Axé-Music, BRock, Baião, Bolero, Bossa nova, Brega, British invasion, Canção de protesto, Choro/Chorinho, Clube da esquina, Coco, Cool Jazz, Forró, Frevo, Jazz, Jovem Guarda, Latin Jazz, Lundu, MPB (Música popular brasileira), Mangue (Manguebeat), Maxixe, Military Band Music, Modinha, Música de capoeira, Música instrumental brasileira, Música sertaneja, Pagode, Protest Songs, Punk, Rap, Rock, Rock ’N’ Roll, Samba, Samba-reggae, Tango, Tropicalia, Xaxado, Zarzuelas
Brazil is located in the central eastern part of South America, sharing boundaries with all the countries in the continent but Ecuador and Chile. It is a federal republic, comprising 26 states and a federal district (Distrito Federal, DF) which includes the capital, Brasília. It occupies 3.3 million sq miles (8.5 million sq km), has an extensive Atlantic coastline and is divided into five major regions: northern, northeastern, southeastern, southern and central western. These regions make up three larger complexes: Amazonia, northeastern and central southern. Brazilian Amazonia is part of an international configuration that also includes areas of Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. It is dominated by an exuberant rain-forest environment of planetary importance, has a low demographic density, and has the extraction of natural resources and agribusiness as its main economic activities. It includes two large cities, Manaus and Belém, the capitals respectively of the states of Amazonas and Pará. The northeastern complex is characterized by a semiarid climate, severe droughts, extensive migration southward, large rural properties and considerable poverty. It was the first region to be occupied by Europeans, and contains three large cities: Salvador (Bahia), Recife (Pernambuco) and Fortaleza (Ceará). The central southern complex embraces the most important part of Brazil economically, and has more than 60 percent of the country’s population. It includes five large cities: São Paulo (São Paulo), Rio de Janeiro (Rio de Janeiro), Belo Horizonte (Minas Gerais), Porto Alegre (Rio Grande do Sul) and Curitiba (Parana).
During the colonial period (1500-1808), there was widespread miscegenation involving Portuguese men and enslaved African and indigenous women. The Amerindian societies that engaged in lasting contact with the Portuguese were predominantly from the Tupian language group and inhabited the coast. Until the late eighteenth century, a ‘lingua franca’ based on their language was spoken throughout all the Brazilian territory. African slaves came mainly from Africa’s western coast. On arrival they were systematically separated from other members of their ethnic groups. Although the Brazilian colonial economy was dominated by the metropolises – with successive centers in the northeastern (Bahia and Pernambuco) and the central southern (first Minas Gerais, then Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo) regions – the rural and the urban were profoundly intermingled, something which was to remain a characteristic of Brazil into the twentieth century, with important consequences for cultural life and development.
Regional armed liberation movements, with diverse ethnic-political characteristics, began to occur by the middle of the colonial period in many parts of the country. In 1808, the Portuguese fled Napoleon’s invading army and moved to Rio de Janeiro (the country’s capital since 1763), which then became the seat of the Portuguese state. Upper- and middle-class cultural life underwent profound changes with the foundation of important cultural institutions, among them the Royal Press. Hitherto, presses had been prohibited in the country, and Brazilian printed music dates only from 1834. In 1822, conflicts involving the court provoked the declaration of independence and the subsequent monarchy lasted until 1889. African slavery was not abolished until 1888 and Amerindian societies continued to be destroyed, enslaved or confined to the hinterland.
By the end of the monarchy, processes of industrialization had begun in the southeast of the country and attracted many Italian, German, Japanese, Polish and Lebanese immigrants. The Republic that was proclaimed in 1889 was characterized during its first period by an alliance between the elites of São Paulo and Minas Gerais. During the Vargas Era (1930-45), which included the dictatorship years (1937-45) – infamous for political repression and intense censorship – industrialization accelerated. This continued into the first period of the New Republic (1946-64), a period that was also characterized by a significant growth in the entertainment sector. In 1960, the country’s capital moved to the newly built city of Brasilia. The populism of this first period was suffocated by a military coup d’etat in 1964, and replaced by an authoritarian military regime responsible for severe restrictions of civil rights and high levels of censorship. This second period of the New Republic (1964-85) also saw the trasnationalization of the Brazilian economy, which had a strong impact on the entertainment industry (Ortiz 1988). By 1996, the Brazilian economy was worth about 900 billion dollars and represented one of the worst models of income distribution in the world.
Histories of Brazilian music – not only those written by Brazilians – have typically presented it as the offspring of Portuguese and African musical formations. Indigenous culture is regarded as irrelevant or absent because of the Amerindians’ alleged voluntary isolation or their incapacity to resist colonial pedagogy, particularly that of the Jesuits. In this system of ideas and values, the Portuguese influence is seen as being responsible for the installation of the rational in music, which is equated with the elements of melody and harmony, and the African influence for that of the sensual, its expression taking the form of rhythmic corporeality and percussiveness, which are constructed as binary (Menezes Bastos 1997, 507-508). In this view, which was firmly established by the 1930s – as, for example, in the classic work by Gallet (1934) – popular music was understood as the modernization of folk or the vulgarization of art, and the role of sound recording was seen as a defining characteristic. It was not a specific musical tradition – of the kind proposed as ‘mesomusic’ by Vega (1966) – but rather a result of diverse acculturative, diffusive and evolutionary processes which had taken folk and art musics and constructed a new product marked by secularization, dilution and commodification. The popular was therefore a double degeneration, losing both the ‘purity’ of the folk and the ascribed grandeur of art. This ideology was consolidated in the historiography of Brazilian music by the 1930s by Mario de Andrade (see Andrade 1962, 153-88), whose use of the pejorative adjective ‘popularesca’ (167) (‘of the populace’) to point to popular music was a symptom of the weight of his judgment, one with profound consequences in official educational and cultural spheres.
Academic study devoted specifically to popular music dates from the late 1930s (see Chase 1962; Correia de Azevedo et al. 1952 for bibliographies), by which time popular music had begun to exist in the country as a professional undertaking linked to the recording industry and to radio. Before this, historical and descriptive commentary had been confined to chroniclers or critics in newspapers and illustrated magazines, to books about Brazilian music in general (Mello 1908) and to the writings of foreign travelers. From the 1960s on, through the works of intellectuals such as José Ramos Tinhorão, Sérgio Cabral and Ary Vasconcelos, a scholarly tradition began to emerge, though not linked to academia. For many years the overriding climate of intellectual disdain meant there was little contact between these intellectuals and scholars in universities and colleges. However, as this climate began to change, a dialogue gradually developed between them.
Although a considerable amount of historiographic information exists to indicate that there was a significant musical life in Brazil in both the art and popular spheres even before the seventeenth century (Duprat 1985; Kiefer 1982, 9-27; Tinhorão 1990, 31-60), there is very little systematic knowledge of any period before the middle of the eighteenth century (Béhague 1979, 70). During the seventeenth century, the data point to Salvador and its neighboring towns and countryside (the so-called region of Recôncavo Baiano) and to Recife and Olinda (a city close to Recife in the state of Pernambuco) as the main centers of musical life in the country. Here the economy was based on sugar cane and there was a solid Catholic Church organization, due mainly to the Jesuits. While art music was predominantly linked to church services, the popular typically involved the daily life of white and mulatto elites. Gregório de Matos (1623-96), a baroque poet famous for his satiric poetry, was also the author of couplets and romanzas (‘cantigas’ or songs), which he sang to the accompaniment of a Portuguese-made guitar (viola) on which he was a proficient performer. Tinhorão (1990, 49-50) suggests that his style, which used rasgado rather than a punctuated form of playing, indicates he belonged to the sphere of popular rather than art music. (Rasgado or rasgueado is a word of Spanish origin: it indicates a way of playing the guitar by strumming the strings up and down with all the firgers, thus producing arpeggios.) This is a key distinction in demarcating the musical worlds of the time (Menezes Bastos 1999).
During the first half of the eighteenth century, the Bahian Recôncavo strengthened its position as the richest center in the country, diversifying its economy beyond sugar into areas such as tobacco, fishing and horticulture. Other important centers were Recife-Olinda and Rio de Janeiro, and the Guaraní Reductions in the Jesuitical Province of Paraguay. The latter included the present territory of Paraguay and parts of South Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Bolivia and contained numerous missions, many of which had a rich musical life filled not only with European art music (Caraman 1976; Furlong 1933, 1962; Haubert 1990; Kennedy and Frank 1988; Lange 1973; Preiss 1988). In 1759 the Recôncavo’s population stood at 103,000, 64 percent of whom were blacks and mestizoes, and 36 percent whites (Tinhorão 1990, 63-66). The region enjoyed an extremely varied sociocultural life, and it was in this period that what is perhaps the first Brazilian popular music genre, fofa, emerged from the African population. Fofa was dance music, and was understood to be lascivious and vulgar by the elites and was regarded as diabolical by the Inquisition. It was exported to Portugal where, by the middle of the century, it had become a national genre (Kiefer 1977, 8; Tinhorão 1990, 67), so much so that scholars have disagreed on whether it was indeed Brazilian in origin (Andrade 1989, 228; Cascudo 1979, 331; Marcondes 1998, 295-6).
In the second half of the century major gold and diamond discoveries in Minas Gerais helped to shift the political-economical center of the colony southward, and cities in the area such as Vila Rica (now Ouro Preto) and Sabará attracted many immigrants, both slaves and free people (whites and mulattos). From 1750 to 1800, Minas Gerais produced about half of the world’s gold, and cities such as Vila Rica and Sabará developed a rich urban life, one outgrowth of which was the strongest movement of art music in Brazil to date, the so called ‘Barroco Mineiro’ (‘Minas Baroque’) (Barbosa et al. 1979; Lange 1946, 1965, 1966; Resende 1974, 1989). Lay brotherhoods performed a fundamental role, encouraging the involvement of about 1,000 active musicians (Reily 1998, 302), most of them mulattos. Although there is evidence to indicate that popular music too had a strong presence in these cities – both in the domestic environment and at public soirees (‘saraus’) and festivities (Barbosa 1979, 50-53; Lange 1969, 1979; Resende 1974, 69, 1989) – scholars have hitherto privileged the study of the art music that was typically linked to church services. By the late eighteenth century the political-economical center of the colony had again shifted southward, this time to the now capital city of Rio de Janeiro and the South Paraíba River valley, where coffee was becoming the first Brazilian product to be exported. Once again, large contingents of migrants followed the change.
From this period also comes the first definite documentation of the existence of modinha and lundu, the two genres generally agreed to be the main roots of Brazilian popular music (Araujo 1963, 11; Kiefer 1977, 7). Key to this assessment are the activities of the mulatto poet, composer, singer and viola player Domingos Caldas Barbosa (1738-1800) to whom Béhague (1968) has attributed 30 songs in manuscript form found in the Ajuda Library in Lisbon in a collection entitled Modinhas do Brazil (‘Modinhas from Brazil’).
