Book Review: "Making Samba: A New History of Race and Music in Brazil" and "Feitiço decente: Transformações do samba no Rio de Janeiro (1917-1933)"

Making Samba: A New History of Race and Music in Brazil. By Marc A. Hertzman. Durban: Duke University Press, 2013. [364 p., ISBN 978-0-8223-5430-7, Cloth: $94.95; Paper: $25.95.] Illustrations, photo gallery, bibliography, index.

Feitiço decente: Transformações do samba no Rio de Janeiro (1917-1933) [Portuguese]. By Carlos Sandroni. 2nd edition. Rio de Janeiro: Zahar, 2012. [263 p., ISBN 978-85-378-0932-7, Paper: R$49.90; E-Book: R$29.90.] Annex, bibliography, microsite.

Reviewed by Michael Iyanaga

[Editor's note: this double book review connecting English- and Portuguese-language scholarship on samba music will be accompanied by an interview with Dr. Angela Lühning, professor at Federal University of Bahia and a driving force in Brazilean ethnomusicology, to be published on the Sounding Board next week.]

In Brazil, like in so many former slavocracies, the solidification of a nation-defining popular music is not only associated with the growth of mass media and the expansion of the recording industry. It is also a result of complex negotiations regarding notions of race and representation. Both Making Samba (MS), by Marc Hertzman, and Feitiço decente (FD), by Carlos Sandroni, examine samba in Rio de Janeiro during the half-century following the country’s infamously late 1888 abolition, as the genre ascended from the margins of society to musical metonym par excellence of the Brazilian nation. To our benefit, however, each does so from a distinct perspective and with a different set of sources and interests.

Marc Hertzman, an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, focuses focuses his investigation primarily on the lives of the individuals who made samba a marketable reality. With care and attention, Hertzman interprets police records, published interviews with musicians and composers, sales data, historical newspapers, and photos and drawings from the era to recount the tale of samba’s “making” during the first decades of the twentieth century. MS is a sublime example of social history at its best. The book is divided into nine chapters, in addition to an “Introduction” and a “Conclusion.” Of special interest for samba enthusiasts is the magnificent, if lamentably brief, photo gallery of musicians. The book is ideal for the scholars of the music industry, Brazilian music, and the creation of popular music. With commendable English-language translations of idiosyncratic phrases, MS is entirely accessible to those who are new to the Brazilian context.  

A more musical assessment of samba during the same pivotal period is provided by ethnomusicologist Carlos Sandroni, who is Professor Adjunto (the Brazilian equivalent of an Associate Professor) of Music at the Federal University of Pernambuco. In this brilliant example of historical ethnomusicology, Sandroni examines changing denominations, the poetics, and the sounds of samba by way of historical sources, some indirect ethnography, and his firsthand experience as a guitarist and composer. First published in 2001 to a demand outnumbering the supply, FD has been inaccessible for many years. Now, thanks to this second, expanded edition, readers have a chance to delight in what became an instant classic in the study of Brazilian popular music and a game-changer in Brazilian ethnomusicology.[1] But there is more. Although this second edition is not updated (i.e., the original text has been kept intact), save the added article as annex, the new incarnation of FD is accompanied by a microsite, run by the non-profit Instituto Moreira Salles, where readers can freely hear the countless historical recordings to which Sandroni makes reference throughout the book. The book’s title, feitiço decente, or “honest sorcery,” a lyric borrowed from seminal samba composer Noel Rosa, alludes to the social acceptance of a redefined Afro-Brazilian culture. And this further serves as a metaphor for how Sandroni views samba in late 1920s Brazil. His book is divided into two main parts (each with five chapters), an “Introduction,” “Musical Premises,” “Conclusion,” and annexed article.

As is common among historians, Hertzman offers little explicit theory, leaving instead his framework mostly implicit in the exposition of his data. Nevertheless, the author makes clear in his “Introduction” that he is working from a perspective of the “new” cultural history, which attempts to create a holistic picture that unifies “‘hard’ history—politics, economics, quantifiable data—and the supposedly ‘softer’ concerns of culture, discourse, and, in this case, music, racial ideology, gender, and the process of turning something abstract (a song) into legal property” (MS 10). While the author acknowledges his intellectual debt to Foucault’s “delineation of the ancillary and hidden pathways through which discipline, surveillance, and power often flow” (ibid), Hertzman does not also note that his examination of biographies, internal conflicts, and oft-glossed heterogeneities are in the mold of Foucauldian genealogy, in order to underscore the fragmentary and inconsistent nature of discourses and individual power. The author is further inspired—if rather nebulously—by postcolonial critique. Indeed, Hertzman argues, in his “Conclusion,” that Rio’s Afro-Brazilian musicians “occupied . . . liminal spaces. They neither wholly belonged to the city’s elite sectors nor entirely to the impoverished masses they are almost invariably associated with” (MS 249).

