• Spanish and non-Spanish Perspectives on El Cid in Heavy Metal: Cultural Vindication, Cultural Appreciation and anti-Muslim Attitudes

    Amaranta Saguar García (see profile)
    Heavy metal (Music)--Instruction and study, Spanish literature, Middle Ages, Nationalism
    Item Type:
    Meeting Title:
    Multilingual Metal: Sociocultural, Linguistic and Literary Perspectives on Heavy Metal Lyrics
    Meeting Org.:
    University College London
    Meeting Loc.:
    Meeting Date:
    20th-21st September 2018
    El Cid, Heavy Metal, Cultural appropriation, Racism, Metal Music Studies, Spanish medieval literature
    Permanent URL:
    Medievalising themes and narratives are a prominent feature of heavy metal. Two of its most successful subgenres, power metal and pagan metal, even rely heavily on them. Warriors, knights, sorcerers, minstrels and the whole cast of contemporary popular medievalising literature, cinema and illustration alternate with Germanic mythology, traditional ballads, epic poetry, Crusaders, Vikings, and many other supposedly more historical topics. With about twenty songs by Spanish and non-Spanish bands remembering his feats, the Castilian lord Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, El Cid, counts among them. This paper explores how diversely the topic of El Cid is addressed in these songs, in particular on account of the Spanish or non-Spanish cultural background of the band, the language in which the lyrics are written, and the heavy metal subgenre to which the song can be ascribed. In it, I will examine how, for Spanish (and Spanish-American) bands, El Cid serves the purpose of naturalising the stereotypical heavy metal medieval knight and, thereby, functions as a vindication of their cultural heritage, be it with nationalistic, anti-nationalistic or cultural exchange aims. Moreover, I will detail how non-Spanish bands resort to El Cid primarily to refresh an overused subject, that is, that of the medieval knight, but sometimes in a more suspicious manner as well, in which his symbolism as a Moor-slayer and defender of the Western Christian values is highlighted. Finally, I will discuss, respectively, the appropriation and the re-appropriation of El Cid by non-Spanish and Spanish heavy metal bands from the perspectives of both cultural vindication/appreciation and anti-Muslim attitudes.
    Last Updated:
    5 years ago
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