Who Invented Brazil?: Franklin regained his street voice – 03/18/2023 – Elio Gaspari

Who Invented Brazil?: Franklin regained his street voice – 03/18/2023 – Elio Gaspari

It is in the bookshops “Who Was Who Invented Brazil”, by journalist and former Minister Franklin Martins. The question is from the composer Lamartine Babo in 1934 and, in Franklin’s answer, the people sing. In this volume, he collected 296 songs, ranging from Independence to the Republic, with a few dozen dealing with slavery and racism.

The history of Pindorama owes a lot to music. Suffice it to say that the Independence anthem has lyrics by a political journalist (Evaristo da Veiga) and music by d. Peter 1st. Thanks to music, the “Batuque de Palmares” is also known, so candidate that it was banned in 1839:

“Delivery clearance, white one comes here
If it comes, stick will take it.”

With the collaboration of João Nabuco on the piano, numerous songs were brought back, including the “Cantigas Báquicas”, composed in 1826 by José Bonifácio de Andrada, the powerful Minister of Independence, exiled in France.

Episodes that the upstairs treats with gravity, downstairs things were simpler. When the Bank of Brazil went bankrupt, in 1829, the streets sang “lice, rats and thieves”. Almost half a century later, when a large private bank in Rio went bankrupt, people sang:

“And who will help us?
In such a sinister moment?
Oh! I know, let’s all run
To the minister’s palace.”

In the book, rebels from Farrapos, Balaiada and Praieira sing. The defenders of order also sing:

“Out of rags, out
No more competing
Pedro Segundo does not want
The Farrapos in Brazil.”

Demophobes celebrating the Rio police seems like a thing of today, but in 1839 a lundu sang:

“The time has gone
Of begging.
Out, loafers,
Go to work!”

At another point of the imaginary of power, in 1857, when the virtues of the Empire were spoken of, the street responded:

“Today everything is progress
From the famous thief.”

Franklin Martins enriched the historical erudition of his work with a political look at the great issue of the 19th century, slavery. The great moment of the book is in rescuing songs from slave quarters and abolitionism. There are the songs of Pai João:

“Our black when fruit
Go to correction
Sinhô baranco when fruit
Soon, Sir Baron will leave.”

A generous researcher, Franklin transcribed 37 songs related to slavery and racism. Of these, 33 are available for free, like all the others, on the website Who invented Brazil?. (In total, the site offers 1,400 songs, a treasure trove.)

Those interested who have some time can listen to voices of history that, in many cases, the books barely tell. The pleasure of listening is incomplete without reading the entries in books. In what has just been released, we learn that some songs were rescued by Mário de Andrade. Or even that, in 1949, the American professor Stanley Stein recovered the chants of old jongos. Stein researched the history of coffee in Vassouras, but, in addition, he bequeathed these sound documents.

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