Forró and Redemptive Regionalism from the Brazilian Northeast

Popular Music in a Culture of Migration

by Jack A. Draper III (Author)
©2010 Monographs 226 Pages
Series: Latin America, Volume 18


For the many poor and working-class Northeastern Brazilians who have been displaced from their home region for economic reasons, the music of forró is a redemptive attempt at establishing an immanent relationship to history and community in the diaspora. The redemption explored in this book is multifaceted, including a desire to return home as part of a larger workforce in a sustainable economy, the desire to see the region’s rich culture celebrated throughout Brazil, and to ensure that its traditional legacies are both preserved and further enriched through respectful innovation. The acute perceptiveness of forró musicians in portraying the diasporic experience of Northeastern Brazilians is elaborated in various chapters, including: one chapter focused on lyrical, musical, and collective representations or manifestations of diasporic nostalgia (saudade), another chapter analyzing the lyrico-musical representation of rural workers’ alienation from – and resistance to – life in the urban centers, and a third chapter which contextualizes forró’s descriptions of the experiences of Brazil’s internal migrants, utilizing an array of testimonials and academic studies on the subject of interregional migration to reveal both the wisdom of forró lyricists and some of their blind spots. The study also includes a historical analysis of this Northeastern genre’s transformation from a rhythm called baião that symbolically represented the Northeast as a simple, coherent entity, to forró, a more allegorical representation with a greater appreciation for the class, gender, racial, and generational complexity of the region. The development of the genre, as well as the circulation of theory related to cultural production and identity, are contextualized in a global economy.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2010 (September)
Brasilien (Nordost) Forró (Tanzmusik) Regionalismus regionalism Northeast Brazil Cultural Studies popular music
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2010. 234 pp., num. ill.

Biographical notes

Jack A. Draper III (Author)

Jack A. Draper III earned his Ph.D. in Literature at Duke University. Dr. Draper has published an array of scholarly articles and chapters relating to Brazilian popular music, literature and cinema. He continues his work in the field of Brazilian Cultural Studies in his current position of Assistant Professor of Portuguese at the University of Missouri-Columbia.


Title: Forró and Redemptive Regionalism from the Brazilian Northeast