Norwegian version

Politics of Popular Music in a Changing Latin America

This project explores the political and cultural significance of popular music in today's Latin America.

Specifically, the project examines music's role in articulating cultural identity and in today's Cuba and how music is used in demonstrations and political movements in Brazil following the impeachment process against Dilma Rouseff (2016-and until the present).


The case studies related to Cuba focus on how Cuban timba, and related styles of Cuban popular dance music, create new sensory communities and ways of being together through polyrhythmic interaction, dance and call-and-response singing.

Through studies of local aesthetic concepts such as sabor, timba, bomba, contagioso and pegajoso within Cuban music discourse the project analyze Cuban perceptions of aesthetic pleasure in popular music. These concepts are then coupled with in-depth aesthetic analysis of Cuban grooves with a particular focus on rhythmic interaction.

To investigate this the project combines ethnographic methods (participatory observation and interviews) with aesthetic and musical analysis.


This part of the project explores how popular music is used in demonstrations and political movements in contemporary Brazil. Specifically, it focus on how people sing political slogans during demonstrations and how protesters use rhythm and musical instruments to express political views.

To investigate this, the project combines ethnographic methods (participatory observation and interviews), video-analysis, aesthetic and musical analysis and studies of social interactions within political movements.

Specific attention is devoted to studies of the role of music in the "Fora Temer" movement (2016-2017) and "Ele Nao"-movement (2018 -...) , both of which are leftist movements that emerged out of a broader political critique of Michel Temer (Fora Temer) and Jair Messiah Bolsonaro.

To shed light on how music articulates politics on both sides a sub-project related to Brazil investigates how Bolsonaro's supporters use music to articulate political values and visions and this film has been made in collaboration with Brazilian researchers to summarize findings from Brazil ( (a book will be published based upon parts of the film material).

Taken together the project provides new knowledge related to how music creates cultural identity, shared values and sensory ways of being together (Cuba) and how music is an integrated part of political movements and protests in contemporary Brazil.

  • Participants at OsloMet

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