This introductory chapter sets out the book’s purpose, which is to view Brazilian music and culture through the lens of the berimbau. The book demonstrates how this critical icon traverses a broad range of social, class, and racial boundaries in both national and global contexts. This chapter describes the berimbau, followed by discussions of Brazil’s development of a centralized cultural-intellectual infrastructure, and popular and art music in Brazil. An overview of the subsequent chapters is also presented.
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