London to Brazil

Crook’s article brings up the very interesting point of how “outsider” music was percieved by American watchers, though he only briefly touches on this point. Still, the fact that he says that MTV and SNL watchers thought of Olodum merely as “an exotic robe draped around Paul Simon” and were not in fact interested in the highly political context and the social context from which it sprang is interesting. Did they not care or were they just not well informed enough? The fact that there was an international music office in London would make you think that the musicians would have enough publicity to convey their issues to a broader audience.

However, Crook says that, “unfortunately, collaborations with pop stars like Paul Simon have provided little opportunity for groups like Olodum to express their version of culture as resistance and as part of the struggle against racial discrimination in Brazil and in the world.” In fact, the cover of Reflexu’s’s album, Da Mae Africa, looks like it could have been a black 80’s American pop band, not a tribal, “to the roots” band focused on cultural symbolism and political change. My question for Crook is whether they have since received such recognition within Brazil and Africa and whether the social context has changed because of the music any more than when he wrote the article initially.


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