Reverb Titles

Brazilian Jive

Tom Jobim


In Brazilian Jive: From Samba to Bossa and Rap, David Treece uncovers the genius of Brazilian song, both as a sophisticated, articulate art form crafted out of the dialogue between music and language, and as a powerfully eloquent intervention in the country’s social and political history.

As Brazil grows in stature as a global power, more and more people are discovering the country’s fascinating culture, especially the striking exuberance and inventiveness of Brazilian popular music.

Brazilian Jive focuses on the cultural struggles that music-making in Brazil represents, from the rise of samba, through the bossa nova revolution of the late 1950s, to the emergence of rap in the 1990s. It describes how the music sprang out of the pain and dispossession of slavery, and as a result, inspired by African traditions and conceptions of the world, it celebrates new ways of moving freely in time and space. Brazil could be said to have ‘performed’ itself as a nation, creating a soundscape redolent with the rhythms and tones of the modern, but expressing as well its dissonances and contradictions. There is also a conversation between melody and word that is the songwriter’s craft, but which in Brazil also signifies a larger, more troubled dialogue between its artistic and political cultures.

Offering a comprehensive introduction to those new to Brazilian music, Brazilian Jive also provides fresh insight to those already familiar with the music, society and culture of this most vibrant and colourful nation.


David Treece is a translator, researcher and teacher of Brazilian popular music, literature and culture at King’s College London, where he has been Camoens Professor of Portuguese since 2005.

Listen to a public lecture on ‘Meanings of Music in Brazilian Culture’ by David Treece here.
Read an extract from the book here.

Purchase via publisher:
Reaktion Books  (UK)
University of Chicago Press (North America)

Purchase via online stores: (also available for Kindle) (also available for Kindle)
Barnes and Noble (US)
Powells (US) (also available for Kindle)
Blackwells (UK) – check stock for store reservations
Waterstones (UK)


By John Scanlan

John Scanlan is the Series Editor of Reverb with Reaktion Books.