In his classic study of modinha (the diminutive of ‘moda,’ a kind of song) Andrade (1964 ) examined claims to its exclusively Brazilian or Portuguese, erudite or folk/popular origins, issues that continued to occupy scholars in both Brazil and Portugal (see Araujo 1963; Kiefer 1977; Tinhorão 1990). He concluded (somewhat wryly) that, as far as the issue of nationality was concerned, for the Portuguese the modinha was Portuguese and for the Brazilians it was Brazilian (5). As to the question of erudite or folk/popular origins, Andrade pointed to the likely influence of the European bourgeoisie and the modinha’s role as a ‘musique de salon.’ Similar debates have occurred about the origins of fofa and lundu and have even touched the Portuguese emblematic genre, fado (Tinhorão 1994). They have usually arisen out of a perspective which insists on seeing Brazil and Portugal, by the end of the eighteenth century, as separate social formations, whereas there is strong evidence that the two formed a continuous entity, as the transfer of the Portuguese court to Brazil in 1808, and the erection of Rio de Janeiro as the seat of the Portuguese state, eloquently illustrate. These controversies also essentialize what a musical genre is, tending to envisage it in static terms and freezing it inside a verbal label, rather than seeing it as a dynamic, heterogeneous and open discursive system whose stability – thematic, stylistic and compositional-structural – is dialectical in character (Menezes Bastos 1999; Piedade 1999).
The exact role of Caldas Barbosa in the formation of modinha remains unclear. Kiefer declares that lack of documentation makes it impossible to decide if Caldas Barbosa was the ex-nihilo inventor of the genre or if he developed his songs from a preexisting Brazilian substratum (1977, 9). Araujo (1963, 46) prefers to argue that when Caldas Barbosa moved to Lisbon (by 1770), he took with him the ‘first manifestation of Brazilian people’s musical sensibility and sentiment – lundu and modinha’ (author’s translation), while for Tinhorão (1990, 91-98) both genres originated from the colony’s folk/popular music (folk and popular appearing here as an amalgam, linked to the emergence of a Brazilian national identity).
The modinhas discovered by Béhague are duets in parallel thirds and/or sixths and duple meter, with a syllabic lyric construction and pervasive use of syncopated rhythm. In some cases the accompaniment suggests the use of the guitar (viola) rather than the harpsichord (1979, 93), as was usual in the printed modinhas which were published in Lisbon at the time, and which, for Behague, constitute the paradigmatic Portuguese style of modinha. One modinha has an annotation that refers to a Bahian form of accompaniment, another one is to be played in rasgado, and many of them use patterns which became common later in most sambas (Behague 1979, 93). It is possible to conclude that modinha (and lundu) constitutes one of the first cases of the globalization of song in Western popular music.
During the nineteenth century and into the twentieth, modinha came to occupy an extremely important social place in the country, standing as a paradigm of the public expression – be it lyric or dramatic – of a man’s voice when addressing a woman on the subject of love. It was cultivated in both the art and popular spheres, being present in the salons, in public or domestic soirees, as well as in the streets (typically in serenades). In the process, it was reduced from a duet to a solo-and-accompaniment form. In popular music some of the most important names linked to the genre were Joaquim Manuel da Câmara (ca. 1780-ca. 1840), Cândido Inácio da Silva (1800-38), Gabriel Fernandes da Trindade (ca. 1800-54), Laurindo Rabelo (1826-64), Xisto Bahia (1841-94) and Catulo da Paixão Cearense (1866-1946).
Caldas Barbosa was a key figure also in the genesis of lundu, which appeared at the same time and in the same courtesan salons of Lisbon. Knowledge of its early history stems from the six pieces of lyrics included in the second volume of Lereno’s Guitar (see Kiefer 1977, 31-36), which was not published until 1826, 26 years after Caldas Barbosa’s death. Sandroni (1996, 67-114) suggests that the differences between the ‘Brazilian’ and ‘Portuguese’ types of modinhas during the late eighteenth century are substantially the same as those that would distinguish modinha from lundu from 1830 on, namely, that the latter was just being generated at the first’s epoch (75). Sandroni points to lundu, or to the ‘Brazilian’ type of modinha as a member of a family of musical genres which forms the Brazilian ‘tresillo’ rhythmic paradigm, whose central feature is formed by two dotted eighth notes and an eighth note, and whose dominant meaning is sexual in character.
Scholars tend to agree that lundu-song originated from lundu-dance, which itself came from ‘batuque,’ a generic label for ancestral African-derived forms of dance music in Brazil in which ‘umbigada’ - where one dancer touches navels with another as an invitation to dance – is a distinctive choreographic feature. The scholarly consensus tends to see both the dance and the song genres as used more by whites and mestizos than as exclusively black. This is taken to be a decisive element in the part the genres have played in the construction of a prospective Brazilian national identity.
Sandroni shows how the author’s voice in lundu-song is of a mulatto male (‘negrinho’), seductively addressing a socially-superior white woman (‘iaiá’). A jocular relationship is a distinctive trait of the discourse between the two. These features suggest a socio-political contrast between lundu (song) and modinha, the latter being characterized by a horizontal and austere character – an index of dialogical symmetry – and the former by a vertical and comical character that expresses inequality.
Like modinha, lundu became a widespread music and dance genre in Brazil in the nineteenth century, both in the art and popular spheres. Through its encounter with polka and with the waltz, both of which had arrived in the country by 1840, lundu first transformed itself during the 1860s into polca-lundu, and then into a new popular music dance genre called the ‘maxixe.’ Further encounters with tango (Brazilian) and habanera, which were common by the 1870s, deepened the transformation. The first known reference in the press to the maxixe dates from 1880 (Efegê 1974, 19-31). It is widely agreed that it emerged in Rio de Janeiro, at ‘Cidade Nova’ (‘New City’), a lower class neighborhood famous for its musicality. From early on maxixe was regarded by the elite classes as vulgar and immoral. The influence of the waltz and polka can be seen in the way instrumental accompaniment to the dance is provided by musicians who do not participate in the dancing themselves. The instrumental part of the maxixe involved choro ensembles (originally flute, acoustic guitar and cavaquinho [a ukulele-like four-stringed guitar]), original military band lineups, and/or piano played by pianeiros (performers of popular piano music) (Sandroni 1996, 118-128). According to Sandroni, both polca-lundu and maxixe pertain to the tresillo family .
Zarzuela companies brought tango to Brazil by 1856. (Originally, zarzuela was the most important type of Spanish opera. During the middle of the nineteenth century zarzuela companies were Spanish-based companies performing musical theater which often visited Latin American countries.) Before this time, ‘tango’ had been a generic term for instances of singing and dancing among populations of African-Latin American origin (Sandroni 1996, 140). In Brazil, the use of the term ‘tango’ to indicate this world of song and dance was current by the 1870s. This pre-dated the habanera, with which tango has much in common – for example, the accompanying rhythmic pattern customarily referred to as the ‘habanera rhythm’ (a dotted eighth note followed by a sixteenth and two eighth notes) is also used to accompany tango and was very common in other forms of music and dance of this time in Brazil. The foundation of this rhythmic pattern is its adherence to the tresillo paradigm, a sign of its African-Latin American origins. A similar principle underpins the proliferation of fusion genres during this period: polca-lundu, polca-tango and habanera-tango-lundu. All are understood as music for accompanying the maxixe, and the maxixe in turn is seen as the emblem par excellence of African-Brazilian musicality. Sandroni (1996, 167) suggests that this proliferation of genre terms was not due to terminological confusion but was rather an indication of efforts by Brazilians to establish a significant distinction between what was Brazilian and what was not; and central to this distinction was the common use of syncopation and the habanera rhythm associated with the tresillo family.
From the nineteenth-century Brazil local, regional, national and international lines of musical development crossed and intersected each other. In so doing they gave rise to many encounters between different forms of music and culture. The example of the maxixe – which enjoyed great international success in Paris in 1914 and in London in 1922 (Marcondes 1998, 494) – illustrates how the musical journey from Europe to the Americas and back has to be seen as a multilinear one, contextualized by global sociocultural ideological developments such as romanticism, nationalism and – soon – modernism. It is important to note also that the Brazilian end of this journey does not invariably lead to Rio de Janeiro, as this would distort the extent to which popular music in Brazil has displayed a strong unity – musical developments in Brazil have not excluded regional and local manifestations of diversity, nor instances of conflict and competition.
Before its establishment during the twentieth century as the name of the emblematic Brazilian musical genre, the term ‘samba’ was employed in various parts of Latin America (from Cuba to Peru, Argentinia and Uruguay) to refer to African-Latin American practices of music and dance (Sandroni 1996, 171). In Brazil, its first appearance in the press dates from 1838 in Pernambuco, where it was used to distinguish rural African-Brazilian music and dance from lundu, which was considered urban. The first descriptions of popular cultural events referred to as ‘samba’ in Rio de Janeiro date from the 1880s, and were associated with the famous Festa da Penha (Penha Festival – see Tinhorão 1972a, 17297). These descriptions of samba characterized the genre as ethnically heterogeneous, and as urban and metropolitan so no longer from the regions (especially Bahia). The first recording of samba took place in 1917 – ‘Pelo telefone,’ meaning ‘By Telephone’ – with music by Donga, the nickname of Ernesto dos Santos (1890-1974), and lyrics by Mauro de Almeida (1882-1956). It was a great success. This first form of samba is usually said to be the immediate heir to the maxixe throne and, as with the maxixe, it emerged in Rio de Janeiro’s Cidade Nova, whose population included many Bahian migrants. It was here that it was ritually and communally cultivated alongside magical and religious ceremonies in the houses of African-Bahian matriarchs, the most famous of these being Tia Ciata (‘Aunt Ciata’ – ‘Ciata’ being the nickname of Hilária Batista de Almeida [Moura 1983]). In addition to these characteristics of communal authorship and use in household ceremonies, early samba was also characterized by its association with the tresillo family and its use of improvisation and the refrain (Sandroni 1996, 351).
A second variety of samba dates from the end of the 1920s and emerged in the botequins (a kind of Carioca pub) of Estácio de Sá, another quarter of Rio de Janeiro, in 1928. The first samba school was founded in Estácio (Araújo 1992, 96-118). Sandroni (1996, 1997) shows how this new variety, generally called ‘Carioca’ samba, was not part of the tresillo family. It inaugurated what he calls the ‘Estácio paradigm,’ whose rhythmic identity is provided by a sequence of three eighth notes followed by a dotted eighth note, two eighth notes and a final dotted eighth note (1997). Additionally, its customary accompaniment includes a batucada (samba percussion ensemble).
Among the most noted sambistas associated with this new variety of samba were Ismael Silva (1905-78), Bide (the nickname of Alcebíades Barcelos, 1902-75), Nilton Bastos (1899-1931), Brancura (Sílvio Fernandes, 1908-35) and Baiaco (Osvaldo Caetano Vasques, 1913-35).
Perceptions of contrast and concurrence between the two types of samba have fueled many debates. For Donga, one of the popularizers of the first form, Carioca samba was no longer a music for dancing, it was a march (Cabral 1974, 21-22). In a classic work on Brazilian popular music, Guimarães (1978) accused Silva (who performed the new variety) of having a ‘commercial’ approach (30), whereas the ‘true samba’ was of Bahian origin (23, 27). In another classic work of the same date, Orestes Barbosa claimed samba was of Carioca origin (1978, 11 and 15), and that the earlier variety was obsolete. In considering these pairs of opposites (Cidade Nova/Estácio, festive/commercial, Bahia/Carioca), Vianna (1995) sees the elevation of Carioca samba into the national music par excellence as a means of colonizing Brazil musically (111), thus following the strong tendency toward political centralization which marked the country in the 1930s (61). This internal colonialism was the result of an alliance between the intellectual and art music elites (representing the dominant white segments of the country) and important Carioca popular musicians (representing its subordinate black-mestizo segments). Vianna argues that the genre was able to move from being considered by the elites as a parochial, even immoral form of music of low origin, to being recognized by the same elites as the supreme language of Brazilian identity in the sphere of popular music (30). This was taken to have occurred through an ‘invention of tradition’ (Hobsbawn 1990) and an ‘authenticity fabrication’ (Peterson 1992, 35). In the process, samba was used as a colonial instrument to transform miscegenation from a problem for Brazilian identity into a powerful solution (63).
