Music Videos as a Mode of Resistance in Almería's Industrial Agriculture

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Music and agricultural work have a long and varied relationship across cultures and throughout history. Activities such as planting, hoeing, herding and harvesting are frequently accompanied by song, while life in the fields has been documented, shared and passed on through varied musical forms. Agricultural songs range from joyous celebrations, odes to nature and the marking of seasons to those that offer biting social commentary, political critique and calls for resistance and revolution. This article explores the complex relationship between musicians and music production in industrial agricultural settings. It examines how the musical rhythms developed by Almería’s agricultural industry’s workers have evolved as the industry’s modes of production have intensified and mechanised, and how music serves as a means to communicate and share worker’s feelings and experiences, often leading to forms of connection, rebellion or resistance across time. By exploring how social and political context have been reflected through musical production, performance and the affective relations built around ‘sonic images’, namely “the set of postures, body movements, expressions, gestures inherent in musical creation” (D’Amico, 2015:2), it analyses the process of co-creating music videos with a local agricultural worker rock band, and how this uses new media to build on long standing popular forms of musical expression in the regional traditional agriculture. The article suggests localized musical production among workers serves to disrupt “comfortable [visual] boundaries and encouraging transgression of rules" (Mitchell 1992:223), but most importantly, to create empathy in shared feelings of social immobility and entrapment, creating affective bonds between the musicians and their audiences while recognising the role of the musicians as writers of intersubjective histories of the industrial reality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-76
Number of pages18
JournalVisual Ethnography
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • music video
  • El Ejido
  • resistance through music
  • intensive agriculture industry
  • DIY musicians


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