Voices of Drought: The Politics of Music and Environment in Northeastern Brazil

Voices of Drought: The Politics of Music and Environment in Northeastern Brazil

by Michael B. Silvers

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In Voices of Drought, Michael B. Silvers proposes a scholarship focused on environmental justice to understand key questions in the study of music and the environment. His ecomusicological perspective offers a fascinating approach to events in Ceará, a northeastern Brazilian state affected by devastating droughts. These crises have a profound impact on social difference and stratification, and thus on forró music in the sertão (backlands) of the region. At the same time, the complex interactions of popular music and social conditions also help create the environment. Silvers offers case studies focused on the sertão that range from the Brazilian wax harvested in Ceará for use in early wax cylinder sound recordings to the drought- and austerity-related cancelation of Carnival celebrations in 2014-16. Unearthing links between music and the environmental and social costs of drought, his daring synthesis explores ecological exile, poverty, and unequal access to water resources alongside issues like corruption, prejudice, unbridled capitalism, and expanding neoliberalism.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780252083778
Publisher: University of Illinois Press
Publication date: 10/16/2018
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 212
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Michael B. Silvers is an assistant professor of musicology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

Chapter 1 Hills, Dales, and the Jaguaribe Valley: Carnauba Wax at the Dawn of Recorded Sound 29

Chapter 2 "Help Your Brother": Drought Songs as Protest 48

Chapter 3 The Secret of the Sertanejo: Listening to Forró, Hearing Drought 70

Chapter 4 Sounding the Real Backlands: Raimundo Fagner and the Soundscape of Orós 87

Chapter 5 Real or Plastic Forró: Soundscapes of a Changing Economy 107

Chapter 6 Forró, or Bread and Circuses: Carnival in Times of Drought 130

Conclusion 149

Notes 159

References 169

Index 185

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