The Americanist Imagination and Real Imaginary Place in Czech Bluegrass Songs

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During their long history of Americanism, Czechs have inscribed “real imaginary” elements of Americana on their environment, laying a foundation for the current interest in bluegrass music. Czech articulations of this imagined “Amerika” in translated, newly created, and recontextualized songs reveal a playful ambiguity. Czechs have cultivated bluegrass through a sense of place that contains traces of Americanness, blurring the boundaries between what is American and what is Czech. With humor and hard work, Czech bluegrassers shape a sense of place through their performance of songs in which U.S. music becomes part of the European landscape.