Brazilian Drums in Portugal: Migration and Identities

Monday, 11 July 2016: 16:30
Location: Hörsaal 14 (Juridicum)
Oral Presentation
Luciana MENDONCA, UFPE - Federal University of Pernambuco, Brazil
The presence of Brazilian migrants in Portugal has been expressive for decades. Although the migration flow has been diminishing for the last years, due to the economic crisis in 2008, Brazilians in Portugal are 25% of all foreign residents, totaling around 104,000 people (2013). Some research has been done around the images and stereotypes produced by the contact with local population. The image of aliveness, a party-like character and sympathy has been projected over Brazilian population. These positive images are obviously not one-sided; they live with less positive stereotypes. But the positive images are projected and reinforced also by cultural consumption (specially of soap operas and popular music) and participation in Brazilian cultural expressions, such as capoeira and percussion groups. One of these percussion groups is Batucada Radical, founded in Porto, in 1997.

Based on field research and qualitative interviews, this paper aims to analyse two aspects of the engagement with Brazilian music through the case study of Batucada Radical. The first aspect is how images and stereotypes about Brazilian people are contested and reinforced through the presentation of the group in terms of the choices concerning rhythm and performance. The second aspect, less explored by the literature about music and migration, is more concerned with the meanings attributed by the host population (Portuguese people) involved in the activities of the group. Two main sets of meanings emerged during the research and are going to be explored: the long term connection with Brazilian culture; the search for more rooted identities facing the transnational meanings and identities promoted by the globalization processes.