Exploring the rich traditions of Brazilian music

Pupil displays tackled themes of identification, nation-building, racism, multiculturalism, and extra, as mirrored within the wealthy traditions of Brazilian music at “The Beat of Brazil” final month on the Lewis Music Library. The displays had been by college students of Portuguese enrolled in school 21G.821 (The Beat of Brazil: Portuguese Language By way of Brazilian Society), taught by Nilma Dominique.

Three skilled musicians had been invited to carry out as a part of the occasion: Anna Borges and Invoice Ward (from the duo Receita de Samba), together with Grammy Award-winning drummer Rafael Barata. After every pupil spoke in regards to the historic and cultural context for a selected Brazilian type of music, the musicians carried out alternatives within the mentioned kinds.

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Theo St. Francis (an MIT senior in aeronautics and astronautics) defined Brazil’s historical past of enslaving Africans to work within the sugar fields. He stated, “With the employees got here their traditions in meals, crafts, faith, and mythology, and particularly music and dance. … This compelled mixing of cultures rendered a superb mixture of rhythms and sounds among the many three main influences — African, European, and Native Brazilian.” He defined that the music style choro is imbued with “influences from lundu dances from Angola, the maxixeor Brazilian tango (itself a mixture of African rhythms with European polka dance of that point), in addition to flute rhythms from European musicians.”

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Samba will not be actually only one style, however “is best regarded as the spine of most genres in Brazil,” defined Alessandre Santos, an MIT senior in arithmetic. Samba has robust roots in African music, and accommodates inside it many sub-genres. However all through Brazil’s historical past, music has been a web site for conflicting forces. Trendy samba has been reclaimed by Afro-Brazilians as a form of resistance to racist oppression. Santos defined that samba-canção is a really poetic variant of samba, characterised by delicate melodies and gradual rhythms, and two examples of this type had been carried out.

Laura Leal de Souza, a junior at Wellesley Faculty majoring in Latin American Research, made a distant presentation over a big monitor. She defined that the samba-exaltação nomenclature first appeared in 1939. She defined, “Composers started to put in writing lyrics that worshiped Brazil and the federal government.” This was used “to create a way of ‘Brazilianness’ in Brazilian residents in an effort to facilitate the dictatorship later carried out by [then-president] Vargas.” She additionally described the emergence of samba-enredo in the identical interval, which grew to become strongly recognized with government-backed “samba faculties,” turning into “the principle rhythm of the Brazilian carnival, characterised by its robust percussion and themes that painting particular components of Brazilian tradition.” Leal de Souza additionally offered on the protest music of the Nineteen Sixties later in this system.

The function of tv and radio was mentioned by Ygor Moura, an MIT junior majoring in chemistry, who defined how that media helped to propagate and essentialize features of Brazilian tradition. The U.S. authorities’s “Good Neighbor Coverage” of the Nineteen Thirties sought to advance U.S. pursuits in Central and South America by way of commerce and different means. He pointed to the promotion of Broadway actress and movie star Carmen Miranda because the “origin of a lot of the visible stereotypes Individuals have about Brazilians.” Moura additionally mentioned the function of Brazilian music festivals, which grew to become websites for protest in the course of the Brazilian dictatorship of 1964-85.

Probably the greatest-known Brazilian songs, “The Woman from Ipanema,” is an instance of bossa nova (Portuguese for “new wave”), defined Dasha Castillo, an MIT senior in computation and cognition. Castillo defined that this music moved away from samba’s bigger group ensembles, towards preparations sometimes concentrate on a “lone singer with a guitar, or a singer with one other accompanist on one other instrument like a piano.” The very best-known artists related to bossa nova are Antonio Carlos Jobim, Vinícius de Moraes, and João Gilberto.

The upbeat music interludes impressed some viewers members to rise up and dance in the course of the occasion. One spotlight of the night was a efficiency by three MIT college students (Allessandre Santos, Ygor Moura, and Dasha Castillo) of the well-known Brazilian tune “Águas de Março,” recognized in English as “Waters of March,” accompanied by drummer Rafael Barata.

Nilma Dominique has provided a number of lessons through the years that train Portuguese language abilities by way of the automobile of both movie or music. “Language and tradition go hand-in-hand,” she stated. In her class 21G.821, Dominique guides college students in inspecting Brazilian music genres with inside a historic context, and “analyzing cultural manufacturing from a transnational perspective … All through the course, there was a robust emphasis on growing essential pondering, usually centering discussions on how Brazilian musical manufacturing displays questions of identification, social class, race, inequality, and politics.”

Nilma Dominique defined that the Lewis Music library was not simply the venue for the occasion. The workers and pupil staff at Lewis performed a key function in publicizing the occasion, and occasion setup and staffing. She added, “This was really the second time I had the pleasure of working in partnership with the Lewis Library to placed on a program of Brazilian music.”

After the occasion, Avery Boddie, the Rosalind Denny Lewis Music Library division head, defined that the library was concerned as a continuation of the custom of “providing participating programming and outreach to the MIT neighborhood by way of workshops, lectures, and on this case, live shows.” He additionally identified that the library has a “huge assortment on music from most areas of the world, together with Brazilian music, so any alternative to assist analysis and training in various genres of music throughout totally different cultures is one thing that we worth strongly in our division. And who doesn’t take pleasure in a little bit samba?”

Funding for this system was from the Council for the Arts at MIT, the Kelly Douglas Fund by way of the MIT College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences, and the MIT Brazilian Pupil Affiliation.

Some attendees offered post-event feedback. Abby Mrvos stated, “The Beat of Brazil present was an absolute deal with. The performances had been a pleasure to look at, and the introductions by the scholars actually gave coloration and context to the expertise. I’d like to see extra occasions like this sooner or later!”

Sam Heath agreed, saying: “Listening to a fascinating reside efficiency of a number of Brazilian music together with its historic context, my thoughts took a journey by way of time in Brazil, a much-needed escape after a protracted semester.”


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