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Voices of Samba: Music and the Brazilian Racial Imaginary, 1955-1988


This dissertation analyzes the emergence of an Afro-Brazilian racial consciousness from 1955 to 1988 vis-� -vis the lyrics and other writings by four composers of samba: Zé Keti, Antônio Candeia Filho, Nei Lopes, and Martinho da Vila. From the beginnings of samba music in the first quarter of the twentieth century until Antônio Candeia Filho’s partido-alto “Dia de Graça” in 1970, references to Brazilian race relations in samba lyrics were, with few exceptions, implicit, or when overtly stated, ironic, but still distant from advocating for collective Afro-Brazilian empowerment. Candeia Filho’s fellow sambista portalense Zé Keti was chosen as a starting point in this dissertation for he embodies the dominant Marxist ideology of left-wing Brazilian intellectuals in the 1950s who viewed societal problems as class based. This hegemonic Marxist imaginary, however, came to lose some of its footing to the florescence of black identity discourses as evidenced in the sambas-enredo of Rio’s carnival in the 1960s. Likewise, black identity discourses intensified in Brazilian society throughout the 1970s with the appearance of various cultural, literary, and political activities and organizations that emphasized the expression of Afro-Brazilian identity and the vindication of civil rights. Since the critical literature on samba and Brazilian popular music began in the 1960s, many Brazilian writers have employed samba in the service of national integration and racial mixture, thereby overlooking and excluding the incorporation of black identity discourses into the national identity paradigm that the Afro-Brazilian samba musicians themselves produced. By offering a more nuanced reading of recent sociological and anthropological texts and the existing critical literature on samba, and examining self-conducted video interviews with prominent samba musicians and Brazilian intellectuals, this project contributes to the historicization of Brazilian identity and the socio-racial perspectives which inform racial politics in Brazil.<br/><br/> <br/><br/> <br/><br/> <br/><br/>
Thesis (Ph.D. -- Brown University (2012)

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Bocskay, Stephen A., "Voices of Samba: Music and the Brazilian Racial Imaginary, 1955-1988" (2012). Portuguese and Brazilian Studies Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.