River of Tears: Country Music, Memory, and Modernity in Brazil (Paperback)
Since 1998, Alexander Sebastian Dent has analyzed rural music in the state of S o Paulo, interviewing and spending time with listeners, musicians, songwriters, journalists, record-company owners, and radio hosts. Dent not only describes the production and reception of this music, he also explains why the genre experienced such tremendous growth as Brazil transitioned from an era of dictatorship to a period of intense neoliberal reform. Dent argues that rural genres reflect a widespread anxiety that change has been too radical and has come too fast. In defining their music as rural, Brazil's country musicians--whose work circulates largely in cities--are criticizing an increasingly inescapable urban life characterized by suppressed emotions and an inattentiveness to the past. Their performances evoke a river of tears flowing through a landscape of loss--of love, of life in the countryside, and of man's connections to the natural world.