Lecture by Alejandro L. Madrid on Mexican Singer Juan Gabriel

August 14, 2015

The UNM College of Fine Arts and the UNM Latin American & Iberian Institute announce a special presentation with noted ethnomusicologist Dr. Alejandro Madrid, "Secreto a voces: Excess, Vocality, and Jotería in the Performance of Juan Gabriel." The event will take place in the UNM Zimmerman Library Waters Room on Thursday, September 10, 2015, at 2:00 p.m. It is free and open to the public. For more information, see the LAII event calendar.

Juan Gabriel is arguably the most successful Mexican singer, songwriter, and producer of the last decades of the twentieth century. One could begin measuring his success through the numerous Billboard, Grammy, Latin Grammy, and MTV awards, and more than 1500 Golden, Platinum, and Multi-Platinum Records. The excesses one witnesses in Juan Gabriel's commercial success are analogous to the stylistic excesses one observes in his vocality and the performance of his musical persona. This paper focuses on these excesses and examines them in relation to mainstream ideas about masculinity in Mexico and Latin America. Relating Juan Gabriel's symbolic excess in performance to the Marxist idea of surplus, this paper takes the singer's vocality as a case study to theorize the notion of jotería as a libidinal economy of excesses that puts in evidence the contradictions, silences, and absences of the Mexican and Latin American heteronormative fantasies.

Madrid received his PhD in musicology and comparative cultural studies from the Ohio State University. His research focuses on the intersection of modernity, tradition, and globalization in music, dance, and expressive culture from Mexico, the U.S.-Mexico border, the Circum-Caribbean, and among Latinos in the U.S. Madrid's publications have received numerous awards; among others, the Robert M. Stevenson and Ruth A. Solie awards from the AMS, the Béla Bartók Award from the ASCAP Foundation, the Woody Guthrie Award from IASPM, and the Premio Casa de las Américas. Currently, he is associate professor of ethnomusicology at Cornell University.