Musical genres, musical instruments, and even songs can often capture the essence of a country's national character. In Whose National Music?, the first book-length study of Ecuadorian popular music, Ketty Wong explores Ecuadorians' views of their national identity in the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries through an examination of the music labels they use. Wong deftly addresses the notion of música nacional, an umbrella term for Ecuadorian popular songs often defined by the socio-economic, ethnic, racial, and generational background of people discussing the music.
Wong shows how the inclusion or exclusion of elite and working-class musics within the scope of música nacional articulate different social, ethnic, and racial configurations of the nation for white, mestizo, indigenous, and Afro-Ecuadorian populations.
Presenting a macropicture of what música nacional is—or should be—Whose National Music? provides a lively historical trajectory of a country's diverse musical scene.