The Brazilian chanchada’s musical moments and the performance of identity
in Screening songs in Hispanic and Lusophone cinema
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This chapter considers the performance of songs in the musical comedy films known as chanchadas, which dominated film production in Brazil from the late 1930s to the beginning of the 1960s, and initially at least took their inspiration from the Hollywood musical. It analyses, in particular, the soundtrack of an emblematic example of this cinematic tradition, Aviso aos navegantes, to illustrate the growing aural eclecticism of the chanchada, and to suggest that its relationship with Hollywood is not simply founded on naive mimesis. The disavowal of Afro-Brazilian identity in the casting of the chanchadas is endorsed by their soundtracks, which similarly 'whiten' Brazilian demographic and musical realities. The performances of samba on screen by white stars were stripped of Afro-Brazilian ethnic markers, save the non-threatening visual cue of the stylised baiana and malandro costumes.

Editors: Lisa Shaw and Rob Stone

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