Obrigada, Shukran: Brazilian Musical Encounters in Lebanon

Obrigada, Shukran: Brazilian Musical Encounters in Lebanon
13 February 2019, 5.30pm - 7.00pm
Room 243, Second Floor, Senate House, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU

Gabrielle Messeder, City University

This lecture will give a brief overview of how the presence of Brazilian music and dance in Lebanon can broadly be attributed to three interlinked factors. Firstly, Lebanon and Brazil share a long history of migration and cultural exchange, and bountiful financial remittances from the Lebanese diaspora in Brazil have helped to ensure Brazil’s positive reputation in Lebanon. 

Secondly, the country’s best-loved singer, Fairouz, and her son Ziad Rahbani, recorded and arranged multiple cover versions of classic bossa nova tracks by the likes of Antônio Carlos Jobim and Luiz Bonfã; a mimetic process that has resulted in a distinctly Lebanese style of bossa nova (Toynbee & Dueck 2011:10). Thirdly, the global spread and commodification of primarily Rio de Janeiro-centric Brazilian dance and music genres, notably samba and bossa nova, has also reached Lebanon.

These processes have resulted in the reification of exoticist stereotypes of Brazilian culture, and the widespread practice of auto-exoticisation by Brazilian performers; a phenomenon that has been well-documented in regard to other contexts (Gibson 2013; Pravaz 2011). The demand from the cosmopolitan Lebanese middle and upper classes for varied and novel forms of entertainment is reflected in the wide variety of international restaurants, themed bars and live performances present in Beirut and across the country, and thus the prevalence of Brazilian cultural practices in Beirut is also symptomatic of Lebanon’s increasingly cosmopolitan, neoliberal modernity.

All are welcome to attend this free event. Places are limited so please register in advance.


Jenny Stubbs
020 7862 8832