Avelar, Idelber and Christopher Dunn, (eds.). Brazilian Popular Music and Citizenship.

Author:Hall, Michael R.
Position:Book review
 
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Avelar, Idelber and Christopher Dunn, (eds.). Brazilian Popular Music and Citizenship. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011.

Brazilian musician and political activist Gilberto Gil, who served as the minister of culture from 2003 to 2008 during the administration of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, championed the idea that culture played an important role in promoting citizenship rights, combating social woes, and fostering economic development. In Brazilian Popular Music and Citizenship, editors Idelber Avelar and Christopher Dunn contend that Brazilian music has been "an instrument through which disenfranchised groups have asserted claims to citizenship, as well as a tool in the formulation of disciplinary or repressive state policies" (p. 1). Avelar and Durra, colleagues in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at Tulane University, have compiled a collection of eighteen essays, most of which were written by Brazilian scholars. The essays, which cover the historical period since the 1930s, examine popular music as an "agent and image of citizenship" as well as popular music's "imbrication in the foreclosure of citizenship" (p. 1). According to the editors, "even the most seemingly 'apolitical' genres of Brazilian music have played a role in defining how subjects have situated themselves politically in the country" (p. 6). As such, Brazilian Popular Music and Citizenship is the first English-language collection of essays primarily dedicated to the study of the political dimensions of Brazil's most productive and inventive form of popular culture.

Adalberto Paranhos examines the role of popular music during Getulio Vargas' Estado Novo (1937-1945). Vargas encouraged performers of samba, a genre that emerged in the poor neighborhoods of Rio de Janeiro at the outset of the twentieth century, to perform songs that promoted patriotism and the regime's ideology. Nevertheless, Paranhos points out that many samba composers created songs that criticized the Vargas regime. Fllavio Oliveira analyzes the Vargas regime's use of state-orchestrated patriotic choral singing, which had its roots in European musical genres, as well as the more African-influenced samba, to promote its political agenda. Performers such as Carmen Miranda popularized orchestrated sambas throughout Brazil and the world.

Carlos Sandroni reveals the history of Musica Popular Brasileira (MPB) in the aftermath of the 1964 military coup that unleashed an authoritarian dictatorship...

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