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Latino Studies

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 141–143 | Cite as

The great woman singer: Gender and voice in Puerto Rican music

Licia Fiol-Matta, Duke University Press, Durham, North Carolina, 2017, 291 pp., $25.95, ISBN: 978-0822362937 (paperback)
  • Leticia AlvaradoEmail author
Book Review

It would be fair to say that Licia Fiol-Matta’s new The Great Woman Singer: Gender and Voice in Puerto Rican Music, both is and isn’t an homage to great women singers of the island. “It should become clear by now,” she tells us near the book’s end, “that I do not believe in the ideology of the great woman singer, the specificity of the female voice, the logic of women’s resistance, or the inherent beauty of feminine music” (p. 228). In her pages Fiol-Matta elaborates a deferential and deeply researched study centered on four performers we might call women and perhaps describe as great but who are approached against these reductive narratives. As exemplars, these four performers allow Fiol-Matta to access “the great woman singer” as a discursive sign alongside those fleshy and complex “embodied existences within the very dense grid of significations in which multiple subjectivities circulate,” to illuminate aspects of the relationships between gender, sexuality, and race and the...

Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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