Diva house

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Diva house
Stylistic origins House, soul, disco, gospel, show-tunes
Cultural origins Emerging 1980s Gay culture
Typical instruments Sampler, sequencer, synthesiser, vocal
Derivative forms Hardbag, deep house
Other topics
Camp (style)DivaGay cultureComputer musicRecord labelsGay iconCircuit partyGay anthemGay pride

Diva house or handbag house is an anthemic sub-genre of house music that became most popular in gay clubs during the second half of the 1980s. It is known for booming unisex vocals, sometimes sampled from other recordings. Such samples come from 1970s soul, disco, gospel recordings and even show tunes sung by people including Bette Midler, Natasha Richardson, Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, and other gay icons. This bombastic genre can include songs performed by dance specialists (see artists) as well as club remixes of pop songs by singers such as Patti LaBelle, Aretha Franklin, and Whitney Houston. In gay clubs, the subgenre is viewed as a "cult" genre determining gay dance music.

The name "handbag house" comes from the notion of a group of female club-goers dancing around a pile of their handbags.[1] With popularization of open gay culture in the early 1980s, "diva" was the word that bound house music to gay dance scene, which was previously only defined by some italo disco compositions.

One of the latest examples of handbag, which somewhat became iconic to gay clubs, is the song Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now) by C+C Music Factory.



See also[edit]


  1. ^ "handbag house@Everything2.com". Everything2.com. 2001-12-14. Retrieved 2011-02-10.