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The Brazilian Sound: Samba, Bossa Nova, and the Popular Music of Brazil Paperback – December 28, 2008
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From Library Journal
Two new books on popular music present contrasting approaches to the diverse world of Hispanic music. Aparicio's (Spanish and American culture, Univ. of Michigan) work, aimed at an academic audience, deals with salsa and Puerto Rican culture in a feminist context. McGowan, targeting a general audience, presents a comprehensive history of popular music in Brazil. Aparicio analyzes salsa, boleros, and other popular musical forms in terms of cultural issues (race, gender, class), drawing on her own experiences, and those of typical listeners, to explore these issues. Readers may find their views on salsa altered by reading this book. A recommended choice for academic Hispanic studies collections and for music collections with a strong Hispanic emphasis. McGowan and Pessanha here update their original edition (Billboard Bks., 1991), bringing their extensive experience writing on Brazilian popular music for Billboard and other magazines to this extensive survey covering local jazz and rock as well as better-known forms. The accessible writing style and lavish use of illustrations help achieve the authors' goal of inspiring interest in this music. Updates cover recent music and musicians, provide more social analysis, and expand the discography to 1000 titles, adding much to the original edition. The best work on the topic, this is recommended for both academic and public library music collections.?James E. Ross, WLN, Seattle
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
"An excellent resource on some of the most popular music in Brazil.... Clearly written and offering information valuable for understanding Brazilian music in general.... Anyone interested in the evolution of Brazilian popular music and some of its most prolific artists of the past centuries will appreciate this title. Summing Up: Highly recommended." --Choice, June 2009
“[T]his book has been revised and expanded again to be bigger and better than the previous highly praised incarnations. Ten years on, the music is still evolving, with many new artists and hybridizations, and McGowan and Pessanha are certainly keeping up with the changes. Their book features new coverage of funk, rap, and hip-hop and profiles new samba artists as well as artists on the rise in electronic dance music and other genres. Now that the Internet has made it easier to find and explore once-exotic musical genres, people looking for information about all the kinds of music in Brazil will love this book. Lavishly illustrated with 175 black-and-white photos, 12 maps, and 12 figures, it covers the remarkable breadth of Brazilian music in a highly readable, lively manner. Highly recommended for all public libraries and world music collections, even those owning an earlier edition."
— Library Journal
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Unfortunately, unless a person is willing to spend countless shopping hours and a couple of thousand dollars building up collection of Brazilian records, he or she will gain almost no insight from this book into what the music feels like. The authors describe individual works and artists in only vague terms - terms often identical to those previously used to describe others. They beat the term "syncopation" into irrelevance - it's clear only that all Brazilian music is syncopated. The authors habitually refer to folk music genres and song forms ala "Composer X's work is all based on the Y song form..." But they provide no practical examples or definitions of those genres or forms.
The authors stridently dumb-down their text, accepting as axiom that one has to "hear it to believe it" and that it is meaningless to describe Brazilian music in technical terms. They generally refrain from even using common musical terms - bar, measure, pulse, key, etc. - to give the reader a clearer understanding of Brazilian rhythmic and harmonic structures. They use few effective musical comparisons or verbal metaphors. It is understandably difficult to describe music in writing. But it is possible. Judicious use of metaphor, comparisions, and technical descriptions would have greatly fleshed out what in the end comes off as a skeletal text.
This 1998 edition serves as the update to the first, apparently published in 1990 or 1991. However, the amendments appear to have been quite minor - embodied by an isolated paragraph here and there, and four meager pages in the final "More Brazilian Sounds" chapter. It's as if nothing has really happened in the evolution of Brazilian music since 1990 - an impression that must be wrong.
The Brazilian Sound catalogs decent research, but is neither good writing nor effective music history.
Most recent customer reviews
Review by Reeves Medaglia-Miller, Ph.D.
"In Brazil, music is everywhere.Read more