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Lillian Gorman

Lillian Gorman is an Assistant Professor and Director of Spanish for Heritage Learners at the University of Arizona. Her research agenda is committed to engaging Latino/a cultural studies with sociolinguistics, and her research interests focus on issues of language and identity within U.S. Latino/a communities and U.S. Latino/a popular culture in the southwest and Chicago. 

“The Transcultural Flows of Bachata in Mexican Chicago: U.S. Latino/a Identity, Popular Music, and Latinidad”
“The Transcultural Flows of Bachata in Mexican Chicago: U.S. Latino/a Identity, Popular Music, and Latinidad” centers on Prince Royce's 2012 chart-topping single “Incondicional," the most-played bachata single of the summer in Chicago. Gorman suggests that Prince Royce’s use of Mexican musical forms throughout his Dominican bachata was not simply an experimental mixing of musical genres, but rather a certain transculturative response to bachata’s massive appeal and strong presence within U.S. Latino communities with large Mexican populations such as Chicago. She asserts that bachata’s popularity is not necessarily based on shared affinities and identities between Mexicans and Dominicans based on transnational origins, but instead bachata provides a space for moments of Latinidad centered on a shared sense of a U.S. Latino/a hybridity. Gorman proposes that bachata circuluates throughout Chicago within a process of “transcultural flows” in which cultural identities, language, and popular music are continuously involved in a re-organization of the local. Essentially, bachata is refashioned as a local Chicago musical form. In this presentation, she analyzes the voices that emerge from focus-group interviews and online surveys with college-aged Chicago Latinos of mostly Mexican descent, as well as analysis of radio airplay of bachata in Chicago from the period between 2010-2012. Her findings highlight the ways in which U.S. Mexicans in Chicago embrace the genre largely due to the linguistic and cultural hybridity present within bachata produced by U.S. Latino artists. Ultimately, this hybridity underscores a resignification and a localization of bachata as a U.S. Latino musical voice embodying the histories and linguistic practices of U.S. Latinos nationwide and relocating reference points for U.S. Latino identity from national origin to local spaces. 

“Sentimiento Vocal to Fan Voces"
The interdisciplinary presentations on this panel approach the concept of musical voices in Latina/o popular music from the perspective of Media and Cultural Studies.  The panelists' methodologies, which range from textual/sonic analysis to focus groups to online audience studies, highlight their broad and diverse conceptualizations of musical voices.  Posited as a site of fan as well as performer agency, each presentation investigates the unique manner in which the voice complicates our understanding of Latina/o identity (or Latinidad) through the lenses of ethno-racial identity, gender, language, and nation.  Ultimately, the presentations on this panel challenge the parameters of "voice" in U.S. popular music, seeking instead to shift our focus to the transnational, transcultural voces that define popular musical performance and consumption for millions across the hemisphere.  


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