores the musical childhoods of three generations—represented by the author’s mother, herself, and her children—and moving from the community of Santurce, Puerto Rico, where the author was born, to Seattle, Washington, where her children grew up. She says that the continuities between these generations have helped her survive and prosper as an immigrant to the mainland U.S. Music became a source of cultural security, a marker of identity, and a mode of interaction that helped her know where and with whom she belonged. Reflecting on her musical childhood has also helped her understand some of the more broadly human dimensions of musical experience, such as the social conversation and negotiation that occur in the act of dancing.

Keywords: music, childhood, musical experience, immigrants, Puerto Rico, cultural security, identity

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