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Title: A Cuban Aleph :reflections of contemporary Cuban identity in the work of Porno Para Ricardo
Authors: Astley, Thomas David
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This dissertation focuses primarily on controversial punk band ‘Porno Para Ricardo’, using them as a case study to illuminate some of the complex networks that comprise contemporary Cuban cultural identity. The introduction and conclusion frame each chapter’s close-analysis of songs from the band’s oeuvre with an ethnographic contextualisation of aspects of ‘the everyday’ in contemporary Havana, and gives a brief history of the ways in which the band has been forced by state hegemony to a position ‘outside the Revolution’. Despite this treatment, and despite the band’s often vehement criticisms of Cuban nationalism and socialist dogma, they still share much of the same ‘obsession’ with defining a sense of national identity that pervades Cuban art and culture. This work also proposes viewing Porno Para Ricardo as an ‘Aleph’ of Cuban identity, after the short story of Argentinean writer Jorge Luis Borges. In Borges’ work, the Aleph is a small point in which all of space is condensed and can be seen simultaneously. I tentatively (and aware of the real-world limitations) suggest using a band so ostensibly ‘outside’ of the space of Cuban cultural identity as a point through which to examine the whole. Each chapter then provides a glimpse through this proposed Aleph to examine moments of dialogue between the band and aspects of contemporary Cuban identity construction: uses of remembrance, attachment to place, affiliation to subculture, cover versions, laughter and noise.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Arts and Cultures

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