(Published English Version
performed to the music Aquarela do Brazil)
|"Aquarela do Brasil" ("Watercolor of Brazil", also known in the
English-speaking countries simply as "Brazil") is called the unofficial
anthem of Brazil.
It will long continue to remain among the most noted of Brazilian patriotic songs. This song marked the creation of a new genre, the Samba-exaltação (Exaltation Samba), which was adopted by the nationalist dictatorship of Getúlio Vargas. With the rise of the Estado Novo, (New State) centralizing efforts accelerated with a government's quest for shared national identity and the selection of Afro-Brazilian culture as a critical component. With the passing of the Old Republic, too long controlled by entrenched powerful Sao Paulo coffee oligarchs, the new president Vargas became convinced that radio and live music programmers should give priority to Brazilian performers and a new national identity.
The national government
lent strong support to an informal alliance dedicated to "a
new Brazil" with a broad if vague vision of modernization and promoting industry.
The Vargas government established the DIP—Department of Press and
Propaganda. "Its function is not just to supervise broadcasting in the
country, but to also guide Brazilian radio in its cultural, social, and
Samba musically began as responsorial singing that cultivates the call-and-response performing style, and percussive interplay, or the batucada. That samba was able to captivate the cariocas, the cultural arbiters for the entire country was a powerful force in its rise to dominance.
General Getulio Vargas (1930-1937), and during his "Estado Novo" military dictatorship (1937-1945, heralded the development of samba as a unifying element of Brazilian culture. Typical of samba exaltação it is characterized lyrically by romantic patriotism and musically by long involved melodies and arrangements keeping the North American big-band sound. In 1939, "Aquarela do Brasil" won first prize in a popular music contest sponsored by—guess—the DIP which will forever stand as the greatest symbol of samba exaltação.
Indeed it was a indulgence of most popular music during that period, American and French included, to praise national glories. This was particularly true of dictators as both Hitler in Germany and Mussolini in Italy, relied heavily on nationalism to solidify their place in the government. According to Bruce Gilman " If the Brazilian's boasting seemed to be more pronounced, it was possibly because Ary Barroso's "Aquarela do Brasil" is a much better tune than Irving Berlin's "God Bless America."
Carmen Miranda had been extolling the wonders of everything Brazilian well before the 1937 dictatorship of Vargas and his Estado Novo movement. Her meteoric career rise to the top carried this same theme of praise for the land that we love to all segments of Brazilian society. Her Brazilian character would eventually became a prized part of the culture and what it means to be Brazilian.
Carmen Miranda phrase "bananas is my business" comes from a
self-mocking response to her critics she did in the 1940s, to
address the perception of being stereotyped. Carmen's
show business career did suffer from her
creation of a persona which became inseparable from both her screen
identity and public persona. It's lack of depth was a source of
resentment by Latin America women as the power of her image came to
represent all Latin American woman as a
comical icon of fertility
and friendliness that threatened no one.
The role of creating a new more complete and complex image of Latin American women has fallen to the generations to come in the 21st century. Today thousands of electrifying samba girls performing in Brazilian dance troupes throughout the world take the stage with an altogether different attitude than professional female pole dancers.
Today's samba dancers are cultural warriors. They know where they came from and gladly acknowledge their debts to the music and dance of samba and
the story of Carmen Miranda. With their smiles, accent on their womanly charms and choreography they are holding up the ideal of joyful living in the present, demanding equality on their own terms where beauty and hard work are rewarded, and advancing a society that respects the rising power of the sacred feminine.
|Luisao performs Aquarela do Brasil|
Luisão surprises with his magic and involving voice, the control of the Portuguese language, and also by having a very personal style. While in concert, his best companion is his guitar, which he compares to his latest love affairs, with the sole difference that she’ll never let him down.
|Aquarela do Brasil from Disney's classic film "Saludos Amigos"|
Saludos Amigos is a 1942 animated film produced by Walt Disney Productions set in Latin America ands made up of four different segments. Although a short 42 minutes Saludos Amigos was the first Disney cartoon movie to earn a sequel, The Three Caballeros, produced two years later. The film premiered in Rio de Janeiro on August 24, 1942. It was released in the United States on February 6, 1943.
