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Women Singers in Global ContextsMusic, Biography, Identity$
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Ruth Hellier

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780252037245

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252037245.001.0001

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Amelia Pedroso

Amelia Pedroso

The Voice of a Cuban Priestess Leading from the Inside

Chapter:
(p.54) 2. Amelia Pedroso
Source:
Women Singers in Global Contexts
Author(s):

Amanda Villepastour

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252037245.003.0003

This chapter studies the life of Amelia Pedroso, a renowned Cuban ritual singer and priestess in the Santeria tradition. She generated remarkable achievements in male-dominated and heterosexual contexts, openly creating a lesbian and gay-friendly ritual house in Havana. In the early 1990s when she was in her forties, Amelia moved into a drumming domain that specifically prohibited Cuban women—although paradoxically, non-Cuban women were taught in Cuba. She formed an all-women ensemble and toured and ran workshops in the United States and Europe. Amelia attracted women to her, acquiring a role as an iconic activist, developing a network of students and religious godchildren, and leaving a remarkable transnational legacy following her death in 2000.

Keywords:   Amelia Pedroso, Cuban ritual singing, Santeria, gay-friendly, Cuban women, all-women ensemble, activism, transnational legacy

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