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Title:Milton Nascimento and the Clube da Esquina: popular music, politics, and fraternity during Brazil’s military dictatorship (1964-85)
Author(s):Holmes, Holly L
Director of Research:Silvers, Michael
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Silvers, Michael
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Magee, Jeffrey; Solis, Gabriel; Tosta, Antonio Luciano
Department / Program:Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Música popular brasileira (MPB)
Milton Nascimento
Clube da Esquina
Sonic field analysis
Minas Gerais
Belo Horizonte
Protest song
Abstract:While military leaders and politicians plotted to overthrow the João “Jango” Goulart administration, a youth collective of popular music composers coalesced on the esquinas [street corners] of Belo Horizonte, Brazil. Led by Milton Nascimento, the music of the Clube da Esquina came to epitomize música mineira [music from Minas Gerais state] in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. The Clube da Esquina sound is distinctive as much for its lyrics about fraternity and loyalty as it is for its collective approach to music-making and audio production. Nascimento and his collaborators also used music as a form of protest against the dictatorship (1964-85), particularly when a majority of Nascimento’s fifth album Milagre dos Peixes (Odeon, 1973) was censored by the regime. When Nascimento resolved to release the album without lyrics, censors condemned the “aggressive” sound of the voice, and Nascimento described the impact of his voice “como uma arma [like a gun].” Using ethnographic data and archival research, this dissertation documents the social and musical history of Milton Nascimento and his collaborators, who came to be known as the Clube da Esquina, in Minas Gerais in the 1950s through the 1970s. Early chapters argue for Milton Nascimento’s comprehension as an orchestrator of personalities, due to his collective approach to music-making and judicious selection of particular collaborators. Though often described as a regional sound by Brazilian music journalists, Nascimento’s music subverts mineiro stereotypes as often as it confirms them. In particular, Nascimento’s music brought regional pride to Minas Gerais, while recognizing subaltern voices, especially afro-mineiros and the agricultural worker. Latter chapters explore the Clube da Esquina’s contribution to Brazilian canção de protesto [protest song] during the anos de chumbo [leaden years] of the dictatorship (1968-74). The Clube da Esquina used textual themes as well as extra-lyrical strategies to communicate political dissent in combination with regional, national, pan-Latino, and international musical styles. Sonic field analysis is introduced as a method by which to analyze how texture and scale on audio recordings can inform musical meaning. Heard in the historical moment of radical clandestine movements, disappearances and torture, and divisive debates about musical authenticity, the collective constructed a diverse set of symbolic expressions relevant to the socio-political concerns of Brazilian audiences, especially youth.
Issue Date:2017-04-18
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Holly L. Holmes
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-08-10
Date Deposited:2017-05

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