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From Valentino to Viagra: tango, representation and musical Latinamericanism

When Feb 17, 2015
from 04:30 PM to 06:30 PM
Where Lecture Room 3, Faculty of Music
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Dr. Melanie Plesch
Senior Lecturer in Musicology, The University of Melbourne

From Valentino to Viagra: tango, representation and musical Latinamericanism

Abstract:
This paper offers a critical perspective on mainstream constructions
of Latin American music using as a case study representations of tango
dancing in mainstream film and advertising. Through an examination of
an extensive corpus, the paper identifies a series of tropes of representation, which are tentatively labelled danger, erotic-exotic, irrationality, excess, and homogeneity. The trope of homogeneity is explored in depth, from Rex Ingram’s The four horsemen of the Apocalypse (1921) to the TV commercial Tango (Viva Viagra!) of 2009. Using an interpretative framework derived from postcolonial theory, I propose that Western discourses on Latin American music constitute a discursive formation “musical Latinamericanism” That calls for further study.

Melanie Plesch is an Argentine musicologist now based at The University of Melbourne (Australia), where she is a Senior Lecturer in Musicology. Her work focuses on the intersections of music, politics and society, with particular emphasis on the relationship between music and the construction of national identity in Argentina. An award-winning lecturer, in 2014 she was recognised by the Australian government with a National Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning. She is currently a Research Visitor at the Faculty of Music, University of Oxford, in the context of the Balzan Programme in Musicology “Towards a Global History of Music” (dir. Reinhard Strohm).

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