Similarly, Carlos Sandroni uses his “Introduction” to outline his point of view and his project’s scope. It is immediately apparent that the work derives from the author's perceptions as a musician who was seeking an understanding of why the “samba ‘beat’” he had learned as a teenager was different from the earliest samba recordings. A divergence in rhythm, Sandroni explains, is hardly peripheral, for rhythm largely defines the music and genre. But the book, the author tells us, aims to demonstrate that this divergence “speaks not only to rhythms, instruments, and verses, but also to human types, economic exchange, celebrations, relationships between blacks and whites, conceptions about what it is to be Brazilian” (FD 16). Sandroni ambiguously remarks that his book might be “historical ethnomusicology,” leaving it up to the reader to decide. What is unequivocal, however, is the author's intention to locate FD within the Brazilian canon of studies in music and folklore.

Before getting into the first chapter of FD, Sandroni addresses what he calls “Musical Premises.” Here Sandroni immediately problematizes the term “syncopation,” something missing from MS. Indeed, Hertzman may be unfamiliar with the extensive literature dealing with the topic or perhaps he has unwittingly accepted Sandroni’s defense of the term. For although Sandroni generally replaces “unsyncopated” and “syncopated” with Mieczyslaw Kolinski’s “cometricity” and “contrametricity,” he also resists abandoning completely the term “syncopation.” After all, he insists, it is an important and valuable concept among samba musicians themselves. As such, Sandroni proposes using “syncopation” as an emic term in Brazil’s samba culture. Here Sandroni also discusses two “paradigms” which are central to his study, the “tresillo paradigm” and the “Estácio paradigm.” These terms, it should be noted, are also appropriated and utilized by Hertzman in his study. Sandroni chooses to employ the Cuban term “tresillo” to characterize the 3+3+2 (dotted eighth note, dotted eighth note, eighth note pattern), for there is no Portuguese cognate for this specific division of three articulations (within a rhythmic cycle of eight pulsations). The author explains that one particular variation of the tresillo (sixteenth note, eighth note, sixteenth note, eighth note, eighth note) was so common in nineteenth-century Brazilian music that Mário de Andrade referred to it as the “characteristic syncopation” (FD 31). Sandroni adopts this terminology. The second paradigm, the “Estácio paradigm,” is a rhythmic cycle of sixteen pulsations which are asymmetrically grouped in seven and nine or five and eleven (FD 34-39). The differences between these rhythms become central, for as the author explains, “The main argument of this book is that there is a connection between the type of contrametricity . . . configured by the tresillo paradigm and a certain conception of ‘Afro-Brazilian’ and of the ‘typically Brazilian.’ And that these associated musical and non-musical conceptions give way, around 1930, to a new rhythmic paradigm and new ideas about what it is to ‘be Brazilian’” (FD 33-34).

MS’s first chapter, “Between Fascination and Fear,” is an effort to demonstrate that in the nineteenth century, African, Afro-Brazilian, and mix-race musicians had little “access to or control over the fruits of their musical creations” (MS 29). One of the most important genres Hertzman mentions is the “Lundu,” which “is often referred to as Brazil’s first black or African national music” (MS 20). Turning to Sandroni’s book is helpful in unpacking this argument, as the ethnomusicologist locates the lundu musically in Brazilian history from the eighteenth century to the nineteenth.  Utilizing sheet music, Sandroni demonstrates the way in which lundu dances gave way to Brazilian modinhas, which, starting in 1830, became lundu songs (lundu-canção). And by the late nineteenth century, lundu dances were profoundly characterized by the tresillo rhythmic figure. Chapter Two of Sandroni’s book addresses the “maxixe,” which was a popular urban dance in Rio de Janeiro during the second half of the nineteenth century. The maxixe is not discussed by Hertzman but is a major musical step in understanding samba’s changes going forward. The maxixe, which seems to have originated in the carnival societies of a neighborhood in Rio de Janeiro known as Cidade Nova, or New City, was considered a vulgar dance that combined the solo “belly bounce” dance (umbigada) of the lundu with the pair dancing of polkas, waltzes, and tangos (and Sandroni makes a point to distinguish Brazilian tangos from Argentine ones).

