Ref.: SFRH/BD/116953/2016

Researcher: Magdalena Bialoborska Chambel

Supervisor(s): Augusto Nascimento

Participant Institutions: PhD in African Studies

Keywords: São Tomé e Príncipe, music, colonialism, post-independence, social borders


This thesis studies the transformations of the musical panorama in São Tomé and Príncipe since the middle of the 19th century, when the islands were recolonized and the coffee and cocoa plantations were built, until the 1990s. The presentation of the political, social, economic and cultural situation of the archipelago in the colonial period and in the early years of independence serves as a background for the analysis of the musical activity of various socio-cultural groups – islanders, Portuguese, indentured laborer and their descendants – who inhabited the archipelago. Special attention is given to the boundaries, lines that separate, visible and invisible and to their displacements and changes in that period. Its dynamics, resulting from the local and international situation, was reflected in the society and, consequently, in the music of the inhabitants of the archipelago. The construction of the database, through the collection of music recordings, the review of the press, the consultation of written and visual archival materials and also the realization of interviews, was the starting point for the description and analysis of the music created and recreated on the islands. The proposed contextualization shows that the musical panorama of a given territory is dynamic and reflects its political and social situation, but it does not depend only on it. Although depending on different circumstances, music has the capacity to mobilize for socio-political changes.

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