During the nineteenth century, miscegenation had been seen by intellectuals as the main cause for the underdevelopment of Brazil. This changed during the 1930s as Carioca culture, which had samba as its most important constituent, became dominant nationally. In the process, miscegenation was taken as fundamental to the way in which the genre, while embodying a particular, modernizing urban environment (Rio de Janeiro), could also stand as an emblem, nationally and internationally, of Brazil as a modern nation.
The emphasis on the second variety of samba as ‘urban,’ in a country where until that time the rural and the urban had been contiguous rather than separated – as well as on its ethnic heterogeneity – seems to point to a kind of victory by ‘modern’ Rio de Janeiro over ‘old’ Bahia. This victory was accompanied by the transformation of the latter into a trope for a past (‘pure,’ ‘original’) African-Brazilian identity. Sandroni (1996, 436, drawing on Arom 1985), however, argues that the tendency for metric complexity in the second variety of Carioca samba makes it much more ‘African’ than the first. This thesis contradicts that of writers such as Rodrigues (1984), Lopes (1981) and Tinhorão (1990), who emphasize the link between the genre’s assimilation by the establishment with it being taken over by the phonographic industry.
It is clear that the ascendancy of Carioca samba – and so of the urban over the rural, of Rio de Janeiro over Bahia – was possible only because of the link made between samba, the record industry and carnival, and because of the involvement of middle-class performers – typically singers and singer-songwriters, and arrangers and composers such as Mário Reis, Francisco Alves (whose nickname was Chico Viola), Noel Rosa and Carmen Miranda (1909-55: see Marcondes 1998, 519-21; Mendoçja 1999). Only through these processes was Carioca samba able to reach upper-class audiences, soon producing what Samuel Araújo (1992, 88) calls the ‘Carmen-Miranda effect,’ that is, its international fetishization as a Brazilian commodity in the same manner as coffee and, later, soccer.
Carioca samba in fact had an international dimension quite early on. In 1922, the Oito Batutas (‘Eight [Samba] Masters’) ensemble, under the direction of Pixinguinha, spent a successful six-month period in Paris. There, the contact they made with US jazz musicians was to be of great consequence for the group, and demonstrates how US influences on Brazilian music are much older than usually thought. The Brazilian musicians were encouraged to incorporate saxophones, clarinets and trumpets into their lineup, and to include fox trots and other US forms into their repertoire, along with jazz-based arrangements (Marcondes 1998, 583-84). Back in Brazil, the ensemble also spent some months in Buenos Aires, appearing successfully at the Teatro Empire and recording 10 discs for Argentinean Victor (Marcondes 1998, 584).
Carmen Miranda’s contribution to Carioca samba was of a different order, however. Born in Portugal but raised in Rio de Janeiro, Miranda’s career was launched when, in 1930, she began to participate successfully – in a carnival-oriented market – in the radio, recording and film industries (Araújo 1992, 85). In 1939, in the context of the US government’s ‘Good Neighbor Policy,’ Miranda and her band moved to the United States, where she became known as the ‘Brazilian Bombshell.’ The fetishization of Carioca samba with which she is associated – and which Tinhorão (1969) sees as also present in the early 1960s during the US launching of bossa nova – was characterized by the transformation of the genre into a musical caricature, where ‘Brazil’ was mixed with ‘Cuba,’ which was also mixed with ‘México’ (Araújo 1992, 88).
The appearance of middle-class performers, arrangers and composers in Carioca samba also had the effect of smoothing over tensions within the genre. Noel Rosa (see Máximo and Didier 1990) and Ari Barroso (1903-64, see Cabral n.d.; Luciana 1970) well represent this tendency. Rosa expressed an individualist ideology (Dumont 1985) which replaced the opposition between ‘Bahia’ and ‘Rio’ – usually summed up in Rio de Janeiro as that between morro (‘hill,’ standing for the impoverished favelas) and cidade (‘city,’ the noble Carioca neighborhoods) – with the claim, made in the lyrics of his 1933 song ‘Feitio de Oração’ (‘In the Form of a Prayer’), that samba’s origins were not in the morro or in the cidade, but in the heart (coração) of the country, and so open to anybody (Menezes Bastos 1996a). Barroso took this further. His classic ‘Aquarela Brasileira’ (known abroad as ‘Brazil’) of 1939 was a samba of the second variety, with lyrics paying passionate homage to the first (Sandroni 1996, 438). This apparent removal of tensions is consistent with the genesis of one of the most fundamental values of Brazilian popular music: the struggle for compatability between the ‘cultivated’ and the ‘authentic,’ the first revealed through a high degree of competence in the use of the Western musical code in popular music, the second personified by observance of the archetypal samba models.
Since its rise to official pan-Brazilian status, Carioca samba has been turned into one of the backbones of Brazilian popular music and culture. Samba schools in Rio de Janeiro, such as Portela, Mangueira, Império Serrano, Salgueiro and Beija-Flor (Araújo 1992; Augras 1998; Cabral 1974; Marcondes 1998) have constituted its ideal place of cultivation, one that, as with Carioca carnival in general, has increasingly been transformed into a big business. This great commodification – in relation to which the great majority of sambistas claim to be marginal – has continued to provoke debates about the genre’s lost ‘authenticity,’ echoing the polemics of the 1930s.
Among those who have continued to perform Carioca samba, Ataulfo Alves (1909-69), Cartola (Angenor de Oliveira, 1908-80), Nelson Cavaquinho (1910-86), Nelson Sargento (b. 1924), Mano Décio da Viola (1909-84), Carlos Cachaça (b. 1902), Silas de Oliveira (1916-72) and Zé Keti (b.1921) are notable names. Martinho da Vila (Martinho José Ferreira, b. 1938) and Paulinho da Viola (Paulo César Batista de Faria, b. 1942) are two important present-day sambistas. The latter is not only recognized as a ‘classic’ performer but is also a researcher of the genre’s tradition.
The elevation of Carioca samba to the position of emblematic national popular music genre had consequences for musical relationships between Rio de Janeiro and Bahia, Pernambuco and São Paulo. Only from the late 1950s on – with the advent of bossa nova and tropicalismo - was Bahia able to change its image of being associated only with the past. Since the beginnings of the twentieth century, Pernambuco had had its emblematic popular music genre, with links to carnival, in the form of frevo, a dance music characterized by rich choreography, probably related to the Afro-Brazilian martial art capoeira, and by a sophisticated musicality anchored in military band music (Câmara and Barreto 1986; Duarte n. d.; Tinhorão 1986, 138-50). Although frevo includes what is probably the most sophisticated instrumental popular music tradition in Brazil, it was never recognized as a national popular music genre. Pernambuco only was able to change this situation, tentatively at first from the 1940s on, with baião and other northeastern musical genres of nationwide success. But these attempts ran up regularly against the record industry, which regarded Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo as centers of both production and consumption, the other cities of the country, with a few exemptions, being recipients.
At the same time as samba’s status was being raised, São Paulo saw the birth of música caipira (grassroots music), the first recordings of which were made in 1929. In the second half of the nineteenth century, samba in various forms had been popular in the state of São Paulo (Moraes 1978, 8), both in the countryside and in cities and towns (Andrade 1965; Britto 1986; Moraes, J. 1997; Moraes, W. 1978). However, in the 1870s, the arrival of large numbers of overseas immigrants, mainly Italians, changed São Paulo’s ethnic and class composition (Martins 1992; Moraes 1997). The immigrants tended to gravitate to the urban areas in search of jobs, especially to the city of São Paulo, where they were joined by internal migrants, particularly from Minas Gerais, Bahia and the northeast (Durham 1984, 29). This transformed the city during the twentieth century into the greatest conurbation in Brazil, with an extremely diverse sociocultural life. Paulista styles of samba never achieved wide popularity with this audience and neither, indeed, did they achieve any nationwide diffusion.
The word ‘caipira’ refers to the traditional rural style (rústico) of living in the state of São Paulo and its area of influence in the agricultural frontier: Parana, Mato Grosso do Sul. This style was declining by the 1940s under the twin pressures of industrialization and the modernization of agriculture. Música caipira is typically seen by commentators as the expression of community-based Paulista culture, as evidenced by its lyrics, which refer predominantly to the world of communal work, ritual and religion. Musically, it is characterized by duet singing in parallel thirds and sixths, with accompaniment provided by the traditional fivestringed guitar (viola). Purely instrumental viola playing – typically solo – is also common, as are trio and solo vocal-viola performances. Women participate frequently in all these lineups, which are also often kinship-based. The first recordings were made by Columbia, but were financed by folklorist and writer Cornélio Pires (1884-1958) (Marcondes 1998, 632). Columbia, through its representative in São Paulo, Byington & Company, thought that financing the recording of this music was too risky, preferring to concentrate on Carioca samba. Nevertheless, between 1929 and 1931, around 49 discs were issued in the Série Caipira Cornélio Pires, representing a wide range of Paulista caipira styles, including Italian, German, US and ‘African,’ that is, ‘Brazilian.’ Among the important names of this first period of caipira music were Pires’ nephew Capitão Furtado (Ariovaldo Pires) (1907-79) (Ferrete 1985), João Pacífico (b. 1909), Paraguaçy (Roque Ricciardi, 1894-1976), Raul Torres (1906-70), and the duos formed by Murilo Alvarenga (1912-78) and Ranchinho (Diésis dos Anjos Gaia, 1913-91), and by Torres and Serrinha (Antenor Serra, 1917-78). Later, the genre was known by the alternative terms of ‘caipira’ and ‘música sertaneja.’ Under the latter term, it would become a national phenomenon from the 1980s on. The term ‘música sertaneja’ was first used to refer to grassroots music produced in São Paulo by musicians from the northeast, where ‘sertaneja’ was used to mean ‘outback,’ corresponding roughly to the southeastern caipira. By the 1940s it had acquired the feel of an urban music whose focus of meaning was the rural and the loss of the rural.
Musical commentators have different perceptions of the rural and the urban. Whereas urbanization in Carioca samba is seen mainly in positive terms – earlier accusations of commercialism having been forgotten – in the case of São Paolo the transition from música caipira to música sertaneja is seen in terms of the negative effects of urbanization (a ‘lost paradise’). Commentators frequently evaluate this transition in terms of commodification.
Two other genres of great importance, bolero and baião, also emerged in the first half of the twentieth century. Cuban and Mexican boleros began to arrive in the country, as elsewhere in Latin America and in other parts of the world, during the 1930s. Their diffusion in Brazil was the result of a combination of short-wave radio programs, 78 rpm records, Mexican melodramatic films and local versions of Cuban radionovelas (radio soap operas) with their original soundtracks (Araújo 1999, 4446). Brazilian boleros were first produced in the 1940s, eventually forming hybrids such as bolero-canção (bolero song) and samba-bolero (46). The bolero was frequently criticized for being of low quality and for being an alien form in terms of Brazilian roots (47). However, it was so well adapted to the country that, by the 1940s, the genre was hardly distinguishable – in musical, sociocultural and textual (lyrical) terms – from Brazilian samba-caçãdo. Indeed, a specific, hybrid term, ‘sambolero,’ was created to refer to it (47). Samba-canção itself had emerged as a genre by the end of the 1920s, and was linked to musical theater (Veneziano 1991). It was first recorded in 1928 (Araújo 1999, 45; Marcondes 1998, 705). Like bolero, it had a medium to slow tempo and a duple meter. Unlike the samba of carnival, it was a samba de meio de ano (middle of the year samba), that is to say a samba not destined for carnival (Tinhorão 1986, 151). This fusion of Samba-canção and bolero has been incorporated into the repertoire by many stars of Brazilian music, including members of the so-called world of música brega (vulgar music) (Araújo 1987, 1999, 49), and by other more ‘erudite’ movements in popular music such as bossa nova and tropicalismo, as well as by singers/songwriters/instrumentalists such as Tom Jobim, João Gilberto, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Milton Nascimento, Chico Buarque and João Bosco.
