The Brazilian Journal of Song Studies (RBEC, from the acronym in Portuguese) is an online periodical published every six months and destined to the field of Popular Music studies. It is an offshoot of the Research Project “Models in the Analysis of Popular Songs: an interdisciplinary approach” (PIC6124-2010-PROPESQ-UFRN), which we coordinated in 2011. Restructured, it resumes its activities in 2012 as “Group of Interdisciplinary Studies on Popular Music” (PIJ7873-2011-PROPESQ-UFRN), and gathers professors, undergraduate and post-graduate students to discuss texts, watch documentaries and listen to original recordings, having as a common denominator Popular Music, regardless of its time or space: blues, samba, soul, bolero, jazz, hip-hop, chanson, pop, reggae, choro, rock.
RBEC will receive works that deal with Popular Music under any scopes of analysis, be them musicological, sociological, anthropological, literary, philosophical etc. Popular Music is here understood as the one that blossomed with the appearance of the first urban centres, whose composers are immediately identifiable and whose product is put in circulation as a cultural asset, through radio, television or through the various storage technologies of the recorded sound, from the wax cylinder to the mp3 file.
By the same token, and considering the Brazilian case, some topics of interest for the Journal would be genres such as Modinha, Lundu, Choro, Samba (and all its variations), Bossa Nova, Jovem Guarda, protest songs, Tropicalia, Clube da Esquina, 1980s Brazilian Rock, Mangue Beat, Funk from Rio etc. Texts that analyze songs or that treat the life and works of popular songwriters are equally welcome, be them (in the Brazilian case) Domingos Caldas Barbosa, Chiquinha Gonzaga, Anacleto de Medeiros, Pattapio Silva or Catulo da Paixão Cearense; Noel Rosa, Mário Reis, Francisco Alves or Orlando Silva; Dorival Caymmi, Luiz Gonzaga, Adoniran Barbosa or Lamartine Babo; João Gilberto, Tom Jobim or Vinicius de Moraes; Chico Buarque, Caetano Veloso, Milton Nascimento or Elis Regina; Renato Russo, Cazuza or Lobão; Chico César, Lenine, Adriana Calcanhotto, Zeca Baleiro or Arnaldo Antunes.
All this argument is valid for other popular music traditions, be them Anglo-American, Hispanic, French etc. Thus, in the first case, genres and interpreters/songwriters of interest to the Journal might include: blues (Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf), jazz (and all its subgenres: cool, swing, bebop etc.), country music, folk music (Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez), rock music (and all its subgenres: rock’n’roll, hard rock, heavy metal, punk etc., ie. from Chuck Berry and Elvis to the Beatles and the Stones, from Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath to Iron Maiden, from the Sex Pistols to Nirvana), and so on. Works about lesser known or unknown genres and artists will also be most welcome, as long as they fit in the popular music category.
Classical composers and performers are not within the scope of interest of the Journal, unless they act in a borderline territory with Popular Music (which is the case of Ernesto Nazareth and Chiquinha Gonzaga, in Brazil), or if they are treated in papers that establish correlations between the classical tradition and Popular Music. Likewise, the folk music repertoire (the music transmitted from generation to generation, usually by an unknown author and not being commercialized, but rather passed down orally) will not be the focus of this Journal, although it can be included on RBEC if treated in an interdisciplinary approach with Popular Music.
We hope RBEC encourages new researchers in the area of Popular Music studies. In several academic centres abroad, undergradate courses on Popular Music are already in full swing, and at Liverpool Hope University there is a Masters programme (the first one in the world) on the Beatles. We are proud to announce that its coordinator, Prof. Dr. Mike Brocken, has honored us with an article for the first number of RBEC, commenting on this conquest in the academic field.
Just as with the example of Liverpool, whose Mersey Beat is a world cultural heritage, we believe that Brazilian Popular Music also deserves international projection. Thus, we expect that RBEC becomes a gateway for this rich repertoire, be them through isolated analyzes or in comparative readings with the musical traditions of other latitudes.
With musical-literary compliments,
Professor of Reading and Writing Practices in Portuguese and English, at the School of Science and Technology of Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), in Natal, Brazil. Doctor in Modern Languages & Literatures from PUC-Minas, with the thesis “Poets or Songsters: a discussion on Brazilian popular songs vis-à-vis literary poetry”. Master from UFSC, with the dissertation “Sugar Cane Fields Forever: Carnivalization, Sgt. Pepper’s, Tropicalia”. Musician affiliated to the Brazilian Musicians’ Union (OMB – as bassist and guitarist) and to the IASPM (International Association for the Study of Popular Music).