Africanness in action : essentialism and musical imaginations of Africa in Brazil /

Publication Type:



Oxford University Press,, New York, NY, United States ; Oxford, United Kingdom, p.1 online resource (xi, 304 pages) : (2021)

Call Number:




(OCoLC)fst00833880, (OCoLC)fst01030269, (OCoLC)fst01030277, African influences., Blacks, Blacks., Brazil, fast, History and criticism., Music, Music.


Includes bibliographical references and index.Bahia as an Epicenter of African Diasporic Culture -- Redeeming the Study of African Essentialism -- Orkestra Rumpilezz : A Big Band Playing Percussion -- Orkestra Rumpilezz : Complications of African Rhythm -- The Afro Symphonic Orchestra and the Africanization of Erudite Music -- Nzinga Berimbau Orchestra : Performances of Bantu Heritage -- Tuned Berimbaus : Melodic Performances of Africanness."This book discusses how musicians from Bahia, an emblematic African diasporic location in northeastern Brazil, think about, discuss, compose, rehearse, perform, and stage music inspired by what they perceive to be their own African ancestry. It argues that these musicians assert Afro-Brazilian identities and connect to the African continent and other diasporic places by creatively engaging essentialized notions about African music and culture: instead of mechanically reproducing these tropes, they emphasize them or downplay them. The book theorizes these preconceived notions about African music, culture, and performance as tropes of Africanness, emphasizing that they exist in two interrelated realms: as essentialist ideas in discourse and as concrete practices and sounds. Six commonly encountered tropes of African music are analyzed: the notions that its most important parameter is rhythm and that it is dominated by percussion; that it is meant to be danced to or deeply embodied rather than intellectualized; that it always touches on the sacred; that it is spontaneous and improvisatory; and that it reflects communalism rather than individualism. Through four case studies from Bahia (a jazz big band called Orkestra Rumpilezz, a symphony orchestra called the Orquestra Afrosinfônica, and two berimbau orchestras led by capoeira practitioners), the book demonstrates the nuances of musical creation in the African diaspora, acknowledging the genuine impact that essentialisms have on Bahian music while showing that they may not be an essential part of the musicians' African roots"--Description based on online resource; title from digital title page (Oxford Scholarship Online, viewed September 17, 2021).