A majority of Brazilians are at least partly descended from African slaves, but they not necessarily demonstrate physical visible feature. According to a 2000 survey held in Rio de Janeiro, the entire self-reported Black population claimed to have African ancestry. Also, 86% of the self-reported Pardo (brown) and 38% of the self-reported White population reported to have African ancestors. It is notable that 14% of the Pardos (brown) from Rio de Janeiro said they have no African ancestors. This percentage may be even higher in Northern Brazil, where there was a greater ethnic contribution from Amerindian populations. However, African contribution was not absence in Northern Brazil, because there was a significant influx of African slaves to this region as well.

Racial classifications in Brazil are based on skin color and on other physical characteristics such as facial features, hair texture, etc. This is a poor indication of ancestry, because only a few genes are responsible for someone's skin color. This way, a person who "looks White" may have more African ancestry than a person who "looks Black", and vice-versa.

In Brazil, the racial divisions were never very clear, due to the high degree of miscegenation among Brazilians, making the concept of race weaker. Many Brazilians find it hard to define their own race. The 1976 Census found 136 different answers to the question about race. Some of the self-reported racial classifications were: honeyed white, tanned, cinnamon, chocolate, sarará, copper, sunburned, polished, kind black, fire pink, toasted, etc. These responses were interpreted by scholars and activists of the black movement as proof of Brazilian racism, where Blacks do not want to assume their identity, and hide themselves in euphemisms. From this idea, since the government of Fernando Henrique Cardoso, the Black Brazilian population is treated as the sum of the self-declared Blacks and Browns. This conception is based on the idea that Black Brazilians lie to the census and say they are Browns. Also, based on social indicators, in which Blacks and Browns appear disadvantaged when compared to Whites.

This binary division of Brazilians between Whites and Blacks (largely influenced by American one-drop rule) has received much criticism. Sociologist Demétrio Magnoli considers the sum of Blacks and Browns as Blacks an assault on the racial vision of the Brazilians. A survey about race replaced the word "Pardo" by "Moreno". Much of the Pardos choose the Moreno category, half of people who previously reported to be White then reported to be Moreno and also half of self-reported Blacks also choose the Moreno category. According to Magnoli, Brazilians choose the Portuguese word Moreno because it has different meanings in Brazil (it can mean Black, Brown or White person with dark hair). This way, many Brazilians do not see themselves as a member of a certain racial group, since the word Moreno is widely used by people of different skin colors. Then, the official figures count Afro-Brazilians as the union of self-reported Blacks and Browns. However, in Brazilian day life the conception of who is Afro-Brazilian is different from the officially adopted.

The Lei Áurea ("Golden Law"), adopted on May 13, 1888, was the law that abolished slavery in Brazil.
It was preceded by the Rio Branco Law of September 28, 1871, which freed all children born to slave parents,
and by Law Saraiva-Cotegipe, of September 28, 1885.


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Comment by COLOREDPEOPLE.NET on October 27, 2009 at 8:12pm
Choro (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈʃoɾu], "cry" or "lament"), traditionally called chorinho ("little cry" or "little lament"), is a Brazilian popular music instrumental style. Its origins are in 19th century Rio de Janeiro. In spite of the name, the style often has a fast and happy rhythm, characterized by virtuosity and improvisation. Choro is considered the first (and most important) popular music typical of Brazil.
The cavaquinho (pron. /'ki.ɲu/ in Portuguese) is a small string instrument of the European guitar family with four wire or gut strings. It is also called machimbo, machim, machete (in the Portuguese Atlantic islands and Brazil), manchete or marchete, braguinha or braguinho, or cavaco.

Musician with cavaquinho minhoto The most common tuning is D-G-B-D (from lower to higher pitches); other tunings include G-G-B-D and A-A-C#-E. Guitarists often use D-G-B-E tuning to emulate the last four strings of the guitar.

Instruments used for playing "choro"

Originally choro was played by a trio of flute, guitar and cavaquinho (a small chordophone with four strings). Other instruments commonly played in choro are the mandolin, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet and trombone. These melody instruments are backed by a rhythm section composed of guitar, 7-string guitar (playing bass lines) and light percussion, such as a pandeiro. The cavaquinho appears sometimes as a melody instrument, other times as part of the rhythm.

Alfredo da Rocha Viana Filho, better known as Pixinguinha, (April 23, 1897 - February 7, 1973) was a choro composer, arranger, flutist and saxophonist born in Rio de Janeiro.

Through the legacy of the pioneering choro composers of the 19th century and of the Afro-Brazilian tradition, Pixinguinha produced the most important choro works of all time.

Edifying the choro as a musical genre, he conferred on it personality and identity. Some of his notable compositions include "Carinhoso" and "1 X 0" ("Um a Zero").

From an early age, Pixinguinha was a distinguished flutist and wrote his first piece at 13. When he grew older, he began the revolutionary musical group "Os Oito Batutas". This ensemble was the first Brazilian group featuring the jazzy instrumentation of the trumpet, trombone, and saxophone.

Carinhoso, written around 1916-1917 is one of my favorite compositions, brought back to popularity in 1973 by a brazilian soap.

Comment by Lydell Jackson on October 27, 2009 at 4:41pm
Thank you Tania-Maria...I was hoping you would see this and inlighten us from your personal perspective! Tell us more about "Baiana" when you get a chance!! I love this page!!!!! I feel my spirit soar when I am here!!!
Comment by COLOREDPEOPLE.NET on October 27, 2009 at 2:12pm
Ahhh... Salvador, Bahia! My birthplace and the very first capital of Brazil (We spell it Brasil).
The lady wearing the pink dress is called a "Baiana". I am a Baiana. Miss my home country. We managed to keep a great deal from our African ancestors and it is heavily seen in our culture. From music to our traditions. Thank you for posting this!

Here is a link to my blog on Capoeira and popular instrument, Birimbau.
Comment by Lydell Jackson on October 27, 2009 at 11:59am
Thank you so much E for that stirring complement. I'm happy to be able to make this a place that people will be excited about. I just hope I can continue to make it better and that more people will show their appreciation by post comments about the value of the content (visual and written).
Comment by Lydell Jackson on October 26, 2009 at 4:24pm


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