Former Visiting Scholar Defends Ph.D. Dissertation

Image: estibaliz.jpg
Estudos Galegos - Berlin

We're happy to share the news that Estíbaliz Santamaría Cadaval has completed her Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain. Dr. Santamaría Cadaval was a Visiting Scholar at CRI during Spring 2018. During her stay at FIU, she conducted a detailed study of the musical and social aspects of the Galician exodus to Cuba from the late 19th century to the early 20th century at the Díaz-Ayala Collection of the Green Library.

Santamaría Cadaval's Ph.D. dissertation was entitled "De Cántiga a La Galleguita: El viaje de ida y vuelta de la canción Unha noite na eira do trigo." Her research puts the spotlight on Galicia and Havana, Cuba, as the main port of call of the Galician migration in the 19th century. The author asks: Why has the song Unha noite na eira do trigo (1869) reached a cross-disciplinary magnitude throughout history? And this one leads her to other questions such as: Why has this song had so much presence in such different social strata and scenarios? Why has Unha noite been transcribed and recorded in all kind of platforms? Is this recognition due to the melody and the poem equally? Do any of them remain in the collective remembrance with greater intensity? Why is its authorship surrounded by such long-lasting controversies?

Trailing the genesis of Unha noite na eira do trigo, its initial transmission in Galicia, and the subsequent one in Cuba, Santamaría Cadaval attempts to clarify those controversial points that she faced over the course of an extensive literature review. The song has demonstrated throughout its existence an immense ability to adapt to a multitude of different contexts. It is difficult to find a song that, having spread in the popular sphere, has been able to adapt so easily to the academic stratum. Furthermore, the song has had enough capacity to succeed, whether in the voice of a popular singer or in the voice of a renowned soprano. No other Galician song, prior to the recording industry, has shown a similar capacity to take root on both sides of the Atlantic. From 1869 to the present day, fashions have been changing, but the song has been able to adapt multiple times and has survived. In light of the above-mentioned observations, the song presents its chameleon-like capability and ecumenical capacity, from the first moments of its existence. Unha noite na eira do trigo has endured beyond context, place, and time, becoming the unofficial anthem of Galicianness.

Estíbaliz Santamaría Cadaval holds two bachelor's degrees, one in Musicology and another in Music Education, from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. She also earned professional music degrees in bagpipe and piano from the Professional Music Conservatory in A Coruña in Spain. Her Ph.D. dissertation was supervised by Drs. Victoria Eli Rodríguez and Ruth Piquer Sanclemente.