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Chencha's gait

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Myrta Silva (Puerto Rico, 1923-87) is known as one of the all-time best singers of Cuban guarachas. This article explores the psychoanalytic object-voice and queer performance by looking at the “before and after” of a humorous song created jointly by Silva and the Cuban composer Nico Saquito (Antonio Fernandez), “Camina como Chencha” (“Chencha's gait”). This song and its performance fused the real-life Silva with the fictive Chencha. Silva, who had embodied sexual desire as both “Myrta” and “Chencha” in a brilliant career, is remembered only as the “Chencha” of the end of her career, seen as a disgusting object. The article takes the reader back into Silva's beginnings as a musician to examine the status of the voice as Lacanian part-object prior to this hit song, and analyzes what happened after two signifiers, first joined by metonymy, became involved in a struggle ultimately won by metaphor.

Keywords: Caribbean music; Myrta silva; Puerto Rican Music; female singers; object-voice; queer performance

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Lehman College, City University of New York, NY, USA

Publication date: November 1, 2008


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