Maracatu, Candomblé and Performances of Counter-Cultural Citizenship in Brazil
This ethnomusicological research project investigates the musical practices of Maracatu and Candomblé percussion in Pernambuco, in relation to discourses of cultural citizenship in Brazil. Despite their inextricable ties, the secular, processional, and increasingly middle-class practice of Maracatu has recently been designated national cultural patrimony (December 2014), whilst the Afro-Brazilian religion of Candomblé, practiced within the historically subversive terreiro space, remains socially marginalised. I aim to problematise the notion of cultural patrimony in Brazil, and explore the counter-narratives, dissensus and alternative claims to citizenship at work beneath its discursively smooth surface. The selectivity of the cultural patrimony movement, my research posits, mirrors Brazilian society’s historically selective assimilation of individuals to citizenship, and therefore has complex ramifications for those communities performing specifically racialized, historically oppressed identities.