January 31, 2013
In order to start thinking about all the possible ways we can creatively critique, resist, or simply interact with our government, we will use this space on the blog to share inspiring examples.
So, starting this week, use the comments section of this post to share examples of whatever music, film, art, etc. that makes you think and makes you want to say something.
I’ll start us off by posting a few things that interest me. Since I’m a big fan of hip-hop, most of the following examples are part of that genre, but don’t feel limited by my interests! Look for any kind of music or creative demonstration that interests you.
First, here’s a link to the song “The Fourth Branch” by Immortal Technique that we listened to and discussed last class. If you want to learn more about Immortal Technique and his incredible story, take a look at this documentary The (R)evolution of Immortal Technique, made in 2011. **Again, be warned that this film, and his music in general, is filled with strong opinions and strong language.
Next, here are a few recent examples from Brazil: Here’s a clip of brazilian rapper Marcelo D2′s song “Carta ao Presidente (Letter to the President)” He used the final song of his famous 2006 album Meu Samba é Assim as an open letter to Lula, Brazil’s president at the time, demanding change for many of the nation’s problems.
Another interesting example comes from the very popular funk carioca, a kind of Brazilian dance music that, like hip-hop, often glorifies money, sex and crime. There is even one kind of funk carioca called proibidão that is banned from the radio and clubs because it promotes violence by the multiple gangs that control parts of Rio de Janeiro.
However, there are some artists like MC Júnior e Leandro that use funk carioca to speak out about the bad conditions in the slums and pressure the Brazilian government promote peace instead of violence. Here is their song “Chumbo Quente (Hot Lead).” This video has the song accompanied by images of violence in Rio, but be warned that some of the images are rather graphic! If you are sensitive to that sort of thing but still want to hear the song, listen to it here. This site has the lyrics and a video with an image of Rocinha, the favela where MCs Júnior e Leandro live (and where I used to live too!) **an interesting side note about this song for those of you who don’t speak Portuguese: the word chumbo means “lead” and refers to all of the gun violence in Rio, but it is also a word that refers to the military dictatorship that controlled Brazil from 1964-85. By using the word chumbo, the MCs suggest that Brazilians today suffer from oppression just like they did during the ditadura.
Finally, for an excellent overview of important protest songs from Latin America, check out these two episodes from NPR’s show LatinoMix: “Es Un Monstruo Grande Y Pisa Fuerte: 12 Latin American Protest Songs” which aired in 2011 and “El Pueblo Unido: More Latin American Protest Songs” from October of last year. We will talk more about these songs and their importance later on in the quarter.
Now, start looking for your own inspiration!