Aquarela do Brasil (or "Watercolor of Brazil"), the finale of the film, involved a brand-new character, José Carioca, showing Donald Duck around South America and introduce him to the samba (to the tunes of "Brazil" and "Tico Tico").
August 1941, Walt Disney visited Brazil on a U.S. State
Department Good Neighbor Policy mission. In Belém do Pará, he
complained to journalist Celestino Silveira that the hotel band
was playing only North American tunes. Silveira asked the musicians to
play Brazilian music, and the pianist played “Aquarela do Brasil.”
On the flight from Belém to Rio de Janeiro, Disney discussed the
creation of the José Carioca character and the kind of song that should
accompany it. He remembered “Aquarela” and asked Silveira if he knew the
composer. The following day, Disney and Ary Barroso met at a
cocktail party given by the U.S. consulate at the Hotel Glória in
Rio and Disney acquired the rights to use “Brazil.”
“Aquarela do Brasil” was performed in Portuguese by Aloysio de Oliveira, founder of the pioneer vocal-instrumental group Bando da Lua, musical director for Carmen Miranda, and later the most important bossa-nova recording mogul in Brazil.
"Aquarela" competed for the Oscar for Best Song as part of the musical score of Disney's 1943 film. Ary Barroso, the composer after several trips to Hollywood and two additional movie projects decided he would rather stay close to his beloved Flamengo soccer team in Rio
|Samba is a lively,
rhythmical dance of Brazilian origin in 2/4 time danced under the Samba
music. However, there are three steps to every bar, making the Samba
feel like a 3/4 timed dance. The festive style and mood of the
dance has kept it alive and popular
There is actually a set of dances, rather
than a single dance, that define the Samba dancing scene in the country;
thus, no one dance can be claimed with certainty as the "original" Samba
style.. In Brazil, the form of Samba is more of a single person
dance."Samba no pé" is a solo dance that is most often danced impromptu
when samba music is played. The basic movement involves a straight body
and a bending of one knee at a time. The feet move very slightly - only
a few inches at a time. The rhythm is 2/4, with 3 steps per measure. It
can be described calling it and-a-one, and-a-two, then back to one. The
basic movement is the same to either side, where one foot moves to the
outside lifting up just before the first beat, lifting on the "and-a"
and replacing itself on the floor on the one beat (i.e. the right leg
moves slightly to the right) and this leg is kept straight. The other
foot moves slightly towards the front, and closer to the first foot. The
second leg bends slightly at the knee so that the left side of the hip
lowers and the right side appears to move higher. The weight is shifted
to this inside foot briefly for the next "and-a", then shifted back to
the outside foot on the "two", and the same series of actions is
repeated towards the other side.
Samba is counted in 2/4 time (2 beats to a bar of music). The only important thing to remember is that the dance is done in triple time - meaning, three steps are performed in two beats.
“Technically, samba has a 2/4 meter, an emphasis on the second beat, a stanza-and-refrain alternation structure, and many interlocking, syncopated lines in the melody and accompaniment.” (McGowan and Pessanha, The Brazilian 23)
Aquarela do Brasil has been successful through
the years and has been played in many different styles, from a capella
to orchestral arrangements.
The wikipedia article on samba identifies many different types of samba music. Most familiar are the sambas de enredo, the theme songs of Rio's Carnival parades which feature the large percussion sections or batucadas marching with hundreds of singers and dancers in escolas de samba or samba schools. However, most recordings feature the samba-cancão or samba-song, best represented by prominent singers from the samba schools like Martinho Da Vila, Beth Carvalho, Paulinho da Viola, Clara Nunes and others, who record in the studio with the same percussion instruments (but fewer!) and add other instrumentation like a seven-string guitar, a ukelele-like cavaquinho and, in general, employ more sophisticated arrangements.