The first recording of baião (Tinhorão 1986, 21929) took place in 1946 when the ensemble Quatro Ases e um Curinga (Four Aces and One Joker) released the now classic song ‘Baião’ (music by Luís Gonzaga, 1912-89, lyrics by Humberto Teixeira, 1916-79). The song’s lyrics are didactic, telling the listeners how the baião should be danced. The recording was released at a time when Brazilian music was dominated by the national dissemination of Carioca samba, as well as by bolero and Samba-canção. Gonzaga and Teixeira had both come to Rio de Janeiro from the northeast and found common interest in launching a new kind of dance music that would capture something of the region for the large population of migrants from the northeast living in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo (Sa 1966, 156-62). Recordings in other northeastern genres, such as xótis (from ‘schottische’), xaxado and coco, soon followed. They were known collectively as ‘forró,’ a term originally used for working-class dance music (Marcondes 1998, 300-301). In rhythmic terms baião, the core of this particular musical development, is another possible member of the Brazilian tresillo family. In melodic and harmonic terms, it is characterized by a strong modality – which in Carioca samba is almost reduced to the major and minor modes – through the use of the Mixolydian, Lydian, Phrygian and Dorian modes. A nasal singing style is almost universal in baião. Baião’s typical instrumental lineup – the instrumentalists always wear northeastern costumes – consists of accordion, triangle and zabumba, a kind of bass drum. The last term (zabumba) also refers to an Amerindian-influenced dance music ensemble.
Forró soon achieved nationwide popularity and in 1951 ‘Delicado’ (Delicate) by Valdir Azevedo (1923-80) sold 200,000 copies, a Brazilian record at the time (Tinhorão 1986, 223-24). Baião and the other forró genres had considerable international success, forming another wave of Brazilian popular music to do so after modinha and lundu. Examples appeared in film soundtracks and were even composed and performed by non-Brazilian artists. Like bolero and samba-canção, the forró genres continued to be cultivated in Brazil itself. In the 1960s they were incorporated into new genres such as canção de protesto (protest song) as tropes both for the roots of Brazilian popular music and for ‘poverty,’ a concept constituting a crucial emblem in the struggle against the authoritarian military regime. Since the 1970s, the casas de forró (Forró dance halls) have retained their popularity in cities such as São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Recife.
If the 1930s was the era of samba and the 1940s the time of baião, the 1950s have been regarded by authors as diverse as Tinhorão (1990, 245-48) and Medaglia (1974, 78) as a period characterized by dilution, superficiality and a lack of creativity – especially with regard to samba – and by a passive attitude towards the inundation of Brazil by foreign forms of music. However, this judgment may be unfair. It may be more accurate to see the 1950s – the core of the New Republic period (1946-64), when the entertainment sector experienced significant growth – as a time when Brazilian popular music gained maturity, manifesting a diverse but coherent set of styles and sensibilities. The genres that formed the backbone of popular music were not isolated, but were interrelated in terms of both meaning and style. The work of musicians such as Ari Barroso and Dorival Caymmi (b. 1914) illustrates this well, as one of the major characteristics of their work has been the constant navigation between genres. Because of the maturity evident in these developments, the invasion of music from overseas did not have a destructive effect. On the contrary, as in the case of rock music, it became possible to incorporate new styles creatively, as musicians had done decades earlier with other ‘foreign’ musical genres such as bolero, polka, habanera and mazurkas. The 1950s also served as a practice run for what was to happen in the 1960s and after, with the explosion of bossa nova and protest song, Jovem Guarda, tropicalismo, Clube da Esquina, and many other kinds of music.
The influx of international music genres and subgenres, such as blues, fox trots and ‘slows’ (a Brazilianized English word referring to jazz or swing dancing in slow tempo), and mambos, rumbas and boleros (‘Latin’) began in the late 1930s. Radio, which had been introduced in the country in 1922, began to feature international popular music prominently and was influential in the spread of imported styles. By the following decade Brazilian cinemas were adding to the influx by showing many US musicals. Yet during this time, and indeed into the 1950s and beyond, Brazilian popular music continued to be vigorously disseminated, by radio in particular, through live shows (programas de auditório), talent contests (programas de calouros), programs using recordings (programas radiofônicos, which were also broadcast in public places by loudspeaker) and radio soap operas (novelas radiofônicos - a term that is used interchangeably with radionovelas). Commercially produced recordings and Brazilian films also played their part. Live radio shows had their origin in the legendary Programa Casé, broadcast by Rádio Philips in Rio de Janeiro in the 1930s (Casé 1955). They culminated in the 1950s in shows from Rádio Nacional, also from Rio de Janeiro (Goldfeder 1981). All these programs spread throughout Brazil, with programas de calouros (talent contests) becoming particularly important for the upward social mobility of African-Brazilians. Programs using recordings were especially influential in the spread of música caipira and sertaneja. The playing of records in public places was extremely widespread until the end of the 1940s and continued beyond that date in small country towns (Castro 1990, 19-20) and in poor urban areas.
Musicals (chanchadas) were first produced by the Brazilian movie industry in the late 1940s in Rio de Janeiro (particularly by the famous Companhia Atlântida), São Paulo and Porto Alegre (Dias 1993; Tinhorão 1972b, 261-66). Between 1951 and 1955, approximately 27 pictures were produced each year (Ortiz 1988, 42). The genre was constantly criticized as being of poor quality by the intellectual elites and chanchadas ceased to be produced in the 1960s. In the world of live theater, meanwhile, musical theater and revue (teatro musicado and teatro de revista) proved to be extremely important means of disseminating Brazilian popular music. Teatro de revista had first appeared in Rio de Janeiro, as a kind of a Brazilian fusion of vaudeville and operetta, in the second half of the nineteenth century (Paiva 1991; Tinhorão 1972b, 13-224; Veneziano 1991). In the early 1930s it was transformed into the musical show and became especially popular in casinos. With the prohibition of casinos in 1946, the musical show found its place in theaters and nightclubs.
Meanwhile, the Brazilian record industry was far more concerned with foreign releases (lançamentos estrangeiros), mainly of US music, and would remain that way until the 1970s (Dias 2000; Morelli 1991). Until the end of the 1960s, the country had occupied a modest 14th place in the world phonographic market ranking. From the 1970s transnational sound recording became more established in Brazil and, by the end of the decade, it had jumped to 6th place (Dias 2000; Menezes Bastos 1999; Morelli 1991).
Another important factor in the relationship between home-grown and imported music was the production of printed music, produced both in Brazil and abroad. Sheet music of harmonized songs and short instrumental pieces was a key element in the diffusion of music, but a diffusion of a different nature to that already considered, being highly heterogeneous. Popular music genres (Brazilian and foreign) to popularized versions of art music, and folk and ‘exotic’ (‘primitive’ and ‘oriental’) music, were all represented in sheet music form. Musical literacy, required by this means of diffusion, inevitably restricted its social currency, but sheet music was nonetheless used both by professional and amateur musicians of lower-, middle- and upper-class status, across a broad cross-section of the country, from small rural communities to major cities. Music stores also performed a similarly important role, serving as meeting points for musicians, and for musicians and their audience, in a context where popular music was not yet formally taught (Castro 1990, 47 and 55; Máximo and Didier 1990, 65; Menezes Bastos 1996a, 74-75). Nightclubs and fan clubs also became important in facilitating similar kinds of contact.
Although the distinction between ‘Brazilian’ and ‘foreign’ music has to be used with care, it is useful in identifying how different agencies exerted their influence. A number of these, programas de auditório, programas de calouros, chanchadas and teatro musicado, were principally involved in the dissemination of Brazilian music, while two, the cinema (US musicals) and commercial recordings, concentrated on foreign, especially US, imports. Other forms of dissemination, such as programas radiofônic os, radio soap operas, public loudspeaker broadcasts, music stores and sheet music, achieved more of a balance between the two. It must be added that public access to these various means of diffusion was not evenly distributed, and that this influenced the relative popularity of Brazilian and foreign music. For example, people tended more to listen to radio – and therefore were more exposed to Brazilian music – than buy records or watch US musicals at the cinema.
From the mid-1940s musicians and audiences, in major cities in particular, tended to be divided in their advocacy of ‘modern’ and ‘traditional’ forms of music. While some audiences and musicians identified with the canon constituted by the ‘backbone’ genres of Brazilian popular music (such as samba), and saw the new idioms as alienating and Americanized, other audiences and musicians, identified with modern music, and tended to evaluate this canon as a sign of the past, as an indication of underdevelopment. (Such a division was not new in the history of Brazilian popular music – there were similar differences during the 1930s over Carioca samba, and the separation of música caipira from música sertaneja.) In reality, the differences between the ‘modern’ and ‘traditional’ were fluid, to an extent, with the modern being constructed as updated traditional (‘Brazilian’), and considered capable of interacting with the ‘great other’ of US music.
Within this broad division were subtle but important variations, as is illustrated by the foundation of the ‘Sinatra-Farney,’ ‘Dick Haymes-Lúcio Alves,’ and other fan clubs in Rio de Janeiro in 1949 (Castro 1990, 31-63). At that time Rio de Janeiro was a city with a population of about 2.4 million and carnival was enjoying its greatest period of popular music consumption. Samba and marcha (‘carnival march’), the main genres of the time, were cultivated in carnival clubs such as Tenentes do Diabo and Fenianos, and through other associations, and were disseminated through radio (Eneida 1958). Samba schools did not have the preeminence they later acquired. During carnival, which takes place at some time during February and March, large numbers of people took to the streets and dance halls as members or spectators of the parades and balls organized by the various clubs and associations. In the other major cities the situation was similar but with two important differences. Firstly, other cities cultivated their local-regional genres and distinctive forms of carnival music, both of which were more or less in conflict with the panBrazilian Carioca samba (Bento 1990; Britto 1986; Moraes, J. 1997; Moraes, W. 1978). And secondly, the music industry had its base in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo.
The fact that carnival was the core of popular music production in the major cities did not preclude the development of an active scene during the middle of the year, one linked to less massive audiences and particularly – but not exclusively – to the middle and upper classes. This scene centered around the many nightclubs, restaurants and bars of major cities – in Rio de Janeiro typically in neighborhoods such as Copacabana – and was linked to the establishment of fan clubs, and to the music stores. Among Rio-based fan clubs, the ‘Sinatra-Farney’ and the ‘Dick Haymes-Lúcio Alves’ were the most important. Important among music stores in Rio de Janeiro was Lojas Murray.
Dick Farney (Farnésio Dutra e Silva, 1921-87), Lúcio Alves (1927-93) and Johnny Alf (Alfredo José da Silva, b. 1929) all illustrate that it was possible at this time to be both ‘modern’ and ‘traditional,’ to endeavor to harmonize divisions and cultivate one of the most important values of Brazilian popular music: the alliance between ‘cultivation’ and ‘authenticity.’ During the 1960s, this value would form the crux of the so-called ‘evolutionary line’ (‘linha evolutiva’) of Brazilian popular music.
