The Reinvention of West African Àsé in Brazil
This chapter examines the ancestral origins of the religious context of West African àsé and how it has been reinvented, negotiated, altered, secularized, and accommodated in Brazilian culture as axé. It investigates how musicians have reinvented and secularized sacred axé of Candomblé in popular songs that they link with African roots, black identity, and Afro-Brazilian culture. The chapter describes a type of “global spreading” of axé in popular culture through commercial recordings and performances by international artists and Carnival organizations. It also suggests that axé concepts often mediate racial identities and social classes.
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