Brazilliance

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Music and writing have been deeply intertwined throughout UMass Dartmouth Professor Dário Borim’s 25-plus year career. Borim, former chairperson of the Portuguese department, produces and hosts the live radio and Internet show, Brazilliance every Thursday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The program features an array of musical styles and education about the Portuguese-speaking communities of Brazil, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Portugal and southeastern Massachusetts. During its fourteen-year run, Brazilliance has attracted not only a local devoted audience but also listeners across the United States and in foreign countries like Brazil, Chile, England, Germany, Portugal and Spain.

“Making this show has been one of my greatest dreams come true,” Borim said. “Brazilliance now means the world to me. It’s the best way I’ve found to stay in touch with my cultural roots and the music I love the most.” Borim first started thinking about sharing music and poetry through live broadcasting in 1997 when he taught as a college professor in Brazil. He helped to establish a new radio station at the Federal University of Ouro Preto, but left to accept the position at UMass Dartmouth prior to launching his own show.

For more than 22 years, Borim has been researching and teaching courses about the thematic and theoretical interfaces of literature and music. Listeners of Brazilliance hear a range of traditional and progressive music such as bossa nova, choro, fado, morna, samba and various types of instrumental genres. In addition, the music is occasionally combined with short talks, critical commentaries and contextual information, some of which complement his graduate courses in literature and other cultural representations.

Using this unique forum, Borim enhances the benefits of a typical in-class approach. When he taught a graduate class in 19th century literature approximately a few years ago, for example, music was taken as a central theme in novels and short stories. Students understood and appreciated that literature by listening to the course’s “soundtrack,” which was broadcast live on WUMD and recorded on compact discs for further dissemination. A few libraries in this country and in Europe hold these discs. Other special editions of Brazilliance have celebrated Women’s Month by playing and educating listeners about one hundred years of women’s songwriting in Brazil, featured music written by Cape Verdeans living abroad, and focused on Brazil’s legendary singer-songwriter Caetano Veloso.

Borim, a native of Paraguaçu, Minas Gerais (a state in southeastern Brazil), has published widely on music themes in books and academic journals. He runs a web site that posts his playlists at www.brazilliance.blogspot.com, and Ponteio Cultural, a blog of essays in Portuguese at www.drborim.blogspot.com, which is devoted to the mingling of music issues and day-to-day affairs. He has organized numerous concerts at UMass Dartmouth featuring Lusophone artists from around the globe. Occasionally, guest artists appear on Brazilliance to discuss their work and share their professional journeys.

For more information about Brazilliance, contact its host at dborim@umassd.edu