Mario Cancel-Bigay

Core Lecturer, Contemporary Civilization

Ethnomusicologist, singer-songwriter and poet, Mario Cancel-Bigay was born in Puerto Rico in 1982. He learned to play the Puerto Rican cuatro, the archipelago’s national guitar, at age twelve at public music school Libre de Música in San Juan. In 2005, he earned a B.A. in Modern Languages (Portuguese and French) from the University of Puerto Rico, and in 2014, an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies at New York University. In 2021, he earned a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology in the Department of Music of Columbia University. His research revolves around anticolonialism, decoloniality and cross-cultural encounters as heard through Puerto Rican nueva canciónchanson québécoise and related sounds of resistance from Puerto Rico and Québec during the 1960s and 1970s. Currently, he is a postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University where he teaches Contemporary Civilization. He is the proud father of a brilliant Puerto Rican-Haitian girl named Gabriela.