1st Edition

Gold, Festivals, and Music in Southeast Brazil
Sounding Portugueseness

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after July 30, 2021
ISBN 9780367229856
July 30, 2021 Forthcoming by Routledge
240 Pages 24 B/W Illustrations

USD $160.00

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Book Description

Gold, Festivals, and Music in Southeast Brazil: Sounding Portugueseness is a study of the musical legacy of the 18th century Brazilian gold rush that integrates ethnographic research of the main genres of former mining communities in Brazil -- from liturgical music in the style of European art music to Afro-Brazilian musical expressions. Its content and structure are informed by Norbert Elias’ idea of the civilizing process, which is explored regarding its relevance in interpreting sociocultural processes and choreo-musical expressions in the small town Morro Vermelho. The book’s innovative feature is its focus on a little-known area to non-Brazilian scholars,and its focus on the colonial and European heritage in Brazil.

Morro Vermelho’s cultural traditions have received relatively limited attention. The Catholic festival of Our Lady of Nazareth provides a setting for the documentation and analysis of the musical setting and is thus placed at the centre of the discussion. It leads through the vast writings on Brazilian identity and challenges the view on Brazilian-ness as constructed in terms of the mixing of races. Norbert Elias’s concept of the "civilizing process" structures the book and is relevant for understanding the cultural sphere of the festival of Our Lady of Nazareth.

The book combines discourses of Portugueseness with historical sources and observations from fieldwork and community building in the virtual world. The focus on the music to support social constructions of "Portugueseness" is supported with evidence from diverse data sources: music (literature and fieldwork recordings), original interviews, marketing materials and historical narratives. The combination of archival, ethnographic and bibliographic research methods attempts a seamless narrative. Its approach to fieldwork and frank reflections on the process and relevant issues help to contextualize the analyses and serve as useful advice for future researchers.

Table of Contents


Music and the Myth of Racial Democracy in Brazil

Modernity, Coloniality of Power, and the Theory of the Civilizing Process

Minas Gerais and the Colonial Legacy

Morro Vermelho, Performative Memory and Portugueseness

About the Book

1 - Festivals and Music as Civilizing Forces in Colonial Minas .

Colonial Encounters and their Legacies

The Brotherhoods


Christian and Moor Performances


Social Dances

Musical Mulatismo

Música Barroca Mineira

Orquestras and Bandas

Musical Manuscripts


Caeté and Morro Vermelho

2 - History as Memory, Heritage and Brand in Morro Vermelho

History as Memory

Morro Vermelho and the Gold

Festivals and Music

The Banda and Coral em Latim

History as Heritage and Brand

3 - Sounding the Sacred and Civilized

The "Senhora do Morro Vermelho"

The Festival of Our Lady of Nazaré

The Procedure of the Festival

The Cavalhada

The Procedure of the Cavalhada

Interpretations of the Cavalhada

Liturgical Music

Culture Politics

4 - Sounding the Afro-Brazilian Resistance

The Calungas

Performative Memories of Afro-Brazilianness

Mazurkas, Waltzes, Quadrilles, and Contredanses

The Festival of Our Lady of the Rosary

The Aluá

The Congados

The Batuque

Race, Politics, and the Cavalhada Mirim

The Cavalhada Mirim

Race and Culture Politics

5- Conclusion: Sounding Portugueseness in Southeast Brazil

Conflicting Notions of Brazilianness

Historical Memory and Place Branding

Heritagization as Civilizing Practice


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Barbara Alge is Visiting Professor in Ethnomusicology at Goethe-University Frankfurt. Since 2011 she is the Website Reviews Editor of the Yearbook for Traditional Music, and in 2012-2014 the co-editor of the journal The World of Music (new series)