By Liliana Falabella
I have been listening to a Brazilian composer these days, who made me think about what Brazilian music really is, for its variety of styles, rhythms, and plethora of good musicians making and playing music. His name is Dorival Caymmi, and unfortunately he is no longer with us. But his music and legacy are, representing Brazil at its best.
Around the word, Brazilian Music is appreciated and loved, its rhythms and beauty can be recognized by whoever has the opportunity to get in contact with it. Great musicians from all over the globe are now playing Brazilian Music, and California has some great examples. Just look around, and you will find Brazilians and non-Brazilians playing and loving Brazilian Music. Just like soccer, Brazilian music became a trend almost everywhere you go.
Bossa Nova was very much responsible for that during the 1960’s and afterwards, and it opened the doors for other Brazilian rhythms to thrive beyond Brazilian boundaries. Nowadays, not only Antônio Carlos Jobim, João Gilberto, Sergio Mendes, Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso are revered outside of Brazil. New stars are shinning as well: Céu, Ed Motta, Lenine, Maria Rita and Seu Jorge are some examples, and there are many many more! Since the beginning, what has been called “Brazilian Music” gathered the influence of different cultures in its scope. During colonial years, music was played among natives, African slaves, and whites from Europe.
All these influences can still be heard in the new Brazilian Music of the 21st century. Around the end of the 19th century and the rise of the 20th century, immigrants from all over the world arrived in Brazil looking for a better life, and added their cultural flavor to the mix. By the 1960’s, the Bossa Nova and Tropicalia movements provided a new dimension to our role in the music world, therefore breaking old concepts of what was supposed to be “Brazilian Music”. In the 21st century, Brazilian Music’s “Anthropofagia” savours every musical influence it encounters. It chews and swallows them, and it transforms them into… Brazilian Music!
Cannibalism? Perhaps the first inhabitants of Brazil would know better. Yes, they would eat people! However, they would also appreciate the rivers, the ocean, the forest and the animals – their Gods. Brazilian Music brings to the foreground all these Gods, for they are part of the music with their sounds, and reminds us of how Nature is so important and inspiring to our lives!