Brazilian Popular Music and Citizenship


Brazilian Popular Music and Citizenship
Edited by Idelber Avelar and Christopher Dunn
2011, Duke University Press
364 pages

AS IT HAS evolved and grown more sophisticated, Brazil’s singular landless workers movement, the MST (Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra) has developed a cultural programme alongside its political and social agenda. This, according to Malcolm McNee, aims to demarcate a generic authenticity to correspond with the movement’s articulation of an identity politics for the landless. Specifically, says McNee, the MST has become a politicised site for the resurgence and reinvention of música caipira or música sertaneja de raiz as a counterpoint to the commercially dominant música sertaneja – an opposition the writer says that is roughly equivalent to that between bluegrass and country and western in the US and the distinct visions of rural authenticity that they evoke. McNee’s highly original essay is just one of the fascinating contributions to Brazilian Popular Music and Citizenship, which works as a kind of reader bringing together a diversity of essays that both introduce and inform. We are taken through to the relationship between music, identity and citizenship in Brazil across 100 years from before the Estado Novo to contemporary Hip Hop and Technobrega. The contributors show that while popular music has served as an effective resource for communities to stake claims to political, social an cultural rights in Brazil, it has also been appropriated by the state in its efforts to manage and control a highly diverse nation. It will be a great little addition to the collections of music lovers and anyone who wants to understand Brazilian identity and culture. – GJ

Bookmark and Share