The Defence of Tradition in Brazilian Popular Music Politics, Culture and the Creation of Música Popular Brasileira
Sean Stroud examines how and why MÃºsica Popular Brasileira (MPB) has come to have such a high status, and why the musical tradition (including MPB) within Brazil has been defended with such vigour for so long. He emphasizes the importance of musical nationalism as an underlying ideology to discussions about Brazilian popular music since the 1920s, and the key debate on so-called 'cultural invasion' in Brazil. The roles of those responsible for the construction of the idea of MPB are examined in detail. Stroud analyses the increasingly close relationship that has developed between television and popular music in Brazil with particular reference to the post-1972 televised song festivals. He goes on to consider the impact of the Brazilian record industry in the light of theories of cultural imperialism and globalization and also evaluates governmental intervention relating to popular music in the 1970s. The importance of folklore and tradition in popular music that is present in both MÃ¡rio de Andrade and Marcus Pereira's efforts to 'musically map' Brazil is clearly emphasized. Stroud contrasts these two projects with Hermano Vianna and ItaÃº Cultural's similar ventures at the end of the twentieth century that took a totally different view of musical 'authenticity' and tradition. Stroud concludes that the defence of musical traditions in Brazil is inextricably bound up with nationalistic sentiments and a desire to protect and preserve. MPB is the musical expression of the Brazilian middle class and has traditionally acted as a cultural icon because it is associated with notions of 'quality' by certain sectors of the media.
’Stroud’s book is the outcome of serious research....[It] is highly recommendable for its penetrating analysis of some key discourses that have been shaping public policies regarding popular music in Brazil. ...the examination of recent musical enterprises is a welcome addition to the scholarly debates on what direction such initiatives should take. Stroud is correct when he points to a more fluid notion of national identity in Brazilian popular music today, which has changed the way the label MPB has been appropriated - a phenomenon which demands further study. The aspects of the book that generate polemics are even more important, to the extent that change can only come through conflict, not through conciliation.’ International Association for the Study of Popular Music ’... a fresh approach ...This book is an important scholarly addition to the existing bibliography on Brazilian popular music, and will be essential reading for those studying this field. It is underpinned by original research and rigorous analysis, and is accompanied by a very useful bibliography.’ Journal of Latin American Studies ’... a major study by Sean Stroud ... a persuasive narrative ... a welcome addition to the study of one of the most singular music movements of the twentieth century.’ Journal of Popular Music '...a thoroughly researched and well-conceived exploration ... [the book] offers a fresh perspective that provides an important opportunity for self-reflection and awareness among theorists, researchers and students concerned with Brazilian music. ...a crucial contribution to studies on Brazilian music and ideology.' Bulletin of Spanish Studies '[Stroud] does an excellent job of teasing out the various polemics related to Brazilian popular music...' The World of Music