In his early career (1937-46), Farney, with his appealing ‘voz macia’ (cool voice), was known as a pianist and brilliant singer of US music, mainly through live radio programs and shows in casinos and nightclubs. In 1946, he became nationally famous with the launch of the samba-canção ‘Copacabana’ (by João de Barro [Braguinha] and Alberto Ribeiro), which was to become a great success and a great ‘modern’ hit. He spent the period of 1946-48 in the United States, appearing with stars such as Nat King Cole, Dave Brubeck and Bill Evans, and launching the first version of ‘Tenderly’ (by Walter Gross). Returning to Brazil in 1948, he had already acquired a revered status as a ‘modern’ musician (Castro 1990, 32-44; Marcondes 1998, 278-79).
During his early career (1941-46), Alves was the leader of the ‘conjunto moderno’ (modern group) Namorados da Lua. His idol was singer Orlando Silva (1915-78), the so called ‘cantor das multidões’ (singer of the masses), whose repertoire combined Brazilian and foreign music performed in a ‘cool’ style with modern arrangements. Unlike Farney, Alves could not sing in English, but recognized the strong influence US music had on his own work. Alves began his solo career in 1948 with visits to Cuba, Mexico and the United States. He had numerous successes, such as ‘Sábado em Copacabana’ (by Carl os Guinle and Dorival Caymmi) and, with Farney, ‘Teresa da Praia’ (by Tom Jobim and Billy Blanco). In the early days of bossa nova, in the late 1950s, he was recognized as a kind of father of the new genre (Castro 1990, 51-55; Marcondes 1998, 28).
Johnny Alf became a name symbolic of ‘modern’ music in Brazil much more in terms of instrumental music and the ‘revolutionary’ harmonies and melodies he created than as a singer. A student of classical piano, he was also interested in the music of US figures such as George Gershwin and Cole Porter. In 1952, he became a professional musician, and was hired to play in bars, restaurants and nightclubs in Rio de Janeiro such as the Cantina do César (César’s Canteen) and the Hotel Plaza’s nightclub. Here, his audience included musicians who would later become famous, such as Tom Jobim, João Donato and João Gilberto, all of whom recognized Alf as their ‘master.’ His hits, many of which are regarded as sources of bossa nova, began to appear on recordings by this time. Examples of these hits are ‘Céu e Mar’ and ‘Rapaz de Bem’ (Castro 1990, 94-97; Marcondes 1998, 12).
Like bars, restaurants and nightclubs, fan clubs were also institutions through which the ‘modern’ musicality of the middle of the year could be cultivated and transformed into a year-round scene. Through these clubs people were encouraged to listen to records and jam sessions were organized. To be a member of the ‘Sinatra-Farney Fan Club,’ the candidate had to be able to dance, sing or play ‘modern’ music with some proficiency. Although it lasted only from 1949-50, the club had about 50 associates, among them future celebrated musicians such as Alf, João Donato (b. 1934), Paulo Moura (b. 1932), Klécius Caldas (b. 1919), Armando Cavalcanti (1914-64), Nora Ney (b. 1922) and Dóris Monteiro (b. 1934). It ceased to exist when the club’s musical ensemble was hired to present shows in other clubs and theaters, but continued in spirit through the jam sessions organized by some of its important past associates, such as Farney and Moura, at their own homes. These jam sessions often featured musicians who would later make a name in bossa nova, for example, Luizinho Eçja (Luís Mainzi da Cunha Eçja, 1936-92), Durval Ferreira (b. 1935) and Maurício Einhorn (Moisés Davi Einhorn, b. 1932).
In the 1940s, Lojas Murray, a store in downtown Rio de Janeiro and the city’s biggest seller of US records, was the major meeting point for musicians and aficionados of ‘modern’ music. Here, people could listen to and exchange records (typically 78 rpm), and engage in discussions. The polarity of ‘modern’ and ‘traditional’ was a regular talking point – as was the possibility of surpassing it and moving towards the formation of a Brazilian music capable of interacting with US music. Garoto, nickname of the guitarist and composer Aníbal Augusto Sardinha (1915-55) (Marcondes 1998, 319; Antõnio and Pereira 1982), was among the most conspicuous habitués of Lojas Murray as he was a virtuoso of his instrument, playing both Brazilian and US music.
Among the ‘modern’ groups of the 1940s, Os Namorados da Lua (founded in 1941), Os Cariocas (founded in 1946) and Os Garotos da Lua (founded in 1946) were extremely important. During the late 1940s they and other ensembles were of like mind regarding the best qualification for being both ‘modern’ and ‘Brazilian.’ On the one hand, they had as a model of modernity the best analogous US musical ensembles, with their characteristic lineups and arrangements. On the other, they measured their ideal of Brazilian identity through their ability to express in music a concept of Brazil as simultaneously developing and rooted: ‘cultivated’ and ‘authentic.’ Singing in Portuguese – even when the songs were originally from the United States – was an important measure of this Brazilian character. At the same time, performing convincing interpretations of US music, even with a Brazilian accent, was a crucial criterion of modernity (Castro 1990, 5760, 65-85). This was the scene into which stepped singer, songwriter and guitarist João Gilberto (b. 1931) in 1950 when he became the main singer of Garotos da Lua, an ensemble then under contract with Rádio Tupi in Rio de Janeiro.
Gilberto came from Juázeiro, a small town in Bahia with a rich folk tradition, a town band (in which his father was prominent) and public loudspeaker broadcasting (the town had no radio station). Informal musical education has been very significant in Brazilian popular music (see Menezes Bastos 1996a for the example of Noel Rosa during the 1930s). Gilberto rapidly acquired proficiency in singing and in playing tunes chosen from the mixed repertoire of Brazilian and foreign music put out by the town’s loudspeaker. Like Lúcio Alves, he greatly admired the singing of Orlando Silva. Coming to Rio de Janeiro, Gilberto made his first recordings with Garotos da Lua and, in 1952 – almost unnoticed – as a soloist. Changes took place in his style of singing and playing during a period away from Rio de Janeiro in the mid-1950s. In 1957, through a group of amateur musicians he came to know in Rio de Janeiro, he met Jobim, already an influential arranger and songwriter. Jobim was astonished by Gilberto’s new approach to the guitar and decided to record a disc with him. Gilberto’s performances at the Hotel Plaza’s nightclub became a talking point for the professional musicians who were its frequent customers (Castro 1990, 27-157).
The album Canção do amor demais (Song for an Excessive Love, 1958) is generally regarded as marking the arrival of bossa nova. Comprising songs by Jobim (who also arranged them) and Vinícius de Moraes (who wrote the lyrics), and sung by Elizete Cardoso, it contains only two tunes, ‘Chega de saudade’ (No More Blues) and ‘Outra vez’ (Once More), on which Gilberto appears playing the guitar with his new beat. As was usual at that time in the case of accompanying musicians, his contribution was not credited. Also in 1958, Gilberto recorded two 78s under his own name. One, his interpretation of ‘Chega de Saudade,’ became a hit and gave its name to his first album in 1959. Arranged by Jobim, it also included ‘Desafinado’ (‘Off Key’), by Jobim and Mendonça. ‘Desafinado’ is one of bossa nova’s manifestos.
From this point, bossa nova can be characterized as a movement involving two main circles of participants. One circle, usually identified as that of the ‘professionals’ (Marcondes 1998, 108), included Gilberto, Jobim, Moraes, Newton Mendonça (1927-60), Silvia Teles (1934-66), Baden Powell (1937-2000) and João Donato (b. 1934). The second, identified as that of the ‘amateurs,’ included several of the musicians Gilberto had met on his return to Rio de Janeiro in 1957: Roberto Menescal (b. 1937), Ronaldo Bôscoli (1928-94), Carlinhos Lyra (b. 1939) and Nara Leão (1942-89). The alliance between the two groups enabled the movement to reach simultaneously both adult and young middle- and upper-class audiences.
Gilberto’s second album, O amor, o sorriso e a flor (Love, Smile and Flower), recorded by Odeon in 1960, marks bossa nova’s consolidation. It includes six tunes by Jobim (also the arranger of the record), one of which, ‘Samba de una nota so’ (‘One Note Samba,’ lyrics by Mendonça), is considered another manifesto of the movement. During this period, bossa nova encountered opposition from two main quarters, both displaying new versions of the ‘traditional’ label. One quarter, represented by Humberto Teixeira, was linked to the northeast and forró. The other, represented by Antônio Maria, songwriter, writer, radio and television presenter and producer (1921-64), was associated with samba, samba-canção and música de seresta (Castro 1990, 240). Bossa nova was criticized for its manner of singing and playing, and for having its center in Rio de Janeiro’s ‘zona sul’ (south zone), and hence apparently having an identification with the city’s more affluent population.
Quarrels spread among the circle of amateur bossa nova musicians, resulting in factions. (The majority of the so-called ‘professionals’ were not involved in this fragmentation.) One of the amateurs involved, Lyra, adopted the term ‘sambalanço’ (approximately, ‘samba with swing’) instead of bossa nova. Lyra recorded for Phillips, which had recently entered the Brazilian record market through the acquisition of Companhia Brasileira de Discos. Members of the opposing group, including Bôscoli and Menescal, continued to record with Odeon, firmly established in the country some decades before (Castro 1990, 259-66).
The conflict has to be seen in the context of the growing interest and engagement of Brazil’s college students (a principal part of the audience for examateur bossa nova) in Brazilian politics. This interest and engagement were linked to the global contradictions of the Cold War. The rupture between Lyra and Bôscoli had as its point of origin the political-ideological and aesthetic split between left and right wing students – all of them avid consumers of music – in a country where the entertainment sector was growing ever larger. In 1961, the Centro Popular de Cultura (Popular Center for Culture – CPC) was founded by the União Nacional de Estudantes (National Association of [College] Students – UNE) in order to rescue what its founding intellectuals considered to be the true roots of authentic Brazilian popular culture – including music – from the invasion of US cultural industries. Lyra participated in many meetings before CPC’s inception.
In 1962, bossa nova introduced itself to US audiences with a show, New Brazilian Jazz, held at Carnegie Hall and sponsored by the Brazilian Ministry for Foreign Affairs. In the wake of that event, bossa nova developed a prestigious international presence. Many of its musicians traveled regularly to the United States (some moved there permanently), Europe and Japan. Bossa nova and Brazilian music in general began to replace Cuban music as the paradigm of Latin jazz, yet one specifically recognized as Brazilian. For opponents of bossa nova back in Brazil, however, its US success was interpreted as a failure. The Carnegie Hall event in particular was dismissed in important magazines, newspapers and television programs by ‘old guard’ intellectuals, among them Antônio Maria, Stanlis-law Ponte Preta and José Ramos Tinhorão, as a disastrous caricature produced by Brazilians imitating US jazz (Castro 1990, 329-30).
