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Music, Politics and Revolution

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Hugo Castro

on 20 June 2018

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Transcript of Music, Politics and Revolution

Music, Politics and Revolution:

Protest Song and the Carnation Revolution in Portugal

Military Coup - Carnation Revolution

end of censorship or the so-called prior examination
extinction of the political police (PIDE/DGS)
return of the exiles and release of political prisoners
beggining of the processes to end the colonial war
support for the self-determination and independence of the colonies.
legalization of political parties and organizations
proliferation of left and extreme-left political parties and organizations
Hugo Castro, Doctoral Forum
Music as a tool of political expression
configuration of musical practices in revolutionary contexts
music production of the so-called "protest song"
political engagement of musicians and other agents
Methodologies and approaches
inclusion of evaluative and ideological aspects
consideration of particularities and changes in the historical context
analysis on the relations with musical movements in different geographical contexts
perspectives in practices of repertoire creation, recording, publishing and marketing of musical materials
Carnation Revolution
25th April 1974
musical expressions associated with political engagement
motivations for music creation and dissemination
contexts of musical activity related with revolutionary values
Popular Music Studies

Music Identity
Social Action

Diversity of styles

Formation of Social
Political Movements

creation and dissemination of political messages
intersection between aesthetics and ideology

Lauda Nooshin (2009)
Eyerman and Jamison (1998)
social and political consciousness
Peter Manuel (1987) & Robin Moore (2006)
music in socialist contexts (e.g. Cuba)
importance of extramusical aspects
cultural policies and ideology of the State
negotiation between musical styles

Movements of protest music expression:

nueva canción / nueva trova
(Latin America)
civil rights / anti-war movements
style rive gauche / nouvelle chanson
cantacronache / nuovo canzoniere
nova cançó / nova canción / nueva canción / voces ceibes

performative role of musicians
appropriation and recycling of repertoire
musicians as
political agents
in revolutionary contexts

Tumas-Serna (1992); Ian Peddie (2006), Barbara Lebrun (2009) David McDonald (2013)
I Encontro Livre da Canção Popular, Porto
II Encontro Livre da Canção Popular

Disintegration of CAC
- rupture with all the members of the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) and others who don't agree with the political orientation of the Collective

Cantos Livres

return of the exiles
, among them, the musicians José Mário Branco and Luis Cília

creation of CAC
- Colectivo de Acção Cultural

I Congress of União Democrática e Popular


I Congress of União Democrática e Popular (UDP), 15/12/1974
Claims about what constitutes the proper relation between music and the political were not just descriptive but performative, reshaping how people perceived social realities and how they acted upon these perceptions

Uniting these and other points of intersection between music and the May events was the question of identity: at the same time that the appropriation of songs like “The Internationale” helped certain agents fashion themselves as revolutionary subjects, musicians were compelled to reframe their professional identity as artists as pressure mounted to contribute directly to the social movement.

Drott, Eric (2011)
Music and the Elusive Revolution:

…what was meant to be labeled as "resistance music" or "protest song" was defined not by musical-political active processes, but rather by static notions of thematic content, folkloric signification, and other elements of the musical "style.

And the way they found to achieve the goal was to create a song, a fight song. It was exactly the organizational reason for the fight, the reason for mobilization for the fight, was with it [song] that the fight began. See therefore how art, literature and culture serve a class, as served soldiers in the vast majority peasants, with a lyric that they put in a song that the bourgeoisie uses to attack people, a song that speaks of seagulls and other things, as they grab this song and pump inside content of your class, and so return the weapon that the bourgeoisie pointed to their heads, pointing to the head of the bourgeoisie.

Arnaldo Matos, Secretary-general of MRPP, in
A Cultura e a Arte: uma arma para a libertação dos explorados
. 25/05/1975
such as “Portugal Ressuscitado”, or “” and “” (two versions of Henry Russel’s “Life on the Ocean Wave” and Edward Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance”), that would reflect. At
Later, many protest singers and cultural workers will organize themselves in order to develop phonographic production structures that constitute an alternative to the record companies of capitalist character.
As in other instances of media organizations, such as radios, newspapers and magazines, the influence of ideology and political parties was significant, primarily because of its effect on the ways that the agents working in these media, assumed their political conviction, especially when concerning political partie representation. An example of this relation comes from the magazine “Mundo da Canção”, created in 1969 and that had a significant role for the dissemination of the so-called movement of renewal of Portuguese popular song prior to the revolution. During the revolutionary process, many of its journalists and collaborators iniciated an intense ideological dispute about the ideological direction and the role that the magazine should have concerning the significance of popular music and its audiences. The editorial on the first number published in 1974, denotes a disruption among the board, with accusations from the director António José Fonseca, stating that the magazine was written by and for a group of small-burgueoise, and should now be at the service of the revolution and focused on the oppressed and working class. Alongside with this statement, the journalists refer to the necessity of the magazine to condemn all musical genres (and musicians, etc..) that were before serving the “fascism” and to support the
Performative model: deficient conditions of performance; availability of the musicians; revolutionary contexts
Updating of repertoire
Music and Power

They indicate that the influence of the Cuban revolutionary state became more evident in the extramusical aspects in what concerns the formation of new musical styles. For these authors, the first years after the Cuban revolution were fertile in conceptions about what should be the cultural expressions-formed by revolutionary activity, resulting in the setting of more or less repressive measures against the dissemination of certain musical genres.
McDonald, David (2013)
My Voice is my Weapon. Music, Nationalism, and the Poetics of Palestinian Resistance
: 5
performative conceptions of protest song
detachment from static
thematic notions
dynamic character
importance of the lyrics /
meanings for audience
Adriano Correia de Oliveira
José Jorge Letria
Luísa Basto
Manuel Freire
Fernando Tordo
Paulo de Carvalho
Carlos Alberto Moniz
Maria do Amparo
Ary dos Santos
Pedro Osório
Joaquim Pessoa
Luis Llach (Catalan)
Pi de la Serra (Catalan)
Maria del Mar Bonet (Catalan)
Musicians, poets
New Repertoire (examples):
Portugal Ressuscitado
Desta Vez é que é de Vez
Pela Revolução
José Mário Branco
Tino Flores
Afonso Dias
Coro da Juventude Musical Portuguesa
Eduardo Paes Mamede
Luis Pedro Faro
Carlos Guerreiro
António Moreira
Maria Antónia Vasconcelos
Nuno Ribeiro da Silva
Coro Popular «O Horizonte é Vermelho»
José Alberto Sardinha
Carlos Moreira
José Moças
Albertina Matos
Leonel Santos
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