Date: 2013-11-17 09:24 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I wouldn't say Brazil is a non-western culture. In terms of values, beliefs and costumes, Brazilian society is actually very similar to southern Europe - Portuguese and Italian influence is particularly strong. Even the followers of African-Brazilian religions (0.3% of the total population) are very much embedded in a wider, European-based culture in most other aspects of their lives. Native influences in day-to-day life are even smaller. I see this as evidence of how efficient European methods of colonization were. For example, native languages were by and large wiped out (until the 18th century, a Tupi-based language called Língua Geral was widely spoken, but its use was then forbidden by the Portuguese crown). Nearly 100% of the population speaks Portuguese and only Portuguese as their native language.
 
High culture in Brazil is European through-and-through. Until the 1920s, literature was written in European Portuguese. There was also a huge influence of francophone writers and thinkers. With Modernism, authors endeavored to write like Brazilians actually spoke; classical composers like Heitor Villa-Lobos incorporated folk traditions in their music (much like, say, Béla Bartók in Hungary). But this didn't actually represent a clean break with Europe. The Brazilian elite has always been raised within the Western tradition, and it controls the media and all means of mass communication in the country.
 
When it comes to popular art, Brazil is very much a melting pot of different influences. There is a great variety of genres like choro, samba, baião, etc. And even within each genre, there isn't a monolithic tradition. In the case of samba, I think the closest point of comparison in the anglophone world would be American blues. Both first appeared in African-Brazilian and African-American communities, but they changed a lot over the decades. They were incorporated in mainstream society and played on the radio. Roda Viva, the song you posted above (which I really like, btw), IS samba, but it sounds very different from what we call samba de raiz ("root" samba) - not entirely unlike the rock'n'roll vs blues distinction. Also, that song was written by Chico Buarque, whose status as a songwriter is not unlike Dylan in America or Cohen in Canada.
 
So, to answer your question, it seems absurd to me that samba would be viewed as classical music in the future, unless you completely redefined what "classical music" meant. Would Bob Dylan ever be considered a classical composer? He does represent a more high brow type of popular culture, but I very much doubt he would ever be slotted in the "classical composer" category. That this would happen to folk and rock music as a whole is even more unlikely.

- Matheus
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