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Keynote speaker - From Reproach to Rapprochement? The Past’s Changing Presence in Bahian Music - Jeff Packman, University of Toronto

Keynote speaker
9:00 AM, Friday 24 May 2019 (1 hour)
Coffee break   10:00 AM to 10:30 AM (30 minutes)
[ CHAIR: Susan Fast, McMaster University & Jonathan Dueck, Canadian Mennonite University ]

History is very present in Salvador da Bahia a city widely known as the most African in Brazil. The cityscape, residents, and local expressive culture all bear unmistakable traces of European colonialism and the trans-Atlantic slave trade as well as the extensive racial and cultural mixing that resulted. Moreover, music (popular music in particular) has long been a vital means for negotiating the meanings and implications of Bahia’s past, especially in relation to issues of race and social equity. As such, Bahian history and Bahian music’s history are entangled in profound ways. Drawing on fieldwork in Salvador begun in 2002 and continuing to the present, I explore shifts in how several musicians who are long-term collaborators havepositioned themselves with respect to music practices that are mapped as definitively Bahian, characterized as “more Afro,” and widely disparaged by broad swaths of people within and outside of Bahia. In moving from almost complete disavowal to selective embrace, these musicians evince old tactics for making do (de Certeau 1984) with the sediments of Bahian (music) history while also creating new possibilities for reclaiming Bahian music and their own places within its past and present.
University of Toronto
Canadian Mennonite University