“The word ‘samba,’” Sandroni states at the beginning of his third chapter, “is found in different places of the Americas, almost always linked to black contexts.” It would be difficult to find anywhere a better description, in such a concise form, of how samba “migrated” from Brazil’s northeast (from the state of Bahia in particular) to Rio de Janeiro during the nineteenth century. Sandroni explains that though there appears to have existed a dance similar to the “samba” in Rio de Janeiro, the cateretê or xiba, the term itself does not exist until the 1870s. And when samba does enter Rio, it does so equivocally, becoming a catchall for any number of dances which could have had other names. As such, there are, Sandroni notes, two types of samba: a “popular” one which replaced the tango and the maxixe, and a “folkloric” one which continued to resemble the solo “belly bounce” dancing characteristic of the earlier “lundu” (and other Afro-Brazilian dances in Brazil). FD's fourth chapter continues this exploration of samba in Rio, but this time focuses on the private context of the homes of Tia Ciata (Aunt Ciata) and other Bahian “Aunts.” Sandroni insists that three different styles of dance were spatially divided in the home, with pair dancing or choro in the front room, an “aristocratic” samba in the more intimate dining room, and the batucada, or a more physical (quasi-violent) game, practiced outside. The author argues that this setting allowed a fluid interaction among each style with its respective publics during early twentieth-century Rio de Janeiro.

Marc Hertzman also discusses Tia Ciata, in Chapter Two, but only briefly in order to illustrate conditions of social control of informal music making and the rare occurrence of police repression in these private contexts. It is this repression which is the focal point of Hertzman’s second, and perhaps most impressive, chapter. He challenges what he calls the “punishment paradigm,” a collectively rehearsed discourse among samba musicians and scholars which affirms that samba and samba musicians suffered systematic repression during the early twentieth century. To prove his point, the author hand-selected police arrest records of known musicians and looked at a random sample of four hundred vagrancy cases, for some scholars have suggested that anti-vagrancy laws served as veiled means of persecuting musicians. In examining these cases, Hertzman learns that “[f]irst, hardly any individuals arrested for vagrancy self-identified or were identified by the police or witnesses as musicians. Second, . . . not . . . a single vagrancy case overtly related to music” (MS 43). Nor did any of the hand-selected musicians’ arrests have any connection to music.

How does Hertzman deal, then, with the fact that in later years many samba musicians living and working in the early twentieth century often spoke of their memories of police repression? Hertzman tells us that “[t]o some, telling the history of samba’s repression is an important way to call attention to and denounce racism. . . . Others have employed the punishment paradigm to opposite effect, using it to define inequality and racism as things of the past, left behind by a now enlightened, egalitarian society” (MS 36). Still, I continue to think that Hertzman underestimates the gap between “what really happened” and the material record of that history. Nonetheless, his daring interpretation demonstrates with utter clarity the ramifications of what Ricoeur calls the uses and abuses of memory. One such ramification is particularly striking: the marginalization of women. Hertzman offers as proof the case of Bicho Novo, who, police records attest, was arrested for stabbing his girlfriend, Conceição, in the face and arm. Yet when Bicho Novo was interviewed years later, he claimed to have been arrested for a fight at a samba school. The author is unequivocal: “Bicho Novo’s use of the punishment paradigm and his erasure of Conceição are indicative of a larger set of processes through which women have been marginalized and silenced” (MS 62). 

MS’s third chapter, “Musicians Outside the Circle,” explores the birth of the music industry in Brazil. The focus is first placed on Frederico (Fred) Figner, the European immigrant who “pioneered the production and sale of records in Brazil” (MS 69) by founding the wildly successful Casa Edison. Using Casa Edison financial records, Hertzman demonstrates the earning inequalities among musicians following the first Brazilian recording date in 1902: “[T]he music industry offered significant income to a handful of elite musicians and much smaller amounts to less established ones” (MS 77). After investigating Figner’s role as a (white) power broker in the early music industry, Hertzman looks at the diverse ways in which several African descendent musicians and composers constructed their careers and public personae, and established claims on rights. Focusing primarily on a contrast between musicians Eduardo das Neves and Moreno (Octavio Icarahyense Dias), Hertzman reaches the conclusion that “[b]oth men helped make Rio’s turn-of-the-century music market into one of the first and most public arenas in which black men were judged as free members of the nation. . . . While Afro-Brazilians were expected to mold themselves into upright citizens and workers or suffer the consequences, they had to do so within narrow legal strictures and even narrower social norms” (MS 92).

