Theses Doctoral

Trans Tessituras: Confounding, Unbearable, and Black Transgender Voices in Luso-Afro-Brazilian Popular Music

Da Silva, Daniel

This dissertation shows how gay, trans and queer performers in Brazil, Portugal, and Angola, working in traditionally misogynistic, homo- and transphobic popular music genres, have successfully claimed and refigured those genres and repertoires through iterations of transgender voices and bodies. I show how Pabllo Vittar, Fado Bicha and Titica refigure normative gendered conventions of sex and song through trans formations of popular music genres. I locate them within a genealogy of queer Luso-Afro-Brazilian popular music practices and performances that deploy trans formations of voice, body, and repertoire. I trace a genealogy of transgender voice in Brazilian popular music to Ney Matogrosso’s 1975 debut release, through which I reveal a cacophony of queer, indigenous and Afro-Brazilian intersections; and in Portuguese popular music to António Variações 1982 debut, through whom I trace a fado genealogy of Afro-diasporic cultural practices, gender transgression and sexual deviance. Finally, I locate Titica’s music in practices of the black queer diaspora as a refiguring of Angolan postcolonial aesthetics. Together, these artists and their music offer a queer Luso-Afro-Brazilian diaspora in spectacular popular music formations that transit beside and beyond the Portuguese-speaking world, unbound by it, and refiguring hegemonic Luso-Afro-Brazilian discourses of gender, sexuality, race and nation.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Latin American and Iberian Cultures
Thesis Advisors
Horn, Maja
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
August 30, 2019