Songs of Migration: towards a Poetics of (Un)Happiness in Galician Pop Music (1969-1980)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

Since the 1960s, pop music has occupied a preeminent position in the development of Galician cultural identity. The popularity enjoyed by Andrés do Barro, Los Tamara and Ana Kiro during their lifetime, and the cult following they still maintain today, are testament to their sustained impact on Galician cultural imagination. Galician migration is recurrently represented in their songs, condensing in three minutes a highly emotional and sentimental invocation of the loneliness, sadness and morriña of the migrants, or an exacerbated joy for returning to the motherland. Their reliance on gendered tropes of Galician sentimentality (Miguélez-Carballeira 2013), might lead to understanding these songs as expressions of an unpoliticized form of Galicianness. However, the choice of Galician as the language of many of their songs, the stark contrast between joy and sadness, and even instances of a more combative language, lend themselves to considering the existence of a different, albeit seemingly contradictory, subtext in these songs. Drawing on Sarah Ahmed’s notion of “the promise of happiness”, the analysis of selected songs by these artists will consider them as an expression of unhappiness that can potentially be a form of political contestation.


  • migration, (un)happiness, pop music, sentimental, identity
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBeyond sentidiño: New Diasporic Reflections on Galician Culture
EditorsLaura Lesta, Daniel Amarelo
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 30 Jan 2023
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