Current Institutional Affiliation
Director/Producer, Reclaiming the Narrative

Award Information

International Dissertation Research Fellowship 2008
Institutional Affiliation (at time of award):
Ethnomusicology, University of Pennsylvania
Negotiating Place: Forró, Regionalism, and Circum-Caribbean Connectedness

This dissertation research project examines the relationship between discourses of Brazilian regionalism and recent stylistic developments in the accordion-based popular music known as forr6. Following widespread national and international popularization, forr6 has begun a process of "re-regionalization," but not, as perhaps might be expected, through a reclaiming of traditional musical aesthetics or a search for "roots." Rather, since the early 1990s artists and audiences in both the Northeastern and Northern regions of Brazil have embraced a style of forr6 that incorporates commercial popular musics from the neighboring circum-Caribbean (most prominently reggae, soca, and calypso in the form of musical style, lyrics, and band names) in service of what I believe to be a transregional politics of difference. Through a comparative multi-site ethnography of listening and production in the Northeastern city of Salvador da Bahia and the Northern city of Belem do Para, I will investigate the following two related questions: 1) How do audiences and artists relate to notions of "Caribbeanness," "Northeasternness," and "Northernness" as transmitted through contemporary forr6 music and 2) How are existing discourses of regionalism complicated and reconfigured by the "Caribbeanization" of forr6? Do listeners in these two cities still consider forr6 an expression of "Northeastern" regional identity, or is this music being resignified as an expression of transregional or class-based identity? In short, this project attempts to uncover the affective links between the Northeast and the Noth that are articulated through forr6 music.