• Piano
2023-12-13 | 3 p.m. | NOVA FCSH, Colégio Almada Negreiros, Campolide (Lisbon) | Room 208 -  Floor 2 | Zoom Room 
Free entrance, both online and in presence.
Africanness in Action: Essentialism and Musical Imaginations in Brazil
Juan Diego Dias | UC Davis
In this presentation Juan Diego Diaz will share insights about his award-winning book Africanness in Action: Essentialism and Musical Imaginations in Brazil (OUP, 2021). The book discusses how black musicians from Bahia, Brazil engage common tropes about African music and culture in their creative work. Through four case studies we see how these musicians assert Afro-Brazilian identities, promote social change, and critique racial inequality by creatively engaging essentialized tropes about African music and culture. The main argument is that, instead of reproducing these notions, musicians demonstrate agency by strategically emphasizing or downplaying them. In the second part of the presentation, Juan Diego takes us across the Atlantic to examine how four small communities in West Africa (Ghana, Togo, Benin, and Nigeria) look back at Brazil as a source of inspiration for musical creation. 



Juan Diego Díaz | Associate Professor of ethnomusicology at the University of California, Davis. He researches musics of the Black Atlantic, with a focus on Brazil and West Africa. His books include Tabom Voices: a history of the Ghanaian Afro-Brazilian Community in their Own Words (2016) and Africanness in Action: Essentialism and Musical Imaginations of Africa in Brazil (OUP, 2021), the latter recipient of multiple honorable mentions from SEM and BFE. His work on transatlantic connections between Brazil and West Africa is also featured in his documentary Tabom in Bahia (2017), co-directed with Nilton Pereira. A long-term capoeira angola student and scholar, he has published numerous articles about this artform and led capoeira angola and berimbau university ensembles.