Abstract: Music from the Past in the Present

Musical Traditions and German Immigration in Espírito Santo, Brazil

The perception of sound and musical traditions are among the most extraordinary – although intangible – elements of German immigration in the remote mountain area of Espirito Santo. Music and its performance still recall a very specific perception of history in Domingos Martins and in its neighboring municipalities. Celebrated through an emotional approach, music – and with it German language, mainly as the pomerano dialect – gets manifested by tacit knowledge and oral practices, since a formal training of German language and German music was no longer possible since the middle of the first half of the 20th century. Until then Lutheran church and its priests and celebrations played a fundamental role for the transmission of German music and language. Since German music is music from the past, which derives from a different past than the past of other populations in the region – mainly Italian and Portuguese rooted communities – also music has to be distinct. To stem from a different past explains also musical differences. In fact, there seems not to be any affinity between vocal Pomeranian counterpoint and local folk singing.

My account about the music in Espirito Santo suggests to think German immigrant culture from an auditory perspective. The presentation is based on field recordings made in Domingos Martins, Espirito Santo.

Tiago de Oliveira Pinto