Popular Musics of the Hispanic
and Lusophone Worlds

Vanessa Knights 1969-2007

In the final stages of the preparation of this website, Vanessa Knights, my co-conspirator, confidant, close friend and colleague passed away. She had been struggling with an auto-immune disease for some 10 years and it had weakened her heart. She had a massive heart attack on Monday 5th March, 2007 and slipped into a coma from which she never recovered. She died on Saturday 10th March with her husband David and family by her side.

Vanessa leaves an extraordinary legacy.

I worked with her on a number of projects, including the biennial festival of musics from Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking origin, ¡Vamos!, our annual co-sponsored symposia at Newcastle on popular musics and the Conference of Popular musics of the Hispanic and Lusophpone Wolds in Newcastle in 2006. One of the outcomes of our collaboration is the book Music, National Identity and the Politics of Location: Between the Global and the Local. due out soon from Ashgate.

Her work dealt with Spanish-speaking cultures on both the Iberian peninsula (especially her work on Spanish feminisms) and especially in Latin America. She published on the bolero, nationalism, diaspora, science fiction and was working before she died on a collection of essays on music in the TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer with my colleague Paul Attinello. She also published on feminism and women's movements in contemporary Spain and Latin America and Contemporary Spanish and Spanish American narrative.

She was well known and respected in her field. She was vice-president of Women in Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies in 2003-2004 and was a member of numerous scholarly organisations including the Association for Contemporary Iberian Studies, the Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland, the International Association for the Study of Popular Music, the Society for Caribbean Studies and the Society for Latin American Studies.

In the pursuit of her love for traditional and popular musics from Latin America, she travelled to Brazil, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Colombia, Mexico, Chile, Uruguay, and Venezuela where she made friends and dazzled everyone with her extraordinary energy, wit, charm and intellect. She leaves behind bereaved friends all over the world.

I feel extremely privileged to have worked with her, to have been able to count her amongst my friends and I will miss her terribly.

This site is dedicated to her.

Ian Biddle

Click here for more about the conference we organised together.