Music in Brazil is essential, at least in my experience so far. The first night we were in Florianopolis
there was a huge stage with more musicians on the stage then spectators in front. Good music just seems to be readily available either for free or for a reasonable price. It’s a part of the culture that is kept up even if pushed to be there by the government. We went to that show last night which was great, a mix of samba and European influence, all wrapped together to form Choro. It was my novice idea of samba though as far as the beats were concerned… the kind that make you want to move it move it. The music is great and wonderful to appreciate, and I think it’s important to consider the value that it has and its place in society and culture. My previous blog I spoke about Paranagua and the stage that I wish we could have stayed to watch the show. This stage and the one I saw in Florianopolis are not small setups. There are totally professional and huge. They stand out in a small town to a foreigner that’s not used to being treated with free live music. The mere presence of the stage is shocking. Compared to the rest of Brazil, Curitiba isn’t known for representing the colorful, sexy side of the country. So to compensate, they employ artists to try and boost musical culture in the city. The musicians we saw last night were not only amazing, but they were employed by the state to be there. It’s phenomenal that the funding for the arts works in a city that is so driven for financial progress. Our idea of progress in my homeland is cutting out all the ‘unnecessary’ education, like music, visual arts, etc. to fuel democracy abroad. This city embraces what we consider expendable. Path dependency though, right? Brazil always valued art. From all the different immigrants that came in, there is a history of valuing music, and dance, and celebration. In the U.S., we have a more difficult time incorporating this into our culture. Is it because of our Anglo-Saxon protestant background? Do Catholics really have more fun? Is this one aspect of our roots so different that they have led us to a life where we are neglected of the colors that Brazil values? Perhaps as we move through another wave of immigration in the U.S., Latin influences on society will attract us to appreciate things we have previously devalued. Although we look at our country’s values based on a history of the white protestant men, it has never been one-dimensional. The U.S. has always been a place of multiple ethnicities and backgrounds that continuously influence the ever-changing culture. This similarity is apparent when comparing the U.S. to Argentina and Brazil. The effect of immigration within the two countries is clear in its influence on music, art, food, architecture, politics, etc. Both countries aren’t strictly inspired by the Spanish and Portuguese respectively. Waves of immigration alter a country and redefine its customs and traditions. But whatever it is that makes Brazil love music, where there is enough to share and enjoyed by everyone, I will be here to appreciate. I have a 5year visa anyway. There’s no excuse not to use it.