Blessed Generation: Countercultural Youth, Music, and Spirituality in Authoritarian Brazil Restricted; Files Only

Lemos Zagonel, Alexandra (Fall 2022)

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This dissertation explores how rock’n’roll and counterculture impacted Brazilian society during the military dictatorship (1964-1985). It argues that the expansion and globalization of the culture industry has created more anxieties, but also more opportunities for alternative forms of music, spirituality, and worship. Countercultural sounds and fashion entered Brazilian grounds as mass cultural commodities aimed at young consumers with the goal of generating profit. Yet the embrace of Western styles, even if resulting from the imperatives of a globalized, capitalist market, was by no means a passive process. Young Brazilians selectively consumed and rejected foreign and national cultural practices to articulate new artistic expressions that ultimately reinforced their regional identities and national cultures. This study relies on the qualitative analyses of primary sources that vary from oral histories to album records, flyers, photos, TV shows, films, newspapers, magazines, biographies, and memoirs. It also draws from demographic data, state legislation, and police reports produced by agents of the military regime. As part of a growing effort to memorialize desbunde in Brazil, this work favors stories that were yet to be told and countercultural artists beyond Tropicália. It expands historiographical traditions studying Brazilian music under the dictatorship by examining the censorship of supposedly apolitical youth and by exploring how they invited new forms of criticism and politics in their exploration of alternative moral, racial, and gender expressions. Finally, it challenges current understandings of countercultural spirituality as mere reflections of economic and political pressures. By looking at how cultural producers promoted and profited from the fluidity of religious life, my dissertation shows how a supposedly secular culture industry fulfills spiritual yearnings within an allegedly secularized world.

Table of Contents

Introduction – The “Western Tooth,” 1

Chapter I – Rock and Counterculture: From the Mainstream to the Underground, 30

Chapter II – Brazilian Rock [R]Evolution: The English Horse and the Northeastern Donkey, 66

Chapter III – “We are Going to Rule the World:” The Black and Rational Soul of Tim Maia in his 1970s Cult Albums, 100

Chapter VI – Profaning the Sacred, Sacralizing the Profane: How Spiritual Matters Moved the Culture Industry, 140

Chapter V – Neither Gentlemen, Nor Ladies: Dzi Croquettes and Countercultural Musical Theater, 182              

Conclusion, 213

Bibliography, 223

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