These preliminary chapters effectively set the stage for the convergence of both books (FD Chapter Five, Part One; MS Chapter Four) at the year 1916, when the Afro-Brazilian musician Donga registered “Pelo telephone” (By telephone), a composition which would inaccurately come to be recognized as Brazil’s “first” samba. This designation is inaccurate, as both Hertzman and Sandroni note, for Casa Edison had recorded and sold several so-called “sambas” prior to the 1917 release of “Pelo telefone.” But the consecration of “Pelo telefone” as Brazil’s first recorded samba is a sign that this was the first significant one. Thus, it serves as the focal point for both analysts. But what interests both authors, at least to some extent, is the controversy surrounding the song’s authorship. This is because just months after Donga registered what was supposedly his composition (with lyrics by Mauro de Almeida), he was publicly accused of plagiarism, as having stolen from the “folkloric repertory” (FD 121). This leads Sandroni to conduct meticulous analyses of the so-called “folkloric” (i.e., authorless) versions and the authored one. By analyzing the rhyme scheme and formal structure, as well as the lexicon in each, Sandroni demonstrates that the famous samba is in fact “a mixed product, a beautiful patchwork integrating elements considered to pertain to both the folklore and popular spheres” (FD 122).

Hertzman cites (and affirms) Sandroni’s analysis while shifting the focus: “the controversy surrounding ‘Pelo telefone’ . . . was less about whether Donga and Almeida had faithfully represented the ‘popular muse’ than about perceptions that Donga had profited from and claimed something that belonged to others” (MS 100). The historian’s interest, after all, is not on the popular-folklore nexus of samba as is Sandroni’s. Hertzman is concerned with understanding how the burgeoning field of author’s rights and music ownership allowed increased individualization and created new territories of conflict. As such, Hertzman also explores the way in which Donga used his success to found, with the superb musician Pixinguinha, the Oito Batutas (Eight Batons, or Aces), a musical group which traveled widely in Brazil and internationally playing “characteristic” Brazilian music and samba in particular. Hertzman carefully shows, by way of a sampling of diverse printed opinions, how the Oito Batutas and “samba” increasingly became, over the course of the 1920s, “our music,” that is, representative of Brazil and Brazilian-ness.

In some ways, it is this broader analysis that is occasionally lacking in Sandroni’s delineation of samba. Indeed, he does not explicitly deal with how samba actually became popular. This, for instance, is largely the focus of the fourth and fifth chapters in MS. Chapter Five, “Mediators and Competitors,” is a brilliant revisionist narrative about Afro-Brazilian agency, which was, Hertzman painstakingly demonstrates, woven into processes of mediation, competition, and contestation. By looking at the biographies of different musicians, the author shows that “Rio’s Afro-Brazilian musicians were hardly the monolithic, impoverished mass they are so frequently depicted to be” (MS 119). The author highlights the different types of relationships musicians cultivated. In some cases this took the form of personal relationships with black journalists, for the press “played a fundamental role in launching careers and as a vehicle for advertising, voicing a complaint, or asserting ownership over a song or [a musical] instrument” (MS 144). In other cases, it was partnerships with composers or the selling of compositions to singers. Hertzman shows that Afro-Brazilians could occupy any number of positions of power, from powerless to power broker. Finally, and quite cleverly, the author looks at other ways in which musicians exerted the power to control their identity: clothing, music, instruments, lyrics, and performance. In particular, Hertzman focuses on the way in which some Afro-Brazilians embraced the stereotypical “malandro” (hustler) identity while others eschewed it, demonstrating, once again, a lack of homogeneity. 

Hertzman is commendable for his sensitivity in recognizing difference; he notes the various situations in which gender, socio-economic background, and gradations of blackness affect an individual’s power. But the historian seems to flatten the differences between the types of samba that were played by the musicians. And though hardly incorrect, this perspective inevitably marginalizes the sound of samba. Though there is brief mention in MS of the uniqueness of the “Estácio sound,” it is unclear by Hertzman’s account how this meant anything different for the larger context of samba in Brazil. And this issue, which Sandroni addresses vividly in the second part of his book, is no doubt FD’s lasting contribution to the scholarship.