The term ‘old guard’ itself, when applied to the field of Brazilian popular music, seems to have had its origins in Pixinguinha’s Grupo da Guarda Velha (Old Guard Ensemble). This ensemble was founded in 1932, formed by many icons of the Carioca samba circle, including Pixinguinha himself, João da Baiana (João Machado Guedes, 1887-1974) and Donga (Alencar 1979, 50-54; Cabral 1978, 59-62). In 1947, Almirante (singer, songwriter, popular music scholar) and show writer Henrique Foréis Domingues (1908-80) launched a series of programs at Rio de Janeiro’s Rádio Tupi under the title of Pessoal da Velha Guarda (Old Guard ‘Personnel’). These shows were based on the broadcast of choro-like instrumental music by Pixinguinha (tenor saxophone) and Benedito Lacerda (flutist, composer and conductor [1903-58]) (Alencar 1979, 53). Almirante’s intention seems to have been to propose a ‘distinction’ of cultural nobility (Bourdieu 1984, 9-96) for samba as a whole – its two varieties being taken as identically legitimate – within an already extensive and diverse world of music. The emphasis on Pixinguinha was not accidental. He was recognized across the board as the greatest popular musician in Brazil. He came from Carioca but had profound loyalty to Bahia. He was typically linked to instrumental music (of the choro kind), but was deeply involved in samba (typically of its first variety), a genre in which the presence of voice and lyrics does not exclude instrumental arrangement (Caiado 2001). And, importantly, he had access to the musical codes of both classical (Western) music and jazz.
In 1954, during the commemorations of São Paulo’s fourth centenary, Almirante organized the Primeiro Festival da Velha Guarda (‘First Old Guard’s Festival’) at Rádio Record, followed in 1955 by the second. The first was a true apotheosis of Pixinguinha (Alencar 1979, 53). The musicians who participated in both festivals belonged to a wide spectrum of popular music from Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and other areas, a sign that during the mid-1950s the ‘backbones’ of Brazilian popular music were both broad and varied, working as an open system with movable boundaries. An ‘old guard’ ensemble was organized in 1954 to perform during the festivals (Marcondes 1998, 809). The term ‘old guard’ was now intended to signal that samba was the aristocratic old guard of Brazilian popular music as a whole, no more exclusively a seasonal, carnival genre. The conflicts of the 1930s involving the two opposing varieties of samba were transformed into a powerful alliance under Pixinguinha’s leadership, a movement whose origins are in Almirante’s programs of 1947.
This story gives rise to a number of questions. What was the goal of the alliance? Why did all these important events involving samba, the Carioca genre with mythical Bahian origins, take place in São Paulo, the land of caipira and sertaneja music? And why was Pixinguinha made the key figure when he was not a true sambista like Donga and Ismael, but typically a choro musician?
Whether or not it is accurate to call the 1950s a period characterized by samba’s dilution, superficiality, lack of creativity and alienation, these years also saw the beginning of an era of samba and of choro revival. This is often portrayed in the literature as the time when the genres were ‘rediscovered’ (redescobertos) and ‘rescued’ (resgatados) through the work of old guard intellectuals. The genre that had the greatest success in the first half of the 1950s, however, was not samba, which remained tied to the carnaval-oriented market, but the music of the middle of the year, samba canção and bolero, indeed música de seresta as a whole, which also included waltzes and other genres such as the tango. During this period, the hit parades were dominated by singers with música de seresta – mainly boleros and samba canções - in their repertoires, singers such as Nelson Gonçalves (Antônio Gonçalves Sobral, 1919-98). Gonçalves was probably the country’s leading recording artist. Between 1941 and 1966 he recorded a total of approximately 183 78 rpm discs, 100 extended play discs, 200 cassette tapes, 127 LPs and 20 CDs. And he had sales of more than 50 million, with 15 platinum and 41 gold discs to his credit (Marcondes 1998, 338-39; Miranda 1995).
It seems that the alliance had made samba a ‘middle of the year’ genre, to stand together with others such as bolero and samba canção. This was a radical change to samba’s original configuration – as far as both the canonical narratives and market predispositions were concerned – and resulted in its reinvention almost as a new genre, one for all the year. The choice of São Paulo for the festivals is evidence of this. Nothing was then more distant from Carioca carnival – Carioca samba’s birthplace – than São Paulo, but São Paulo was already the greatest city in the country, and enjoying its fourth centenary celebrations. In aiming to transform itself into samba’s seat, São Paulo was projecting itself as Brazil’s national cultural capital (Arantes 2000, 21 and 36-39).
The question of why Pixinguinha and choro were at the center of these developments, when Pixinguinha was not properly speaking a sambista and choro not precisely samba, remains to be answered. Put simply, why was samba always presented ‘through’ choro?
Choro and samba were both present at Aunt Ciata’s legendary house in Rio de Janeiro, Carioca samba’s birthplace. But there, choro was ‘played,’ that is, performed on musical instruments in the living room (sala de visitas), where its residents received their visitors, while samba was danced and sung, that is, performed by bodies and voices, in the dining room (sala de jantar) or even in the backyard (quintal or terreiro), two increasingly intimate parts of the house. Pixinguinha, remembering the old times at Aunt Ciata’s, once said: ‘Samba is with João da Baiana. I was not from samba. They made their sambas there in the backyard and I made my choros at the living room. Sometimes I went to the backyard to make a contrasting melody with the flute, but I did not understand anything about samba’ (Donga, Pixinguinha and João da Baiana, 1970, 20; cited in Caiado 2001, 39 – author’s translation). Although their origins were different, by this time choro and samba were contiguous, interchangeable musical worlds. From the 1930s it was common to find choro-like instrumental sections in sung sambas (Caiado 2001, 1), and it was customary to find sambas generally released with instrumental accompaniment. It is this contiguity and interchangeability that lead one to presuppose that, without the presence of voice and lyrics, choro would become samba. At the same time, choro and samba are autonomous musical worlds. The former supposes an instrumental performance, originally involving flute, acoustic guitar and cavaquinho. Samba is a vocal genre with its origins in dance. In a pioneering study, Caiado (2001) showed that the choro-samba system of relationships is a hierarchical one. This is signaled on the one hand by the access the musician (called ‘maestro’ or ‘maestrina’) has to the Brazilianized and popularized Western musical code – typically its notation system and aspects such as harmony and arranging – and on the other hand by his or her rootedness in what it is considered the authentically popular. It seems that it was this combination of heirarchy with contiguity, interchangeability and autonomy – compatible with Brazilian culture as a whole (Da Matta 1979; Lanna 1995) – that lay at the base of the form of relationship between choro and samba. The relationship acquired particular strength and importance in the revival of choro and samba in 1970, in which Cartola, Nelson Cavaquinho, Nelson Sargento, Mano Décio da Viola, Carlos Cachaça, Ismael Silva, Silas de Oliveira and Zé Keti were some of the important names.
As a consequence of the reconfiguration of samba, old sambistas were able to enter successfully into the musical market, participating in shows and releasing discs. The first such show was Opinião (‘Opinion,’ Rio de Janeiro, 1964). With Nara Leão, Zé Keti and João do Vale, a singer-songwriter (193496) (Paschoal 2000), as participants, it was the first important artistic event to protest against the military regime which seized power in April 1964. Partnerships involving members of the middle and upper classes (bossa novist Leão in the present case) and those originally from lower-class communities – Keti (old guard samba) and Vale (forró music) in Opinião - were also extremely characteristic of this period (roughly 1964-69), both for old guard samba and for the bossa nova’s political left, the so-called canção de protesto (protest song) (Tinhorão 1986, 237-47). In 1968, through ‘Institutional Act’ No. 5 (‘AI-5’), the authoritarian regime intervened deeply in the country’s intellectual and cultural-artistic life.
In 1965, TV Excelsior of São Paulo broadcast the first National Festival of Brazilian Popular Music and, from that time, through festivals, live shows and other promotions, television performed an increasingly important role in the Brazilian popular music scene. It was a scene characterized by the progressive growth and spread of the entertainment industry and – in its musical sector – by a particularly rich and intense system of relationships involving the various musical worlds formed by samba-canção and bolero, old guard samba, forró music, música caipira and sertaneja, bossa nova and protest song, Jovem Guarda, tropicalismo, Clube da Esquina and others.
Brazil entered the new era with various genres, both old and new, that made up its rich popular music exhibiting great staying power. The 1960s and 1970s, particularly from 1964, were to see increasing intervention in the communications sector by the military regime. As the importance of television grew, so did its influence on the entertainment sector (Dias 2000; Morelli 1991; Ortiz 1988). After its launch in 1950, television had spent the 1950s largely confined to local broadcasting in major cities. This began to change in 1960 when the introduction of video enabled recorded programs to be broadcast more widely. At the same time, network coverage expanded to include more and more places. Meanwhile, the military regime’s aim of turning Brazil into a consumer society led it to introduce measures which made it easier for television stations and manufacturers to import electronic equipment and components (Lorêdo 2000, 60).
Already by 1968 the power and reach of the medium was being recognized by advertisers, who placed 44.5 percent of their business there (Ortiz 1988, 128-30). Further growth was signaled when the first network transmission using satellite was made in 1969. By the middle of the 1970s network coverage had reached most small towns (Milanési 1978). While this was happening, the recording industry grew vigorously, laying the foundations for what would become by the late 1970s one of the largest markets in the world (Dias 2000; Menezes Bastos 1999; Morelli 1991).
Simultaneously, the military regime instituted a system for the political-ideological control of cultural production. Particularly powerful after 1968, this system was based partly on Draconian censorship – including censorship of song lyrics – and partly on engineering the cooperation of the broadcasting industry in the production of artistic works that did not contravene the so called ‘Doutrina de Segurança Nacional’ (National Security Doctrine), a pervasive corpus of ideology designed by right-wing intellectuals.
One consequence was that popular music, which was in the vanguard of rebellion during the mid- and late-1960s – particularly through canção de protesto, tropicalismo, Clube da Esquina and Jovem Guarda (young guard) – entered the 1970s dominated by constraint. As a result, some major figures went into exile. Geraldo Vandré (Geraldo Pedrosa de A. Dias, b. 1935), the greatest name in canção de protesto, went first to Chile, later living in several different countries (Marcondes 1988, 804-805). Caetano Veloso (b. 1942) and Gilberto Gil (b. 1942), leaders of tropicalismo, were initially imprisoned and then exiled, first in England. Chico (Francisco Buarque de Hollanda, b. 1944) moved to Italy, and Milton Nascimento (b. 1942), the leader of Clube da Esquina, to the United States.
Despite these events, during the 1970s some key individuals were able to create popular music in ways not immediately under the vigilance of the regime. This was the case in ‘old guard’ samba, where Elton Medeiros (b. 1930), Martinho da Vila (Martinho José Ferreira, b. 1938) and Paulinho da Viola (b. 1942) were particularly important, and in forró and its pop reinvention. Some of the more significant forró musicians who launched careers in the 1970s were Alceu Valença (b. 1946), Raimundo Fagner Lopes (b. 1950), José Ednardo Sousa (b. 1945), Geraldo Azevedo (b. 1945), Dominguinhos (José Domingos de Morais, b. 1941), Zé Ramalho (José Ramalho Neto, b. 1949) and Elba Ramalho (b. 1951). Among bands, Novos Baianos and Secos e Molhados were also important.
The 1970s was also a time of consolidation in música instrumental brasileira (Brazilian instrumental music, the so-called ‘Brazilian Jazz’), which became independent of bossa nova (Piedade 2003), and in choro, which similarly sought autonomy from old guard samba (Cazes 1998, 141-46; Livingston 1999). The decade also saw the national dissemination of carnival music from Bahia, initially based on the trio elétrico (literally, ‘electric trio’: a truck with, originally, a string and percussion band on it that led the dancing crowd through the streets of a city (Góes 1982)). Also widely disseminated at this time was sambão, also referred to as ‘sambão jóia,’ a kind of pop samba usually immersed in a world of dramatic passion and considered brega (vulgar) by sectors of the intelligentsia (Araújo, P. 2002; Araújo S. 1987, 1988)). It was linked especially to singers Benito di Paula (b. 1941) and Luiz Ayrão, as well as the duo of Antonio Carlos (b. 1945) andjocafi (b. 1944). Finally, the decade also marked the starting point of a more academic approach to popular music in Brazil. In time this generated important work in fields such as sociology, anthropology, communication and music, and editorial work in the form of songbooks and handbooks and other publications. It also opened the way for academic qualifications in the subject.
