Sunday, January 20, 2008

The flame of civilization

I've just finished reading Tropical Truth, but Brazilian singer Caetano Veloso. It's an extremely contentious, but inspiring witness to the creative energies around the nexus of art and music in 20th century Brazil.

Like many other Brazilian artists, Veloso's work seems borne of the struggle against the exoticisation of the south.  Rather than present the South as primitive other to the rational North, he advocates a continuity of the rationalist project, albeit with a detour:

The great movement that carried the flame of civilization from the globe's warm regions into the cold of the northern hemisphere - thence on to Japan and the neocapitalist Asian tigers and neocommunist China - this movement is ripe for a detour. And it may have as its horizon a myth of Brazil - the American, Lusophonic, mestizo giant of the southern hemisphere.
Caetano Veloso Tropical Truth: A Story of Music & Revolution in Brazil New York: De Capo Press, 2002 (orig. 1997), p. 324

There's a reasonable quota of Lusophone mysticism in the book. But it results in a dense creativity, woven in the dialogue between musicians and artists and through samba, Bossa Nova and Tropicalismo. How can we connect this to other creative energies in the South?

1 comment:

Marilyn said...

Nice blog. Keep up the good work. Cheers:-)