Chamorro country songs

Cross-Cultural translation in post-World War II Chamorro music


  • Michael Clement Jr. University of Guam



Chamorro, country music, cultural nationalism, Marianas


Scholars of music, culture and history in the Marianas Islands have paid little attention to contemporary Chamorro language music. In part, it has been dismissed on grounds of its 'inauthenticity'. And yet, the music has deep meaning for the generations of Chamorros who came of age in the three decades after World War II. This article addresses challenges to the music's authenticity by situating the practices of adapting foreign songs in the folk culture of pre-World War II Guam. Furthermore, this paper provides both an explanation and a cross cultural context for the particular attraction older Chamorros hold for American country music. Selected Chamorro songs demonstrate ways Chamorro artists adapt and translate American songs in ways that make them more cultural specific but nevertheless point to affinities between working class Chamorros and mainland Americans.

Author Biography

  • Michael Clement Jr., University of Guam

    Michael Richard Clement Jr is currently an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Guam. He holds a PhD in Pacific History from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (2011) and an MA in Micronesian Studies from the University of Guam (2002). His dissertation ‘Kustumbre, Modernity and Resistance: The Subaltern Narrative in Chamorro Language Music’ traces the development of Chamorro language music under 300 years of colonial rule. His current focus is on the development of the Chamorro language music recording industry in post-World War II Guam.


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How to Cite

Clement Jr., M. (2015). Chamorro country songs: Cross-Cultural translation in post-World War II Chamorro music. Perfect Beat, 16(1-2), 29-49.