In 1965, the first Festival de Música Popular Brasileira (Festival of Brazilian Popular Music) promoted and broadcast by TV Excelsior in São Paulo, defined what would become the main arena of Brazilian popular music for the rest of the 1960s and into the 1970s: the competitive musical festival (Mello 2003; Ribeiro 2002; Vilarino 1999). In so doing it simultaneously created a new trend given expression through a renewed usage of the term música popular brasileira (literally Brazilian popular music) and its acronym, MPB.
If the model for the event was partly the San Remo festival in Italy (Tinhorão 1981, 175), it was also the case that the festival as a competitive popular music event in Brazil dated from the 1930s – even earlier if the concursos de composição (composition competitions) connected to carnival in Rio de Janeiro are included (Tinhorão 1981, 177). In associating itself with this tradition, TV Excelsior was following the practice of radio with its live talent shows, programas de auditório and programas de calouros (Tinhorão 1981, 175). This was itself a partial reflection of the fact that television in Brazil had been set up by migrants from radio and not, as in the United States and some European countries, from cinema (Ortiz 1988).
The festival gave rise to a new conjuncture in Brazilian popular music, providing a critical venue for television, the press, the recording industry, musicians and the audience to encounter one another. A major proportion of the audience consisted of college students immersed in struggles between opposing conservative and innovative factions, an opposition which already had a significant history and which is not easily reduced to the classic antinomy of right and left. The participation of the audience in the live transmissions was extremely active, characterized by the intense use of clapping, boos and catcalls, and amounting in some cases to physical aggression in which the musicians and the audience divided into factions. This disposition towards combativeness spread across many sectors, reaching college campuses, the press and the rapidly expanding world of specialist magazines (Barbosa 1966; Schwartz 1978).
Up to the late-1950s the term música popular brasileira was used, typically by folklorists, to identify the world of folk music, a world characterized as eminently rural. A study by Alvarenga (1960) established criteria for this usage in such a way that what is now known as ‘popular music’ in Brazil was only acceptable if it could be legitimized in terms of the country’s folk tradition (283-301). Música popularesca (music of the populace) was the derogative label applied to the rest of ‘popular music.’ Rangel (1962) wrote one of the first books in the country to employ the term ‘música popular brasileira’ to point to popular music as a genuine type, similarly to folk and art music. Of course, this authenticity was also selective, as the author studied only the Carioca tradition of samba and choro. Vasconcelos (1964) amplified this position, approaching the phenomenon – still with Rio de Janeiro as its setting – from a historical perspective, and Tinhorão (1966) confirmed it, while also inaugurating a more sociological and political treatment of the theme. After the television festival of 1965, música popular brasileira, now more usually replaced by the acronym MPB, came to be used to identify only those individuals and trends that could be recognized as heirs of bossa nova. This included Chico Buarque, Edu Lobo (Eduardo de Góis Lobo, b. 1943), Elis Regina (1945-82) and the members of the canção de protesto, tropicalismo and Clube da Esquina circles. Everything else remained residual.
MPB festivals established a new kind of live television show, one directly linked to MPB’s main lineages. This was apparent in O Fino da Bossa (‘The Best of Bossa’), which followed soon after the first festival, produced by TV Record in São Paulo under the guidance of Elis Regina and Jair Rodrigues (b. 1939). Elis Regina was the principal performer of the first festival’s winning song, the famous ‘Arrastão,’ with music by Edu Lobo and lyrics by Vinícius de Moraes (1913-80). In 1967, TV Record also launched the show Disparada under the leadership of Vandré, whose tune of that title had shared the honors at the second TV Record Festival in 1966 with ‘A Banda’ by Chico Buarque. Similarly, in 1968, TV Tupi of São Paulo hired Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, both of whom had success in the third TV Record Festival, to direct the show Divino Maravilhoso. These shows had profound consequences for MPB as they were constructed as spaces both for its dissemination and its cultivation and celebration. They regularly included as guests musicians with growing reputations: Chico Buarque, Edu Lobo, Gal Costa (Maria da Graça Burgos, b. 1945) , Tom Zé (Antônio José S. Martins, b. 1936) and many others.
In 1965, TV Record launched another influential live show. Called Jovem Guarda (‘Young Guard’), it was presented by the musical leaders of the movement of that name, Roberto Carlos (b. 1939), Erasmo Carlos (b. 1941) and Wanderléia Salim (b. 1946) . The show had one of the largest audiences in the history of Brazilian television. Brazil had been exp osed to rock since the 1950s and Brazilian cover versions of records by Elvis Presley, Paul Anka and others had been released with great success. Its popularity had waned in the early 1960s under the impact of bossa nova, but recovered somewhat in 1963 with Ronnie Cord (Ronald Cordovil, 1943-86) [Marcondes 1988, 411-12]. It was only in the middle of the decade, however, with the Jovem Guarda movement – also known derogatively as ‘iê-iê-iê,’ an ironic reference to the Beatles’ ‘yeah-yeah-yeah’ – that rock music fully expanded its popularity in the country. The TV Record show, which ran from 1965 to 1969, played a decisive part in this, helping transform the main protagonists into champions of the market (Roberto Carlos became the country’s best selling recording artist) and celebrating their music’s crucial message – youthful rebellion. This rebellion was characterized in the show by the use of a range of performance techniques: a distinctive slang, facial grimaces, a particular dress code – long hair for the men, miniskirts for the women – and electronic instruments (uncommon in Brazil up to that time) to accompany songs that were sometimes more akin to ballads, boleros and samba-canções than to Anglo-American rock.
If irreverence was a hallmark of the Jovem Guarda rebellion, it was rebellion against the past, not – at least not immediately – against the military regime of the present. This fact, together with symbols of Anglo-American origin, opened the movement to the accusation, typically made by the advocates of canção de protesto (the dissident wing of bossa nova, represented by Vandré and Regina) of a lack of originality, and of alienation and even collaboration. Members of tropicalismo did not share this attitude, however, participating many times as guests in the show. Jovem Guarda (the circle of musicians) was followed in the 1970s by Nova Jovem Guard (‘New Young Guard’), involving among others the bands Os Titãs and Blitz. Throughout the next decades many important musicians and bands – and not only from rock – made successful versions of Jovem Guarda classics such as ‘O Calhambeque’ and ‘É proibido fumar,’ suggesting that Jovem Guarda had joined the other ‘backbones’ of Brazilian popular music, not as members of MPB, but as a world of independent music.
Tropicalismo, also called tropicália (Cyntrão 2000; Dunn 200; Veloso 1997), had at its core musicians and writers from Bahia and São Paulo. Among the musicians were Veloso and Gil (its leaders), Tom Zé, Gal Costa, the band Os Mutantes and arrangers Rogério Duprat (b. 1932), Damiano Cozzela (b. 1929) and Júlio Medaglia (b. 1939). Among the writers were José Carlos Capinam (b. 1941) and Torquato Neto (1944-72). Intellectuals in many other fields – poetry, cinema, the plastic arts and theater – had links to the movement. The group’s ethos can be summarized in terms of a generalized disposition towards deboche (derision), read in terms of Bakhtin’s (1973) concept of carnival. This ethos echoed a pervasive critical attitude towards the old binary oppositions of traditional and modern, Brazilian and foreign, and erudite and popular, as well as evidencing a desire to see them superseded. The musicians, male and female, drew on a carnival approach to costume and bodily presentation, characterized by a theatrical corporeality. Carmen Miranda, known as the ‘Brazilian Bombshell’ in the United States during the 1940s and early 1950s, was one of the performers they particularly admired.
Tropicalismo flourished in 1967 and 1968. It made great use of collages and pastiches, and its lyrics were often influenced by Concretism and other poetic movements of the time. Its melodies and instrumental and vocal performances were extremely innovative. Veloso and Gil’s tune ‘Divino, maravilhoso’ won third prize in the fourth TV Record festival, and a show of the same name was produced by TV Tupi, also in São Paulo. In December 1968, tropicalismo was banned by the regime and Gil and Veloso were exiled. During the 1970s, Os Novos Baianos can be considered its heir. Tropicalismo has continued to be a powerful presence in Brazilian popular music.
Another significant group of musicians was Clube da Esquina. Led by Milton Nascimento, it typically involved musicians and lyricists from Minas Gerais ( Borges 1996), including musicians Toninho Horta (Antonio Horta de Melo, b. 1948), Wagner Tiso (b. 1945), Lô Borges (Salomão Borges, b. 1952), Beto Guedes (Alberto de Castro Guedes, b. 1951), Tavinho Moura (Otávio Augusto P. Moura, b. 1947) and Flávio Venturini (b. 1949), and lyricists Márcio Borges (b. 1946), Fernando Brant (b. 1946) and Ronaldo Bastos (b. 1948). During the 1970s, the bands O Som Imaginário and 14 Bis were also linked to the circle.
In 1967, Nascimento won two awards at the second International Song Festival promoted by TV Globo in Rio de Janeiro. Soon afterwards, Nascimento participated in shows in Rio de Janeiro and São Paolo, collaborating with musicians linked to the emerging movement of Brazilian Instrumental Music (Brazilian Jazz). In 1968, through arranger Eumir Deodato, he traveled to the United States and recorded his first LP there. This rapid sequence of conquests marked Nascimento’s rise to national preeminence, while simultaneously opening the door of success to the group as a whole, with its reputation for exquisite musical developments and strong links to international pop and jazz. In 197576, Nascimento sealed an international presence for the group by recording with Wayne Shorter, Airton Moreira and Herbie Hancock. This international presence was shared by, among others, arranger and guitarist Toninho Horta. Horta also had an interest in disseminating instrumental music in Brazil and organized the first festival of instrumental music in the country – in Minas in 1986. Another important trait of Clube da Esquina was the use of elements of Brazilian folk music as a base for composing and performing. This was especially notable in Moura’s work.
In an examination of MPB and related areas, Pinheiro (1992) argued that the relationships within and between them were dominated by friction, alliances and counter-alliances, characterized by mutual accusations of many kinds, particularly political, ideological and aesthetic. Piedade (2003) found this theoretical avenue a fertile way to examine Brazilian jazz, coining the term ‘friction of musicalities’ to understand the accusations as a systematic discursive universe. But what, finally, is ‘MPB,’ in a country where an acronym soon tends to become free of the original meaning of the term? In a nutshell, it is the world of the heirs of bossa nova, the central discursive element of whose identity is progressiveness. As all discourse is, by definition, inconsistent and contestable, the opposite can also be argued. Caiado (2001), for example, compared musical transcriptions of bossa nova’s rhythmic-melodic structures – as performed typically by João Gilberto – with old guard samba renditions, suggesting that the latter could be defined as more complex than the former. This, however, does not seem to contradict bossa nova’s discourse of progressiveness, as simplicity could equally be seen as progressive. Rather than negate the old guard, bossa nova’s approach reinforces it and takes it as its own deep roots – as Gilberto remarked, ‘I am just a sambista.’
