Foreign culture in your country

Discussion in 'Cultural Discussions' started by Miguelillo 87, Nov 10, 2006.

  1. Stoggler

    Stoggler Senior Member

    Sussex, GBR
    UK English
    I don't know about singing with Scottish accents, but some of those bands listed do have a certain Scottish element to their music, with elements of Scottish folk in it. Mind you, Irish and Scottish folk music were big influences on American music, which in turn has influenced Scottish music... Bands like Big Country and Deacon Blue have a Scottish "sound" to them (in my opinion).

    And then you get a few bands like Runrig and Mánran, or singers like Julie Fowlis, who sing in Gaelic (some of the time) and who are very Scottish! (although not quite so mass appeal, but they appeal to me!).
     
  2. Ari RT

    Ari RT Senior Member

    Português - Brasil
    The Americas make a subset of countries / cultures worth a separate look. Because (1) we are young countries - new world, remember? - and (2) some of the countries have very large territories.
    (1) means that foreign cultures were imposed upon ours sometime in history. In the 16th to 18th centuries, Portuguese, Spanish, English mainly, but lets not forget Dutch (Suriname and northwest of Brazil), French (French Guiana, Canada, Central America), just to begin with. And the African slaves, shame on us for bringing them here by force and for trying to obliterate their culture, but lets not forget the large amount of culture they brought and we could not manage to destroy. Then, by the end of the 19th and first decades of the 20th, we received immigrants, lot of them. Irish, Italian, German, Japanese, Spanish (another wave, a bit later) to name just the largest groups, but there are many many more.
    (2) means that there was plenty of room. All that diversity could make itself comfortable, frequently finding a climate more or less similar to their used ones, at home. And there was space for setting up new urban clusters, plenty of agricultural land to work at, isolated areas. Canada, USA, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina. Argentina, the smallest among the 5 I just cited, is as large as one half of the entire Europe. North America has almost three times Europe's area, shared among 3 countries only. Huge!

    (1) + (2) means that those "imported" cultures were not pushed towards a forced merger (exception made to the slaves). They did merge, eventually, but at a comfortable pace. Traditions were, most of the cases, preserved, as they were - and still are - valued as links to the former home. The interesting part of it is that culture does not evolve in the exile, it freezes, while the same songs, parties etc keep evolving in the old country. Some facts about Brazil:
    - I was born in an Italian town, 50km north of São Paulo. There is an Italian vice-consulate in a town in the countryside of Brazil, can you imagine that? It happened that Santos was the most important harbor in Brazil a hundred years ago and the railroad leaving Santos ended in my home town. The immigrants arrived in Santos, took the train to the last station, to then find new locations. More than a few remained there. We have traditional parties just like they were in Italy more than a century ago. The telephone directory remembers me of an Italian restaurant menu, every name ending in oni, ini, azi, eto...
    - Prince Naruhito came to São Paulo kind of 10 years ago for the festivities related to the 100th year of the Japanese immigration to Brazil. He said it was like traveling back one century in a time machine. He saw a - Japanese! - culture he only knew by the books.
    - There is a town in Rio Grande do Sul where German is spoken as official language, along with Portuguese. To be precise, they speak Pomeranian. Google "Pomerode". Several other towns in the same county also preserve German cultural features, mainly language and architecture. And "beerfests", God bless'em.
    - Likewise, my grandmother didn't speak Italian, but Venetian. By the way, a modern version of Venetian still survives and is recognized as a language, not a dialect, with two variants, the Venetian and the Brazilian, named "talian". Google "talian".
    - There's a swiss village not far from São Paulo. A whole finnish town in Rio (google "Penedo+Visconde+de+Mauá"). If you happen to come to the mall in Natal (Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, only 6 degrees south from the Equator line), you will find a helpdesk where they speak English, Spanish and... Norwich! No one told me, I saw it myself, first hand, and asked them "how come". They said they pick the languages based on demand...
    - They say (I have not checked) that the largest Japanese community outside of Japan is in São Paulo (I would like to cross check it against a couple of towns in USA). They also say that the second largest black city (in number of inhabitants of black skin) is Salvador, in Bahia, Brazil, second only to Lagos (Nigeria).

    Apart from numbers, there are other cultural features worth studying, but this post has got already too long. African influence on religion, music and food, for instance.
    The bottom line is: it looks like the notion of "other" culture is a bit less clear here. Sure we do admire foreign countries, but when we think of German, we don't tend to think of Berlin. Our minds look towards the neighbor on the left side. Italian is the neighbor across the street and so on. They're kind of "us".
     

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