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We Demand Love: Musical Affects and Political Transformation in São Paulo,...

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B544 - Schoenberg Music Building

445 Charles E Young Drive East, University of California

Los Angeles, CA 90095

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"We Demand Love: Musical Affects and Political Transformation in São Paulo, Brazil"
Lecture by Shannon Garland

Postdoctoral Scholar, Ethnomusicology

Part of the Nazir Ali Jairazbhoy Colloquium Series
Free and open to the public

Abstract: In 2011, a minimalist ballad called "Love Doesn’t Exist in São Paulo" became a major hit in São Paulo, Brazil. Describing “bars full of empty souls,” where “no one goes to heaven,” the song ("Não Existe Amor em SP") became both a lament for city policies and cultural practices, as well as a rallying cry for the kinds of transformations São Paulo should seek. The popularity of the song corresponded to a rise in the use of “love” as expression of ideal social relationships, while spray painted phrases about the importance and need for love decorated building walls. On the eve of the 2012 municipal elections, political activists drew on "Love Doesn’t Exist in São Paulo" to create an all-day music and arts festival called Love Exists in São Paulo, featuring the song’s author Criolo. Billed as a non-partisan, popular manifestation articulated around the theme of love, the event seemed to support mayoral candidate Fernando Haddad, who ran on a platform of humanizing the city. Haddad won. Referring to the event in his inaugural address, Haddad proclaimed love to indeed exist in São Paulo, promised to govern with love, and later brought event organizers into city government. This paper addresses the popularity of the song in relation to these wider calls for love in São Paulo, arguing that it articulated collective sentiments about city life and contributed to the conceptualization of love as a legitimate political demand. As such, the paper explores the formulation of political subjectivities through musically-mediated affects.

Shannon Garland received her M.A. and Ph.D. in ethnomusicology from Columbia University. Examining media circulation, band touring, and live performance in the context of emerging music industry organizations, Dr. Garland's work addresses affect, aesthetics and sociality in the production of differential economies of value. Her book project, For the Love: Independent Music, Affect, and Labor in Brazil and Beyond, traces the interrelationships between cultural finance, social networking, and live performance, to show how aesthetic judgement forms through both global political economy and the intimate politics of social relationships. Dr. Garland serves as the 2017-2019 chair of the Economic Ethnomusicology Special Interest Group within the Society of Ethnomusicology.

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B544 - Schoenberg Music Building

445 Charles E Young Drive East, University of California

Los Angeles, CA 90095

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