Samba is Brazil's "national rhythm," the foremost symbol of its culture and nationhood. To the outsider, samba and the famous pre-Lenten carnival of which it is the centerpiece seem to showcase the country's African heritage. Within Brazil, however, samba symbolizes the racial and cultural mixture that, since the 1930s, most Brazilians have come to believe defines their unique national identity.
But how did Brazil become "the Kingdom of Samba" only a few decades after abolishing slavery in 1888? Typically, samba is represented as having changed spontaneously, mysteriously, from a "repressed" music of the marginal and impoverished to a national symbol cherished by all Brazilians. Here, however, Hermano Vianna shows that the nationalization of samba actually rested on a long history of relations between different social groupspoor and rich, weak and powerfuloften working at cross-purposes to one another.
A fascinating exploration of the "invention of tradition," The Mystery of Samba is an excellent introduction to Brazil's ongoing conversation on race, popular culture, and national identity.
|Publisher:||The University of North Carolina Press|
|Series:||Latin America in Translation/en Traduccion/em Traducao Series|
|Product dimensions:||6.12(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.68(d)|
About the Author
Hermano Vianna is a Brazilian anthropologist and writer who currently works in television.