Spring 2004

Toca Brasil! (Play Brazil!): An Interactive Survey of Brazilian Music

Galm,Eric Andrew

01/26/2004 - 05/08/2004
Tuesday 06:00 PM - 09:00 PM

Music Studios 301

A comprehensive exploration of Brazilian music, this course will present an integrated approach through hands-on performance of Brazilian music, percussion, and dance and academic study of Afro-Brazilian culture, religion, and dance. We will begin with an overview of traditional forms of Afro-Brazilian expression, including capoeira (a martial art/dance/game, believed to have been used as a means to escape from slavery), maculele (a recreational stick dance developed in the northeastern sugarcane fields) and maracatu (a symbolic coronation ceremony for an Afro-Brazilian "king"). We will look in detail at samba music, an Afro-Brazilian cultural expression that has formed part of Brazil's national identity since the 1930s. We will then focus on how various musical traditions were incorporated into popular musical styles in the 1960s and 1970s, and how musicians used these as a base to defy censorship imposed by the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1986. Finally, we will look at how these traditional forms of expression have helped to create new styles of music, such as samba-reggae, a musical genre that has incorporated philosophies and ideologies of resistance from Brazilian samba and Jamaican reggae.

Readings include McGowan/Pessanha THE BRAZILIAN SOUND; Guillermoprieto, Samba; Galm/Galm, PERCUSSION INSTRUMENTS OF BRAZIL; and Crook, Black Consciousness, SAMBA-REGGAE AND THE RE-AFRICANIZATION OF BAHIAN CARNIVAL MUSIC IN BRAZIL. Videorecordings include BAHIA: AFRICA IN THE AMERICAS, an anthropological introduction to Afro-Brazilian culture, CARNIVAL BAHIA, a documentary of a neighborhood's preparation for their annual carnaval parade, and fieldwork footage from the instructor's personal research during carnaval in Brazil.

Required work will include a final paper and oral presentation, short response and reaction papers to readings, videos, discussions, and observations of the musical performance process.

No previous musical experience is necessary. The course will combine hands-on musical performance, readings, and audio/video recordings. Some of the musical rhythms to be studied are those listed above, plus the berimbau (a musical bow), the cuica (a friction drum), and various percussion instruments from the batucada (a samba drumming group). This course counts toward the dance and culture requirement for DCMV.

Eric Galm (B.M. University of Michigan; M.A. Tufts University) is a musician and doctoral candidate in ethnomusicology at Wesleyan University. He holds performance certificates from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro and the Escola Brasileira de Musica, has taught at the University of Connecticut, Central Connecticut State University, Eastern Connecticut State University, Trinity College, and Wesleyan University.


Consent of Instructor Required: No

Format: Seminar

Level: GLSP Credits: 3 Enrollment Limit: 18

Texts to purchase for this course:
Alma Guillermoprieto, SAMBA (Vintage) Paperback

C. McGowan & R. Pessanha, THE BRAZILIAN SOUND (Temple University Press) paperback


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