2018 NASSS Annual Conference
Sport Soundtrack: Sport, Music, & Culture

Renata Maria Toledo

Universidade Estadual de Maringa, Brazil

When Brazilian delegation marched in the Maracanã Stadium, closing the Parade of Nations within the opening ceremony of Rio 2016 Olympics, we could hear "Aquarela do Brasil" played in the background. Extoling the greatness of the country, this song, written by Ary Barroso in 1939, is often taken as a symbol of a period of Brazil’s history, when it was implemented a set of cultural policies, in order to estimulate the development of a national identity, as part of a greater nation-building project. Such policies contributed to fertilize the ground from which President Getúlio Vargas’ populism has rosen. Several decades later, the national sentiment that permeated the attempt to host the 2016 Olympics, mostly during the bidding process, was also conected to a sort of populism, that distinguished Lula’s presidency. Thus, this article aims to approach the relation between sport, music and populism in Brazil from Vargas to Lula’s government. To do so, it firstly establishes the theoretical foundation on populism. Then, it focuses on the symbolic elements from both music and sport that might make their use profitable for populist purposes. The remaining section addresses how both cultural fields were encapsulated by populist political conduct within Brazilian historical experience.