By David Treece. Published 2007. ISBN 9781900039932
Are music and language kindred modes of expression and communication, or are they essentially, functionally different from each other? What can we learn from a culture such as Brazil’s, where music appears to figure so centrally, about its power as an alternative source of meaning in people’s lives, but also about its interaction with the realm of language? This lecture draws on examples from some key figures in Brazil’s musical and literary traditions and on the popular ethos of malandragem (‘jive’ or ‘hustling’), in order to explore the dialogue between those two faculties in the country’s modern history. In drawing attention to the special capacity of music to mobilise and realise human identities, to overcome the experience of alienation between self and world, and to construct a powerfully felt sense of community, the lecture makes the case for restoring musicality to a more central and exemplary place in our educational and intellectual practices.
David Treece is Camoens Professor of Portuguese at King’s College London, where he teaches Brazilian Culture and Literature, and directs the Centre for the Study of Brazilian Culture and Society.