December 3, 2020

Speaker talks about Brazilian music and it’s ties to culture

The Center for International Education (CIE) presented “I’m Tired of Being Sexy: New Perspectives on Brazilian Music”, with speaker Derek Pardue.
The lecture was held on Nov. 29 in Emerson Library in the conference room at noon. The event focused on hip-hop culture in Brazil dealing with sex, gender and class.
Pardue, a cultural anthropology professor at Washington University said he was invited to talk about the topic by CIE department associate, Kate Brooks.
“She thought it would be a good idea for students to learn about different aspects of music in another country,” said Pardue.
Pardue has been studying Brazilian hip-hop music since 1995 in São Paulo, Brazil, where he spent more than four years in residence.
“That was also the thesis for my Ph.D.,” said Pardue. “And I go back to keep up with the latest hip-hop music and culture there.”
Pardue said that music is without question a major industry and national symbol of Brazil.
“Music has been a lens through which foreigners have reckoned Brazilian society,” Pardue said. “Historically, this has meant a story of sex, parties and occasional socio-political critique.”
While these themes continue to be salient as Brazilian stereotypes, useful for both outsiders and locals, Pardue wants people to refocus their attention on Brazilian
sound and society.  He said Brazil has emerged as a global player in the 21st century and with this rise, has taken greater control over national identity and its circulated meanings.
Pardue presented a power point with a young woman wearing headphones imagining what she thought Brazilian music was.
“When people think about Brazilian music, they think it’s nothing but carnival music, like they have at the many parades they (Brazilians) have each year,” said Pardue.
In one slide, he showed a female group, Feminine Attitude, where he played their song Roses, which is about men abusing and killing women through domestic violence. The group fights for women’s rights in Brazil through music.
“Many women in Brazil, especially in music, talk about this issue,” Pardue said.
Pardue talked about rapper Mano Brown, who was the first rapper to talk about street life in Brazil.
“This was rare in Brazil; for a musician to stay true to where you come from,” said Pardue.
Another slide showed rap group, Afro-Nordestinas. Pardue said they express how proud they are to be Afro descendent from Caatinga. Pardue said that many people believe their music is about street life in Brazil, but what it’s actually about is their hometown in the country.
“They were really talking about their hometown, Caatinga, which is really nothing but farm land, not a city,” said Pardue.
The lecture closed when he showed the same girl with the headphones having a better since of Brazilian music. Below the picture was the quote, “The Geographical gendered, and sonic (among other) aspects of Brazilian identity have always been complex and heterogeneous. The point is that they are now becoming more widely circulated and nationally recognized as real and not imported mimicry.”

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