The Bonds of Modernism: Race, Music and Politics on the Stage of the Theatro Municipal

Sarah J. Townsend About the author

ABSTRACT

The film AmarElo: É Tudo Pra Ontem interweaves scenes from the concert performed by rapper Emicida at the Theatro Municipal de São Paulo in November 2019 with a historical narrative that turns the theater into a “bond” or “link” between the modernist movement, black music, and black political militancy. Following the film’s example, this article approaches the Theatro Municipal as the scene of struggles around race, but it foregrounds racial tensions and contradictions among the modernists that were registered in music and related debates. The article focuses on three events: the Semana de Arte Moderna, a “cultural night” organized by the Ação Integralista Brasileira in 1935, and a commemoration of abolition held in 1938. The analysis seeks to illuminate different musical “links” that connected the modernist movement with divergent political phenomena and tied the avant-garde to the past.

Keywords:
Emicida; Music; Race; Week of Modern Art; Mário de Andrade; Integralism

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