The Great Woman Singer: Gender and Voice in Puerto Rican Music by Licia Fiol-Matta offers a luminous account of the careers and voices of four Puerto Rican singers: Myrta Silva, Ruth Fernandez, Ernestina “La Calandria” Reyes, and Lucecita Benitez. Each chapter constitutes a “critical biography” of one of these performers, in which the author explores the singularity of their vocality: “I aim to really listen to women's voices, in the sense of paying attention to their conceptual dimension, away from notions of natural or intuitive performance” (4). Gender and voice are thus central to this study, as well as the “nothing” which these dynamics of performance reveal. Fiol-Matta is interested in the “nothing” as a space that conjures refusal, that elicits abjection. It may be a void a singer decides to inhabit, rather than be legible to the violence of heteronormativity or celebrity, or it may be a space to...
Review: The Great Woman Singer: Gender and Voice in Puerto Rican Music by Licia Fiol-Matta
Lorena Alvarado is assistant professor in the Global Arts Studies Program at UC Merced. She has published book chapters in the Routledge Companion to Latina/o Media and the Cambridge History of Latina/o American Literature.
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Lorena Alvarado; Review: The Great Woman Singer: Gender and Voice in Puerto Rican Music by Licia Fiol-Matta. Journal of Popular Music Studies 1 December 2019; 31 (4): 180–182. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jpms.2019.31.4.180
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