Author Topic: Brazilian music  (Read 2168 times)

hiccup

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continued from this thread

@xJohnny95

One thing that I am wondering about regarding Brazilian music is genres.

Most often MPB is used for the music that I know and like, but if you would take the meaning of it literal, it would not say much about how the music sounds. Only that it is or was 'popular' now or in the past?
Or does it describe a certain era of Brazilian music, and is it not used for modern music anymore? (which I think you kind of suggested in your earlier reply)

You will also encounter Bossa nova and Samba a lot. But those are mostly the rhythms that a song uses as a basis.
Many albums will contain a mixture of Bossa nova and Samba songs. But there will also be a large variety of how Bossa nova songs will sound. (over the years for example)

So I am curious, what is your opinion on properly labeling Brazilian music with genres?
Are there genre names that you would use that might be helpful to categorise Brazilian music a little bit better?

The artists that I named in the aforementioned post will give you a clue about the Brazilian music I have in my library.
I don't have a lot of more recent artists in my library, so any suggestions that you might have are welcome!

edit:
I just started listening to your suggestion Bem vindo, amanhecer by Saudade.
It also seems good example of the 'genre problem'.
RYM does not even know how to label it with a genre, and Discogs keeps it very general by just saying 'Latin'.
Last Edit: September 16, 2023, 10:11:33 AM by hiccup

xJohnny95

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Hey @hiccup!  Let me start this post by saying that I am not, by any means, an expert in music or genres. I've been listening to music casually since I was 14, but I started to learn about it on a deeper level only last year.

I need to begin by explaining that Brazil is a large and diverse country. From the indigenous to the Portuguese Empire, from slavary to Italian and German imigrants, from dictature to freedom, all of it reflects directly on our culture, and so does our music. So yes, labeling musical genres can be tricky.

So 'MPB' literally stands for 'Música Popular Brasileira' (Brazilian Popular Music) and is derivated from Bossa Nova, which is derivated from Samba. That's why it can be confusing, especially for someone who is not from Brazil, to identify these genres easily.

MPB was created with the purpose of 'brazilianizing' Bossa Nova by blending traditional with contemporary elements. The ability to blend sounds from different regions of Brazil makes MPB hard to put on a box. One of the characteristics of MPB was the subliminal lyrics against the dictature (1964), which addressed social injustices, making MPB not only a musical genre but a movement as well.

(PS: Not all artists used their music against the system, since some of them still defend the military dictatorship to this day.)

(...) does it describe a certain era of Brazilian music, and is it not used for modern music anymore?

The answer is yes... and also no.

Yes, MPB is a term that is used to describe Brazilian pop music during a certain period, especially during the dictatorship, when the genre was primarily derivated from bossa nova with the aim of 'brazilianizing' the genre by mixing it with traditional and folkloric elements from different regions. and often using its lyrics against the system.

And No. See, just like any other genre, MPB has suffered its alterations, especially after the end of the dictatorship (1985), by blending with foreign genres such as funk and even reggae.

So, is MPB a dead genre? No. It's different than it was before? Yes.

(...) what is your opinion on properly labeling Brazilian music with genres?

Labeling Brazilian music by genre is crucial.

As I said earlier, Brazil is a multicultural country, and our culture and music come from different places and people. 'Funk carioca', 'axé', and 'sertenejo' are worlds apart, and understanding them is really important.

The artists that I named in the aforementioned post will give you a clue about the Brazilian music I have in my library. (...) I just started listening to your suggestion Bem vindo, amanhecer by Saudade. It also seems good example of the 'genre problem'.

Now it gets tricky; for me at least, it's hard to explain why a genre is that genre. As a Brazilian who grew up listening to Brazilian music and its varied genres, it's easy for me to listen to 'Axé' and say, 'Oh, it's Axé, or listen to 'Sertanejo' and say, 'Oh, it's Sertanejo'.

This is something natural and automatic for me, so my best advice to you is to look into Brazilian sources of information, even if it's Wikipedia. Make sure that you are reading the Brazilian version.

Take a look at the albums that you have and not only the artist page, since a lot of them played a lot of different genres throughout their careers. In time, you will see the similarities and understand the genres.

(Which I would say is not easy since there is not a lot of information on the internet about the releases from that period of time.)

But of course, if you make me a list of the albums and artists that you have, I'll be more than pleased to help you with this since I am myself a Brazilian source of information. :)
Last Edit: September 18, 2023, 04:55:59 AM by xJohnny95

hiccup

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I need to begin by explaining that Brazil is a large and diverse country. From the indigenous to the Portuguese Empire, from slavary to Italian and German imigrants, from dictature to freedom, all of it reflects directly on our culture, and so does our music. So yes, labeling musical genres can be tricky.
Wow, that is a great introduction to explaining what is involved with all this.
It's gonna take me a while to digest, and perhaps come up with some more specific questions.
Thanks!

I was aware of the important role that politics has played in Brazilian music.
It was often performed as a theater show I think, with many musicians contributing?
And I am guessing that somebody like Chico Barque, who left (fleed?) Brazil for a while will be considered some sort of musical hero these days? (I hope so ;-)

B.t.w. I have PM'ed you a list of my 'Latin' music.
I hope it gives you some better insights in my taste, and my challenges?
Last Edit: September 18, 2023, 06:14:11 PM by hiccup

Havokdan

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Well, most of Latin America has Spanish as its official language, Brazil, which is the largest country in size and population in Latin America, the language is Portuguese, but it still has its differences from European Portuguese (I myself, when I see an application in PT-EU, I prefer to leave it in English).

hiccup

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Well, most of Latin America has Spanish as its official language, Brazil, which is the largest country in size and population in Latin America, the language is Portuguese, but it still has its differences from European Portuguese (I myself, when I see an application in PT-EU, I prefer to leave it in English).
Yeah, that makes it even more complicated.

Elis singing one of her songs in Spanish.
I speak neither Portuguese nor Spanish (much), but I still hate it ;-)
Just curious, would you guys still label such a song with 'MPB'? Or then maybe it should be labeled MPS? ;-)
Or Julio Iglesias singing in Portuguese. Not good either I think?
Questions, Questões, Preguntas…

edit
Another thought/observation:
Somehow 'Latin' music seems hardly ever discussed on websites and fora that are relevant for trying to establish some sensible genre taxonomy.
In threads like this one on RYM, people will tumble over each other discussing what is Dance, Disco, Industrial, Noise, Rock or Metal. But Latin/Brazilian music is hardly ever part of any interesting discussion.
Last Edit: September 20, 2023, 07:22:25 PM by hiccup

Havokdan

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Well, analyzing what MPB is depends on how you adopt the concept itself, if you analyze the merely etymological sense, the concept and musical styles that would be encompassed as such would change over time, but as I am a romantic, I believe that songs and musicians considered MPB in the past when it was disseminated and popularized, such as Chico Buarque, Caetano Veloso, Jobim, João Gilberto, Milton Nascimento, Djavan, Flávio Venturini and so on. This does not mean that the genre 'froze' in these artists, I believe that those who produce music that is similar to that of these artists, fit into the genre, an example that I often came across is to say that MPB is for Brazil , what R&B is to USA. So, to understand MPB, at least, in the concept I adopt, it is necessary to listen, listen a lot, it is not something that can be explained in words alone.