Politics of Afro-Carnival Music

  • Niyi Afolabi
Part of the African Histories and Modernities book series (AHAM)


This chapter analyzes the musical production of Ilê Aiyê in the course of its 40 years of existence via five CDs as well as live performances before and after Carnival. One of the essential dynamics of Ile Aiyê’s belief system centers on its spiritualized music in consonance with its ideological mission of bringing about racial equality for Afro-Brazilians. All Afro-Carnival groups or blocos afros depend on their ability to captivate their audience through the magic of music—that soul-force language that brings the unsuspecting audience-participant into a state of ecstasy without any need for provocation, manipulation, or persuasion.
Figure 7.1

Ilê Aiyê’s Canto Negro CD, 1984


Racial Equality Music Festival African History African Heritage African Diaspora 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 5.
    Cited in Michel Agier, “Canto Negro: Pequena Antologia dos Sambas do Ilê Aiyê,” Ilê Aiyê: A Invenção do Mundo Negro (Unpublished long essay, 1993), 145.Google Scholar
  2. 6.
    Larry Crook, “Reinventing Africa and Remixing Hybridity: Blocos Afro and Mangue Beat,” Music of Northeast Brazil, 2nd ed. (New York: Routledge, 2005), 214.Google Scholar
  3. For an additional discussion of rewriting history and reinventing Africa in Brazilian music, see also Peter Fryer, Rhythms of Resistance: African Musical Heritage in Brazil (Hanover, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 2000), 13–26.Google Scholar
  4. 16.
    Antônio Pitanga, “Where Are the Blacks?” in Black Brazil: Culture, Identity, and Social Mobilization, ed. Larry Crook and Randal Johnson (Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center Publications, 1999), 31–42.Google Scholar
  5. 17.
    José Jorge de Carvalho, “The Multiplicity of Black Identities in Brazilian Popular Music,” in Black Brazil: Culture, Identity, and Social Mobilization (Los Angeles: UCLA Latin American Center Publications, 1999), 265.Google Scholar
  6. 19.
    Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1993), 72–110.Google Scholar
  7. 20.
    Silviano Santiago, “O Entre Lugar do Discurso Latino Americano,” in Uma Literatura nos Trópicos: Ensaios sobre Dependência Cultural (Rio de Janeiro: Roccó, 2000), 13–25.Google Scholar
  8. 22.
    Ilê Aiyê/Vovô, Canto Negro I (Salvador: Warner Brothers, 1984), track 5.Google Scholar
  9. 23.
    Gilberto Gil, cited in the inside jacket, Ilê Aiyê/Vovô, Canto Negro I (Salvador: Warner Brothers, 1984).Google Scholar
  10. 25.
    Ilê Aiyê/Vovô, Canto Negro II (Salvador: Estúdio Eldorado Ltda, 1984).Google Scholar
  11. 30.
    Ilê Aiyê/Vovô, Canto Negro III (Amazônia: Velas Produções, 1996).Google Scholar
  12. 35.
    Ilê Aiyê/Vovô, Canto Negro IV (São Paulo: Natasha Records, 1999).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Niyi Afolabi 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niyi Afolabi

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations