Traditional and experimental music meet in northeast Brazil

We are pleased to announce a new book by Daniel B. Sharp, Between Nostalgia and Apocalypse: Popular Music and the Staging of Brazil.


Between Nostalgia and Apocalypse is a close-to-the-ground account of musicians and dancers from Arcoverde, Pernambuco—a small city in the northeastern Brazilian backlands. The book is a study of samba de coco families, considered bearers of traditional music and dance, and the band Cordel do Fogo Encantado, modern performers whose sound incorporates traditional music. Sharp’s study becomes a revealing portrait of performers engaged in new forms of cultural preservation during a post-dictatorship period of democratization and neoliberal reform. Sharp explores how festivals, museums, television, and tourism steep musicians’ performances in national-cultural nostalgia, which both provides musicians and dancers with opportunities for cultural entrepreneurship and hinders their efforts to be recognized as part of the Brazilian here-and-now. The book charts how Afro-Brazilian samba de coco, born in the slave quarters of Brazil, became an unlikely symbol in an interior where European and indigenous cultures predominate. Sharp also discusses the modernization of folkloric elements, chronicling how the popular band Cordel do Fogo Encantado draws upon the sounds of samba de coco, ecstatic Afro-Brazilian religious music, and heavy metal—making folklore dangerous by embodying an apocalyptic register often associated with northeastern Brazil.

For more details, click here.

To listen to the sounds of Cordel do Fogo Encantado, click here.

Also available as an ebook—check with your favorite ebook retailer.