Journal of Romance Studies

Language and memory in popular song: Brazil’s Caetano Veloso

Journal of Romance Studies (2003), 3, (1), 87–103.

Abstract

Composer and performer Caetano Veloso has contributed to making popular song the most fertile of spaces for poetic creation in Brazil today. This article examines a significant moment in Veloso’s career in which he undertakes an intense exploration of the ways in which cultural memory is formed and transmitted in the language of popular song. The article examines how discourses of ‘cultural cannibalism’ and ‘transcreation’ are used and developed to make popular music a site from which different national and international traditions and styles from the past and the present can dialogue. This dialogue is not tied to short-term cycles of political, social and economic evolution, but advocates instead an idea of cultural memory able to transcend this sense of time. The cultural memory at work in these songs is therefore the result of intersections and overlappings of temporalities, and of cultural forms and frontiers.

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Cabral de Melo Neto, João (1986) João Cabral de Melo Neto: antologia poética (Rio de Janeiro: José Olympio). João Cabral de Melo Neto: antologia poética Google Scholar

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Fonseca, Heber (1993) Esse cara (Rio de Janeiro: Editora Revan). Esse cara Google Scholar

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Philips (1975) catalogue of recordings (September). catalogue of recordings (September) Google Scholar

Ross, Andrew and Tricia Rose (eds) (1994) Microphone Fiends: Youth Music, Youth Culture (London and New York: Routledge). Microphone Fiends: Youth Music, Youth Culture Google Scholar

Rowe, William and Vivian Schelling (1991) Memory and Modernity: Popular Culture in Latin America (London: Verso). Memory and Modernity: Popular Culture in Latin America Google Scholar

Storr, Anthony (1993) Music and the Mind (London: Harper Collins). Music and the Mind Google Scholar

Stroud, Sean (2000) ‘“Música é para o povo cantar”: culture, politics and the Brazilian song festivals, 1965–1972’, Latin American Music Review 21.2 (Fall/Winter), 87–117. “Música é para o povo cantar”: culture, politics and the Brazilian song festivals, 1965–1972 Latin American Music Review 21.2 87 117 Google Scholar

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Veloso, Caetano (1975a) Qualquer coisa (CD) 838 448–2 (Philips/Polygram). Qualquer coisa Google Scholar

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Veloso, Caetano (1977) Alegria, alegria, ed. Waly Salomão (Rio de Janeiro: Pedra Q Ronca). Alegria, alegria Google Scholar

Veloso, Caetano (1984) Velô (record) 824 0241 (Philips/Polygram). Velô Google Scholar

Veloso, Caetano (1987) Música popular brasileira. Entrevistado: Caetano Veloso (audio cassette) (13 February) (São Paulo: Museu da Imagem e do Som). Música popular brasileira. Entrevistado: Caetano Veloso Google Scholar

Veloso, Caetano (1997) Verdade tropical (São Paulo: Companhia das Letras). Verdade tropical Google Scholar

Veloso, Caetano (2000) Noites do norte (CD) 73145483622 (Universal Music). Noites do norte Google Scholar

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Yúdice, George (1997) ‘A funkificação do Rio’, in Abalando os anos 90: funk e hip-hop – globalização, violência e estilo cultural, ed. Michael Herschmann (Rio de Janeiro: Rocco), 24–49 (original English version published in Ross and Rose 1994: 193–217). A funkificação do Rio Abalando os anos 90: funk e hip-hop – globalização, violência e estilo cultural Google Scholar

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Leu, Lorraine