Sandroni begins Part Two of his book by asking, in the first chapter’s title, “Since When is Samba, Samba?” His answer is quite clear: “samba is samba” beginning the late 1920s (FD 136). This is when the “Estácio sound,” a style of samba (which goes beyond rhythm, as Sandroni shows) that developed in the Estácio de Sá neighborhood, began to proliferate in the music scene. This “folkloric” or “home” samba stood in contrast, Sandroni notes, to the “popular” and “recording studio” samba recognizable in “Pelo telefone” and other early recordings designated as “samba” (FD 142). The ethnomusicologist argues that the Estácio style of samba was neither an adaptation nor evolution of the popular samba: “starting in the 1920s the inhabitants of Rio would have already created, by way of samba introduced by Bahians and of other influences, a new modality of folkloric samba” (FD 143). In other words two completely unrelated—ultimately incompatible—genres of samba coexisted during the early twentieth century.

In the second chapter of Part Two of FD, Sandroni introduces a fascinating discussion of some of the new compositional processes which developed in the 1930s, particularly the technique of composing “second parts,” which were verses added to preexisting refrains in order to create new recordable and copyrightable samba songs: “Recording, publication, author’s rights, all of this required the presence, alongside the refrain, of a second part, which would, as much as the refrain itself, ‘belong’ to the given samba” (FD 154). This gave birth to a whole new type of composer and new type of samba song structure. Although Sandroni looks at this compositional process in significant detail, he leaves author’s rights unexamined. This is once again a moment in which Hertzman’s work complements (and to some degree, supplements) Sandroni’s. Turning to Chapter Seven and Eight of MS to comprehend the political concerns for rights, we learn that improved author’s rights—which both spawned new compositional techniques and were perhaps demanded because of these new ways of making samba—was a hard fought battle.

MS’s seventh chapter, “Alliances and Limits,” ties samba into the larger populist politics of Getúlio Vargas and the expansion of mass media in Brazil. Hertzman explains that in 1917 musician and composer Chiquinha Gonzaga pushed for the founding of the Society of Brazilian Theater Authors (SBAT). Examining the pages of the SBAT newsletter (Boletim), Hertzman notes that “while the SBAT ostensibly defended all theater and musical artists—and intellectual property more generally—it also embraced a clear hierarchy” (MS 177). The historian calls attention to a disparity between theater and music, which was manifested in the collection and distribution of money. But the SBAT became particularly important in light of two new laws, the Lei Getúlio Vargas (Decree 5.492) and Decree 18.527, the first of which bolstered author’s rights protections, while the latter brought the SBAT closer to police censors. Music censorship, which became a major part of Vargas’ totalitarian Estado Novo (New State), was enthusiastically supported by the SBAT. By doing so, Hertzman infers, not only did the SBAT gain state patronage, but members could also express their nationalism and keep an eye on who was performing what. Hertzman further explores these formal institutions in the following chapter, “Everywhere and Nowhere.” Here the historian focuses on the Union of Brazilian Composers (UBC), which appeared as a more agreeable alternative to the SBAT. Hertzman highlights the irony that while the “economy” of Afro-Brazilian imagery (in stereotyped form) continued vibrantly to grow, the power and decision-making remained in the hands of white artists and government officials.

As these battles for legal representation raged publicly, debates among musicians regarding what samba was or should be were being carried out in the more intimate setting of musical compositions. Chapters Three and Four of the second part of FD is a look at the contrasting identities between the “old style” samba and the “Estácio paradigm.” Sandroni begins, in the third chapter, by addressing how the malandro (hustler) image was handled by composers of each of the samba styles. After a brief historical exploration of the term malandro, Sandroni points out that though the malandro was criticized by, to use a term coined by Hertzman, the “Pelo Telephone Generation”, it served as a constant theme for the Estácio composers. In his fourth chapter, Sandroni looks at some of the different markers of a “new style” samba identity, focusing on foods, clothing, and musical instruments.

The final chapter of Part Two of FD may be the book’s most important. It is an exploration of what exactly the aural difference is between one style of samba and the other. After assessing the difficulty of access to recordings and presenting a disclaimer about the use of recorded sound to make assumptions about live sound, Sandroni carefully analyzes a number of sambas recorded between 1917 and 1921. The ethnomusicologist demonstrates that these samba songs relied heavily on the tresillo and the so-called “characteristic syncopation.” His contrasting sample is a set of eight sambas recorded between 1927 and 1933. Sandroni notes that the sung melodic lines in these later sambas systematically “fall” on accents that denote the new more highly contrametric rhythmic pattern of the “Estácio paradigm.” Furthermore, Sandroni calls attention to the way in which some recordings, particularly those of Francisco Alves, serve as proof of a transitional moment between the old, less contrametric style and the new samba: “Francisco Alves employed, in his versions of the melodies, rhythms closer to the Estácio paradigm, or, to put it more generally, more contrametric rhythms, than the instrumentalists” (FD 215). These recordings thus showed that while Alves was singing in the new style, the orchestra was still playing in the old.

