Journal of Romance Studies

The African diaspora in Europe: New Atlantic routes and roots in the music of Concha Buika

Journal of Romance Studies (2014), 14, (2), 50–61.

Abstract

Paul Gilroy’s The Black Atlantic challenged black nationalism’s fixation with roots and exclusive ownership of cultural production, suggesting instead that black diasporic identity is the result of ‘a process of movement and mediation […] more appropriately approached via the homonym routes’. The recordings of Concha Buika, born in Spain to Equatoguinean parents, expose deficiencies in Gilroy’s thesis for a comprehension of the experiences of those Europeans born in Africa or to parents born there. Developing Gilroy’s ship chronotope, I posit that Buika’s musical inspirations and alliances are analogous to periods of leave. As the daughter of immigrants – rather than the descendent of slaves – Buika does not predicate her identity solely upon membership of a black diaspora; she also regularly draws on genres that originated in the land of her birth. I conclude my analysis of the issue of agency by reflecting on the extent to which material and other factors might influence Buika’s work.

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Green, Stuart