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Brazilian encounters: Beirut’s ‘Golden Age’

Brazilian encounters: Beirut’s ‘Golden Age’

Messeder, Gabrielle (2021) Brazilian encounters: Beirut’s ‘Golden Age’. In: Davis, Ruth and Oberlander, Brian, (eds.) Music and Encounter at the Mediterranean Crossroads: A Sea of Voices. Arts, Politics & International Relations . Routledge, New York; Abingdon, pp. 75-90. ISBN 978-1003008514; 978-0367442484 (doi:

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This chapter outlines the historical factors that have led to Brazilian bossa nova becoming a familiar undercurrent in Lebanese popular music. With particular reference to works by the Lebanese composer Ziad Rahbani, this chapter addresses how he played a crucial role in the development of an idiosyncratic, distinctive and enduring Lebanese bossa nova style. Situating this music within the context of the transnational relationship between Lebanon and Brazil and highlighting the journeys of the musicians embedded in these diasporic and migratory processes, this chapter provides an overview of how Beirut’s cosmopolitan reputation and vibrant nightlife during the city’s so-called ‘Golden Age’ facilitated fruitful encounters between local Lebanese and visiting Brazilian musicians in the 1970s. The interpersonal encounters documented in this chapter illuminate the granular, everyday detail of bossa nova’s dynamic role in shaping social and musical relationships in pre- and post-Civil War Beirut, outlining how bossa nova is implicitly woven into the fabric of nostalgic discourses on the pre-War city, and exposing lesser-known histories that nuance our understanding of music and society in Beirut.

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: Beirut; Lebanon; music; popular music; Brazilian music; bossa nova; migration; transnationalism; cosmopolitanism; ziad rahbani; nostalgia; conflict; Middle East; ethnomusicology; ethnography
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GN Anthropology
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > School of Design (DES)
Faculty of Liberal Arts & Sciences > Sound-Image Research Group
Last Modified: 10 May 2022 09:49

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