Sandroni concludes with an argument that is far more adventurous than any others which are presented elsewhere in the book. If, the ethnomusicologist claims, past studies have tended to argue that samba was “whitened” during the early twentieth century, his book inverts the idea: “if we agree, with the majority of researchers, that the tendency toward contrametricity is, in the music of the Americas, a trace of African origins, it will be necessary to view in this passage . . . an “Africanization” [of samba], for the Estácio paradigm is much more contrametric than that of the tresillo” (FD, 223). The author then poses two telling questions: why did it take so long for this rhythmic pattern to emerge in written and recorded music and why was this the rhythm selected as the official samba "beat?" Sandroni’s answers reveal that the questions are in fact related: the more highly contrametric rhythmic pattern—indexing a black identity—could only be accepted as accepted notions of race began to change, and it was by passing to “another step of its cultural identity” that Brazil (and its population) was able to accept this contrametricity as a national identity. This issue is elaborated more fully in—and pardon my anachronic gesture—Chapter Six of MS. In “Bodies and Minds,” Hertzman explores how intellectuals between the late 1800s and the 1940s discussed samba and Afro-Brazilian culture, particularly as these related to an “authentic” (and savage) Africa. Running through the theses of some of the major works by Heitor Villa-Lobos, Raymundo Nina Rodrigues, Gilberto Freyre, and especially Mário de Andrade, but also less “official” intellectuals, such as China (Pixinguinha’s brother), Tio Faustino, and Luciano Gallet, Hertzman illustrates the divergent discourses surrounding race, racial mixture, and Brazilian society that assist in comprehending the shifts in popular notions of race in Brazil.

In his final chapter, Hertzman explores music “After the Golden Age.” In particular, the author is interested in the revival—and continued patronization—of the original cohort of samba musicians, the “Pelo Telephone Generation.” Journalists in the 1970s set out on a search for “authenticity” as they collected oral histories and interviewed Afro-Brazilian samba musicians. This project, Hertzman explains, “helped consolidate long-standing tropes about race and music” (MS 235). These are the tropes discussed in Chapter Six, which treat the musicians as ingenious in their primitiveness. The historian’s point is that authenticity could be constructed in multiple ways, sometimes through a narrative of rudimentary instruments and an idyllic past, other times by a difficult life of crime and prostitution.

Finally, “Unhappy Video,” which is supplied as an annex to this second edition of FD, is an article which was originally published in 2008 on the blog of Brazilian musician and composer Caetano Veloso. In this open letter to Veloso, Sandroni voices his discontent that Veloso characterized Noel Rosa’s “Feitiço da Vila” as racist. This article, which touches on affirmative action and racism in contemporary Brazil, makes evident that studies about music and race, as both Sandroni’s and Hertzman’s are, continue to be relevant even when the specific time period under scrutiny is a century ago. 

My double review here, as I use one text to fill in the gaps of the other, should not imply that either needs the other. Indeed, both books are meticulously researched, well written, and entirely complete on their own. Anyone interested in samba, Brazilian popular music, the recording industry (generally), constructions of race, and cultural transformations would find valuable both of these treasures. Yet my decision to review the books together was spawned by a recognition that neither tells the whole story of how samba was “made”—however that is taken to mean—during the first decades of the twentieth century. After all, as Marc Hertzman in particular demonstrates, this was a complex process put into action by differentially motivated individuals who exerted distinct kinds of power and had access to different resources, all within the confines of a hierarchical (and patriarchal) society engrained with racism.


[1] Elizabeth Travassos, “Esboço de balanço da etnomusicologia no Brasil,” Opus, v. 9 (2003), pp. 76-77. 

 

Show In Slideshow: 
Yes
Volume 18 Sounding Board Piece: 
Yes
"Sounding Board" is intended as a space for scholars to publish thoughts and observations about their current work. These postings are not peer reviewed and do not reflect the opinion of Ethnomusicology Review. We support the expression of controversial opinions, and welcome civil discussion about them. We do not, however, tolerate overt discrimination based on race, sex, gender, sexual orientation, or religion, and reserve the right to remove posts that we feel might offend our readers.