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Title: Fiddles in Luso-Afro-Brazilian cultures : subaltern aesthetics
Author: Moretto, Luiz Fernando
ISNI:       0000 0004 8500 0607
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This thesis examines the significance of bowed stringed lutes and of fiddle playing to musical traditions across the cultures of the contemporary Luso-Afro-Brazilian world. The research is based on a multi-site ethnography conducted in Cape Verde, Brazil and Mozambique, covering practices related to the violin, 'rabeca' and one-stringed bowed lute. Taking as its starting point the narratives of living musicians about their daily practices in local or transnational social and cultural contexts, the analysis focuses on fiddle traditions in Africa and the African diaspora, reflecting on the dynamic processes of creolisation that have reinvented these practices in modernity, transcending the geopolitical boundaries established in the colonial era. I analyse the violin in Cape Verde, 'rabeca' playing in a 'quilombo' community in southeastern Brazil, and the one-stringed bowed lute which intersects with the African fiddle-playing heritage. I trace the dynamics of past traditions and the revival of these fiddles in continental and insular Africa and Brazil, hypothesising a linkage between them. The major conceptual concern structuring my analysis, informed by critical readings of the literature on African music and its representations, is how an understanding of musical aesthetics and especially the question of rhythm can contribute to a decolonial perspective on the significance of these musical practices. The qualitative outcomes of the research suggest that fiddle playing should be understood as allowing musicians to play a relatively autonomous role in a wide variety of contexts in contemporary multi-ethnic societies in a state of flux: as participants in the internationalised world of Cape Verdean music; as elements of the cultural environment in which 'quilombo' inhabitants are campaigning for recognition of their land rights; and as contributors to Mozambique's national project to integrate its diverse ethnic groups. Ultimately, I argue that the fiddle is an active agent in the decolonial 'thinking and doing' of those of African descent in Luso-Afro-Brazilian cultures.
Supervisor: Treece, David Helier ; Moehn, Frederick Josef Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available