Another unfinished paper I have is on Tropicalismo. I am reminded of it by this post. I do not know that it fits into what I am doing now but I should finish it. The text is quite interesting; it got out of my control and Tropicalismo began to look like the boom novel; that is the direction I would like to pursue with it now.

I never finished the paper because my dislike of Tropicalismo is not entirely objective, because it needed more research than I had time to put into a sideline, and because as already noted, the text had a mind of its own.

My favorite Tropicalista is Torquato. He says:

A alegria é a prova dos nove e a tristeza é teu porto seguro
Minha terra é onde o sol é mais limpo e Mangueira é onde o samba é mais puro
Tumbadora na selva-selvagem, Pindorama, país do futuro
Ê, bumba-yê-yê-boi ano que vem, mês que foi
Ê, bumba-yê-yê-yê é a mesma dança, meu boi

Nearly every word of that is a quotation and if you can identify them all you are well informed.


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Filed under Bibliography, News, Poetry, Songs, Theories

2 responses to “Tropicália

  1. Jonathan Mayhew

    So how is tropicalia like the boom? Both late modern Latin American cultural movements based on Latin American exceptionalism? What is it that you don’t like about it? Is it because you’re supposed to like it?

  2. Z

    Well, it is like the boom in those ways but what struck me looking at the manuscript I have, the last time I looked at it, was that Trop. really was that rich. I could not finish because I could not figure out how to be diplomatic enough about what I dislike, or sort out my personal dislike from more rational critique. But before giving up I had really worked on the texts and their connections and that was how I saw how mosaic-like the whole thing is and how big and multi-leveled the Trop. project is, so it is also the size and complexity that is boom-like.

    Why I don’t like it: 1. too patriotic even though I realize it is supposed to be alt-patriotic. 2. not ironic enough for me about the tropical paradise. 3. too lite-pop for me. 4. we are supposed to adulate it. 5. because I understand the justifications for reasons 1-4, yet do not find this understanding to be enough to cause me to love it duly. 6. because the exceptionalism grated on me before I was sophisticated enough to be able to name it, so my visceral reaction is: “this music is oppressing me!” 7. Because in Bahia back in the day, the only non commercial radio station kept playing it and so did many other sound systems; you just could not escape; I would have to take a break by going to the Goethe Institute, putting on headphones, and spinning anything I could find that was less conciliatory. And that is my key word: conciliatory.

    BUT not all of these are my considered, academic, expert style opinions, and I am partly reacting against the pop sides of Caetano and Gil and not Tropicalismo per se. One should look on the dark side of Tropicalismo if possible. That would be a good title for a subsection of some piece … “Dark Tropicalismo.” I had amusing subsection titles in that manuscript, all ironic and all turning on “and,” e.g. “Latin-Tinged and Beautiful”.

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