Episode 109: The Tango and Samba

Host: Marcelo Domingos, Department of History
Guest: Andreia Menezes, Department of Linguistics, Literature and Humanities, Federal University of São Paulo

Bandoneon-curved.jpgThe first notes of the samba and the tango instantly capture ones attention, transporting the listener to Bahia and Rio de Janeiro in Brazil and the River Plate in Argentina. Seen as national symbols for their respective countries, the samba and the tango are more than just popular musical and dance genres. A deeper dive into the development of these musical genres reveals a conflict between African slaves, indigenous people, and European migrants over musical identity and Latin American state formation.

Andreia Menezes, a linguistics and literature professor at the Federal University of São Paulo in Brazil, joins us to explain how the samba and the tango transformed from the music of the socially marginalized to an important issue for national intellectuals.

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Episode 98: Brazil’s Teatro Negro and Afro-Brazilian Identity

Host: Marcelo Jose Domingos, Department of History
Guest: Gustavo Cerqueira, Department of African and African Diaspora Studies

Nearly half of the ten million Africans brought to the Americas over the course of the Atlantic Slave trade were brought to the shores of Brazil. Yet, despite having the largest African descended population of any country outside Africa, Brazil has long struggled to deal with the legacies of slavery and the racial equality that has persisted in its society. In the years after WWII, a new movement called teatro negro sought to put black bodies front and center in a rapidly changing Brazilian culture, a development that has been seen as political, social, and cultural.

Guest Gustavo Cerqueira explores the cultural sterotypes that centuries of slavery left in post-emancipation Brazil, and the ways that teatro negro sought to re-position Afro-Brazilian people–literally–on the national stage.

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