Samba and national identity
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More About This Title Samba and national identity


"By challenging the classic authors’ views on Brazilian cultural history, who define samba as Portuguese music inspired by black culture, the author – and musician – Magno Bissoli Siqueira establishes in 'Samba and national identity: From its origins to the Vargas', with a well-documented research, that the rhythm indeed had its origin in Africa. Moreover, he investigates, in a provoking and innovative way, “samba and national identity” only superficially addressed by historiography in the Vargas period, and also how and in which context the rythm left the marginal origins from the beginning of the 20th century to become a commodity and one of the most iconic symbols of contemporary Brazil – even if, to that end, it had to undergo a “whitening” process.

“With a new social configuration taking place, different methods were needed to build the national State, inspired by European models, the concept of a national identity was one of them,” writes Siqueira. He explores three main premises: that samba is characterized by its rhythmic configuration coming from an African matrix, handed down by peoples through religious music; that from this matrix, samba was divided into derivations, with some representing specific segments of society; and that during this process, professionalism in the field of popular music was developed, aiming the expanding market of mass-media and entertainment.