Brazilian Music Friday Feature #7

This week’s pick is the 1970 song Chiclete com Banana by Jackson do Pandeiro, a great song in its own right, but given recent events, I couldn’t help picking a song that’s critical of America!

Specifically, he criticizes the Americanization of samba - the lyrics say:

I’ll only put bebop in my samba

When Uncle Sam plays pandeiro (tambourine)

When he gets a pandeiro and zabumba

When he learns that samba isn’t rumba

Then I’ll mix Miami with Copacabana

I’ll mix bubblegum with banana

And that’s how my samba will be

It sounds like a happy song, but underneath, there’s an important conversation about cultural appropriation. (Did I ruin it for you? I hope not.) Brazilians are really good at criticizing culture through song - during the military regime of the 1960s, that was just about the only way to make a statement about their government without getting arrested or even exiled! I would even argue that their art and music developed into more interesting forms because of it. Luckily, in the United States, we still have many tools at our disposal to safely make our opinions known, which I’m working on doing more of.


Like me, you may still be processing the results of the recent election. I still can’t wrap my head around it, but here are a few podcasts and blog posts that are helping:


Rebecca Hass

Pianist and composer