- Sonic resistance: Diaspora, marginality and censorship in Cuban and Brazilian popular music
- Award date
- 6 July 2016
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Humanities (FGw)
- Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA)
In this study I argue that popular music can testify to experiences of censorship, marginality and diaspora in spite of the difficulties that giving account of these experiences imply. I focus primarily on Cuba in the late 1980s and Brazil in the early 1970s, where censors obliged musicians to reaffirm, through their music, a hegemonic image of national identity. The songs I analyze resist this censorship through sonic forms of resistance, which manifest at their narrative, auditive and expressive level. The musicians whose songs I analyze - Gilberto Gil (Tropicália), Jards Macalé (marginais) and Milton Nascimento (Clube da Esquina) in Brazil and Carlos Varela (topos generation) and Telmary Diaz (Interactivo project) in Cuba - are dealing with what I call affective diaspora, an experience of alienation from the homeland that does not require physical separation from it. I connect this experience of the blurring of the border between what is inside and outside the homeland to the way these musicians circumvent censorship by questioning, from a marginal perspective, the parameters of its operation. Their strategy of destabilizing the separation between the inside and the outside of the homeland, of hegemony and of legitimized speech or musical harmony I call detuning. To do justice to these detuned musical narratives, I propose a strabistic way of listening that, like cross-eyed vision, is capable of reading the decentered testimony of these songs as also testifying to censorship itself.
- Research conducted at: Universiteit van Amsterdam
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