Jazz, blues, rap, or Brazilian samba: music is the most common media
used by the so-called underclass to make public and to vindicate their
lifestyle. Illiteracy is no matter, music is providing the access to nearly
all social classes. Those who are heard are able to change something.
Under the dictatorship (until 1972) a musical movement beginning with singers like João Gilberto, Caetano Veloso, and Maria Methania protested against the circumstances. The easiness of bossa nova, with its lyrical words of simple life, which is played in pubs and on public squares, denies all abuse by the rulers. The easiness makes it even more subversive.
“Freedom of opinion/ Let me talk, son of a bitch/
My opinion/ Freedom of opinion constitutes a nation/ Not money, not quotation/
Listen precisely, what I have to say/ Awareness and revolt(rebellion) is exactly what I need/
Because my mind is just asking for HxCx and Reggae/
The message comes from the street, there's nothing to hide/
To disclose my secret: I have no fear/ There's no interest in life if I can't express myself/
Correct or false, exposed or covered/ Only those feeling the rhythm of Calango will be changed/”
Music is taking its role as an independent press and is foreclosing
its cutting-edge for the local radio station. In the seventies the revolts
by the favelados became worse; associations were formed to protest in a more
political way. In various favelas public address systems were installed.
In 'Nova Brasilia,' for example, José -one of the founders of
AMBNB- is reading out the newspapers, is reporting
the next steps for the association and is asking for support of the resistance.
Nowadays we can count one local radio station on average for every favela; in the centre some have even more, collaborating (inter)nationally.
So we weren't surprised to see president Luiz Ignacio Lula da Silva presenting the musician and skilled corporate consultant Gilberto Gil as new minister of culture. Gil is now prepared to market samba as world cultural heritage. He is not understating: rappers from megacities like São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro will collaborate for the first time with the traditional repentista duos from the north-east; the CDs will be produced and distributed by the artists in Amazonia, who otherwise never would have any chance; Brazil will have its first museum of carnaval; already the first installations of the BAC (Base de Apoio à Cultura = base station of culture) have been fabricated in the favelas. But, however, trouble came ... and nearly forced him to make substitutions on his team. For a few months the ministry was paralysed but is getting slowly back to work.
The worldwide marketing of Brazilian music is hindered by the absence of departments of culture in the embassies. Gilberto Gil wants to redress this right away; his actions clearly prove the political role that music is playing in our world.
words from the song Deixa eu falar Raimundos, 2005
Associação dos Moradores do Bairro de Nova Brasília