Hard ass: representation, diaspora and globalisation in kuduro

Sheridan, G 2014, Hard ass: representation, diaspora and globalisation in kuduro, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Media and Communication, RMIT University.

Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

Title Hard ass: representation, diaspora and globalisation in kuduro
Author(s) Sheridan, G
Year 2014
Abstract In recent years a range of new music genres have developed in the global South that fuse regional elements with electronic dance music, creating new hybrid forms. Scholars including Hernandez, Madrid and Marshall have discussed the significance genres such as cumbia, nortek and reggaeton. However, little attention within ethnomusicology and popular music studies has been paid to kuduro, a genre that developed during the Angola during the 1990s that subsequently became popular in diaspora communities and beyond.

This practice-based PhD consists of a series of musical works and an dissertation. The exegesis provides a framework through which to understand the musical works and contributes to discourses on kuduro and electronic music. The music consists of four solo and five collaborative pieces. The music presented is the culmination of iterative processes of conceptualisation, recording, sampling, composing, performing, mixing and mastering. I utilise fragments of kuduro to compose original hybrid works that incorporate elements of other genres and my personal musical vocabulary. In creating the music, I undertook to develop an understanding of the historical, cultural and political contexts in which kuduro has emerged and how processes of globalisation have affected the music and accompanying social practices.

Building on ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Angola and Portugal, this dissertation contributes to understanding of the role of cultural and economic processes of globalisation in the development, production and dissemination of kuduro. Specifically, kuduro is framed as a syncretic product, created from fragments of music from North American, Caribbean and African music. I argue that the kuduro became an important platform for the redefinition of Angolan identity and cultural politics in the later stages of the civil war. I show that Angolan communities in Lisbon have been central to the genre’s dissemination internationally. Through discussion of musical examples, I illustrate the significance of further hybridisation of the genre outside of Angola. I argue that for many practitioners, in both Angola and Portugal, kuduro articulates a response to a globalised post-colonial world.

This dissertation also contributes to scholarship relating to the technologies and aesthetics of electronic music production. I utilise interviews and observation of studio and performance practices to discuss shifts within the genre and examine musical examples to demonstrate the changing sound of kuduro. I argue that the increased availability of digital musical technologies in Angola shaped the development of kuduro through the 1990s and into the 2000s. Furthermore, I argue that producers and performers have developed a range of aesthetic and performative practices that reflect material, technological and social restraints common to life in contemporary Angola and Portugal.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Media and Communication
Keyword(s) kuduro
practice-based research
electronic dance music
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Created: Fri, 24 Jul 2015, 08:39:56 EST by Denise Paciocco
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