Alejandra Bronfman

Vibroacústica: Music and Remediated Violence in Puerto Rico
Nov 1, 2022 at - | Penn Music Building - Lerner 101, 201 S. 34th Street Philadelphia, PA 19104

Alejandra Bronfman

Vibroacústica: Music and Remediated Violence in Puerto Rico

November 1, 2022 (Tuesday) — 5:15 pm to 7:00 pm

Lerner Center
Penn Music Building
201 S. 34th Street, Room 101



In 2001 the band Cornucopia (Puerto Rican musicians Jorge Castro and Claudio Chea) released an album called Vibroacústica. The title refers to a disease that allegedly afflicts people who have been exposed to loud noise over long periods of time. The vibrations thicken the walls of the heart, so the theory goes, and damage the immune, gastrointestinal, and neurological systems. This is noise as toxin, entering and sickening the body. The album takes the disease as its point of departure, and using location recordings off the coast of Puerto Rico, analog synthetic manipulations and digital processing, both recreates and protests the noise and its impact on human beings in Vieques, Puerto Rico, which was the target of bombing practice by the US military for over sixty years. As part of a broader project on remediations of militarized zones and contaminated colonial spaces, this paper reflects on music not as an expression of resilience or healing, but rather as an immersion into and mimicry of toxic noise.



Alejandra Bronfman is a cultural historian of the Caribbean with research interests in the production of knowledge, racialization and technology's role in the amplification of marginalized voices. Currently Professor in the Department of Latin American, Caribbean and Latina/o Studies at the University at Albany, she is the author of three monographs, including most recently, Isles of Noise: Sonic Media in the Caribbean (Chapel Hill, University of North Carolina Press, 2016). Her current research on the islands of Culebra and Vieques in Puerto Rico is an environmental and sensory history of the 20th century military occupations and their afterlives.

She is the founder and one of the hosts of New Books in Caribbean Studies. To date, she has interviewed 64 authors of new books, and her podcasts have been downloaded over 370,000 times. She serves on the board of the Modern Endangered Archives Program (funded by the Arcadia Foundation) and the Radio Preservation Task Force (affiliated with the Library of Congress)



This event is free and open to the public. If you attend in person, there is no need to register. We ask that you join us in person if at all possible, but for those of you who are unable to physically attend we encourage you to participate via Zoom. Registration link to attend virtually is below:


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This lecture is part of the 2022-23 Penn Music Colloquium Series. The Department of Music's main Colloquium Series showcases new research by leading scholars in music and sound studies and composers both in the United States and internationally.  All Music Colloquia will take place in Room 101 of the Lerner Center on Tuesdays at 5:15 PM.