Civilian government, albeit one imposed by the military, took over in 1985, and in 1990 universal suffrage was restored. In 1992 the elected president, Fernando Collor de Mello, resigned to avoid impeachment under accusations of corruption. By the late 1970s the years of economic growth, the so-called ‘Brazilian miracle,’ had already been replaced by recession and, from 1980 on, the recording industry followed the trend of mergers, resulting in domination of the market by transnational companies and a greater diversity of music. In 1979, production figures were 23.5 million units of foreign music and 40.6 of Brazilian. In 1989, the total was 76.9 million units (valued at US$ 237.6 million), with a strong presence of Brazilian music (Dias 2000, 73-79). By 1996, production had reached 80 million units, 70 percent of which were Brazilian music. At that point sales were dominated by three areas – música sertaneja, Brazilian rock and pagode (a kind of pop samba) – and São Paulo occupied first place in the market (Menezes Bastos 1999). In 2000, the proportion of Brazilian music exceeded 75 percent, a figure which reflected a greater presence of regional music genres. During this time, the country’s ranking in the world market dropped due to the effects of piracy (
The coining of the label ‘BRock’ – in which ‘B’ stands for Brazil – in the 1980s to stand for ‘Brazil Rock’ was one sign that rock had reached maturity. During the 1980s punk became an important element in the BRock configuration, reaching among other places São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Belo Horizonte, Salvador and Porto Alegre by means of festivals and bars (Essinger 1999). In Rio de Janeiro, the influential independent radio station Radio Fluminense FM began broadcasting programs using only demo tapes of unknown bands. In 1985, through the show Rock in Rio de Janeiro, the country was included in the international rock scene. Its 10 days attracted approximately 1.5 million people and were important for the formation of a mass audience for rock in Brazil. Specialist magazines also played an important part. Many bands were formed on the back of these developments, among them Vimana, Blitz, Legião Urbana, Titãs, Barão Vermelho and Paralamas do Sucesso. Of these, Legião Urbana was probably the most successful (Dapieve 1995). Some past or present members of these bands attained individual celebrity: Lulu Santos (Luís Maurício P. dos Santos, b. 1953) and Lobão (João Luís Woerdenbag Filho, b. 1957) from Vimana, Cazuza (Agenor de Miranda A. Neto, 1958-90) from Barão Vermelho, Renato Russo (Renato Manfredini Júnior 1960-96) from Legião Urbana, Arnaldo Antunes (b. 1960) from Titãs and Herbert Vianna (b. 1961) from Paralamas do Sucesso.
BRock’s maturity was achieved through struggle on the part of musicians and aficionados – in a country where suspicion of rock’s foreign associations was endemic – to prove that it was possible to produce rock music in Brazil deserving the label ‘Brazilian,’ while still being linked to the international scene. Key factors were the universal use of Portuguese lyrics, the choice of sensible themes, and groundbreaking work in composition, arranging and performance. These developments involved a strong and deliberate distancing from MPB and Jovem Guarda, as was evident in the preference in lyrics for irreverence toward the government and the establishment, rather than rebellion, celebration of gang life, the cultivation of subjectivity and humor, and, eventually, a nihilist position toward the state (Dapieve 1995; Marchetti 2001; Trotta 1995). Consumption of BRock fell somewhat in the 1990s, but it was by then regarded as one of the country’s musical ‘backbones.’ The 1990s also saw the launch of MTV in Brazil as well as the spread of alternative independent media.
During the 1990s rock’s main rival, música sertaneja, was often portrayed as vulgar and commercial, while manguebeat on the other hand was understood to be a symbol of continuity and was considered progressive (Dapieve 1995). Manguebeat (‘swamp rock’) emerged in Recife, the capital of Pernambuco, at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s (Teles 2000) as a fusion of hardcore, punk, reggae and northeastern folk genres, including maracatu and embolada. Its leading practitioners were Chico Science (Francisco de Assis Franca, 1966-97), leader of the bands Lustral and Nação Zumbi, and Fred 04 (Fred Montenegro), leader of Mundo Livre S.A. Lamento Negro, another important band linked to the movement, which involved large numbers of people from diverse social backgrounds. Manguebeat’s aesthetics started from an acid critique of contemporary Brazilian popular music, which saw MPB and BRock as decadent and market-oriented. It also took on board sociologist Josué de Castro’s critique of northeastern poverty, especially that of Recife, a city characterized by the swamps (mangues) from which the poor population takes its food. Festivals (from 1995 on), alternative bars and record stores (such as Rock Xpress) were important in the local dissemination of the movement (Teles 2000, 283). National recognition came in 1993, when Naçãao Zumbi and Mundo Livre S.A. appeared in São Paulo and Belo Horizonte. In 1994, Naçãjao Zumbi’s first album Da lama ao caos formed the basis for a successful international tour. Science’s death in 1997 was a serious blow, but the movement has continued through the work of Fred 04 and others. One of its important consequences is the strong contemporary presence of Pernambucan music in the wider scene.
Música sertaneja has often been understood in Brazilian popular music studies in terms of the secularization, dilution and commodification of música caipira. However, there is no evidence that 1980s’ and 1990s’ musicians saw it this way in sanctuaries such as Piracicaba in São Paulo (Oliveira 2004). Música caipira for them had connotations of rusticity and underdevelopment, while música sertaneja was raiz (root). Before música sertaneja increased in popularity in the 1980s, its main audience had been in the São Paulo area of agricultural influence. The 1990s saw it achieve a national success linked to the national expansion of agrobusiness (Menezes Bastos 1999). A domesticated agricultural background is ever present in the songs, while love affairs – particularly extra-marital ones – are a prevalent theme of its lyrics. Its music is characterized by singing in thirds and sixths by a same-sex duo, the majority of whom are male, with guitar accompaniment and passionate pop arrangements. The great majority of tunes are love boleros, ballads and samba-canções. Some of the leading duos are Chitãozinho (José Lima Sobrinho, b. 1954) and Xororó (Durval de Lima, b. 1957), Zezé di Camargo (Mirosmar José de Camargo, b. 1963) and Luciano (Welson David de Camargo, b. 1973), and Leandro (Luís José Costa Goiás, 1961-98) and Leonardo (Emival Eterno Costa, b. 1963). All these duos are or were made up of brothers, another common trait (Oliveira 2004).
The word pagode (from ‘pagoda’ in Sanskrit) has a long history in Portuguese, and has been used in Brazil in a general sense for encounters through music and dance. From the 1970s it came to be used to denote a kind of pop samba, frequently characterized by a dance performed by one or two women in the middle of a ring made up of five to eight men singing and playing percussion and string instruments. Black people and mestizos have been the main practitioners. The women form the subject of the men’s lyrics and gesture. This configuration recalls that of lundu-song. This type of relationship commonly points to alterity between the parts, pagode - like lundu-song – being a musical world characterized by hierarchy and the comical. Beginning in the 1990s, pagode reached large audiences and was especially popular in Bahia and São Paulo. Some of its more successful ensembles have been Só prá Contrariar, Raçja Negra, and É o Tchan.
Axé-music (Guerreiro 2000) emerged in Salvador, Bahia, during the 1980s, having as one of its ancestors the trio elétrico and its incorporation by tropicalismo through Bahian frevo. Beginning in the 1990s, the genre experienced an extraordinary national and international expansion, in the process disseminating a new genre (samba-reggae), spreading the names of many prestigious individual musicians and bands and transforming Bahian carnival into a huge event that attracted millions of tourists. Blocos afro (African parades), formed typically by a percussion band followed by hundreds, sometimes thousands, of dancers, are the core of axé-music. These blocos are civil associations, the great majority of them having their origin in lower class and black neighborhoods. Salvador’s history as a city predominantly inhabited by African descendents but with an extremely powerful racist white, or whitened, elite, helps to explain the avowed Africanness of the music. The music has been the subject of frequent disdainful attacks from elsewhere as commercial and vulgar, to which axé-music practitioners respond with accusations of racism and of jealousy, as their music is increasingly a great success and attracts the interest of international stars such as David Byrne, Paul Simon and Michael Jackson. Olodum, Ilê Aiyê, Ara Ketu and Malê Debalê, all names in African languages, are some of the more important bands. Neguinho do Samba (Antônio Luís Alves de Souza), Sarajane, Luiz Caldas, Carlinhos Brown (Antônio Carlos Santos de Freitas, b. 1964), Margareth Menezes (b. 1962), Daniela Mercury (b. 1965) and Ivete Sangalo (b. 1972) are among its more prestigious individual names.
Throughout its history Brazilian popular music has demonstrated an extraordinary capacity to work congenially with trends and influences from abroad. What was originally an empirical fact was later transformed into a conscious strategy, as happened for example with tropicalismo, Clube da Esquina, Jovem Guarda, BRock and manguebeat. It has also demonstrated a pervasive faculty to transform the foreign into the ‘Brazilian.’ The case of modinha and lundu in the eighteenth century is exemplary. These genres also constitute one of the first cases of the globalization of song in the domain of Western modern popular music. This shows that popular music is not the invention of the so-called ‘central’ countries, which is then exported to the ‘periphery.’ On the contrary, popular music is one of the more crucial languages in the system of relationships between nation states, and indeed expresses that system. The case of modinha and lundu also shows that Brazilian music existed prior to the existence of Brazil as a formal nation state.
Another capacity shown by Brazilian popular music is that for transforming what has been seen – usually by sections of its intelligentsia – as poor quality music into accepted and even established forms. The case of Carioca samba during the 1920s and 1930s is paradigmatic. Initially taken to be a music of modest origins, it transformed itself into the very emblem of the country. This happened at a time in which similar processes were occurring in Argentina with the tango and in Cuba with rumba, which again confirms that the international framework of popular music is absolutely fundamental to comprehending its local, regional and national manifestations. As to the parts of Brazilian intelligentsia which have judged many of its musical trends so conservatively, it is noticeable that they have constantly used an Adornian form of thinking according to which the audience is amorphous, stupid and easily manipulated. Additionally, in the great majority of cases, these intellectuals have confused the culture of the poor with poverty of culture.
Since the 1970s Brazil has been one of the few countries in the world where the consumption of Brazilian music has exceeded that of music from overseas. This seems to be a result not only of the capacities just mentioned, but also of the intelligence of transnational companies in adapting to them. This intelligence seems to follow two, superficially contradictory, principles: concentration on three to four central musical types – for example, música sertaneja, pagode and rock; and, at the same time, extensive diversification through the dissemination of other types in order to reach the greatest possible number of consumers. Thus, while this strategy has enabled transnational companies to make increasing profits, it has also made possible the dissemination of many genres that would otherwise have remained unheard beyond their local bases.
There is widespread (though not unanimous) agreement that the first wave of Brazilian popular music to enter the international world was fofa in the mid-eightennth century. The second wave involved modinha and lundu in the last quarter of the same century. In both cases, the world in question consisted of Brazil and Portugal, with some intervention by France and Italy. The maxixe formed the third wave. Following its inception in the second half of the nineteenth century, it was widely diffused in the first two to three decades of the twentieth century, reaching Russia, France and Great Britain among other countries (Tinhorão 1990). The triumph of Carmen Miranda and her famous combo Bando da Lua in the United States during the 1940s and 1950s, as well as the triumph of Ari Barroso – whose tune ‘Brazil’ (‘Aquarela Brasileira’) is one of the ten most played in the world – can be seen as the fourth wave, while baião, disseminated by leading world orchestras in the 1950s and integrated into the soundtracks of many foreign films, constitutes the fifth. Since the 1960s, however, it has no longer been a matter of waves, but of the constant international presence of Brazilian popular music, typically through bossa nova, trends in MPB – particularly Clube da Esquina and tropicalismo (the so called ‘Brazilian jazz’) – and many others groups and individuals. This presence has been increasingly recognized both by musicians and scholars as having a constitutive role in the musical landscape of the world.
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