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A Bourdiesian analysis of songwriting habitus

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Brazilian songwriting, as well as the music from other countries, is featured by orality, intuition and tacit knowledge. The present research applies the concept of habitus (Bourdieu, 1977) to understand the creativity of local songwriters such as Conceição Rosa Teixeira (Pelotas, Brazil, 1930-), who wrote more than one thousand sambas without knowing how to play musical instruments or music theory. Ivan Lins (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 1945), from another point of view, is a world-famous Grammy winner who also highlights intuition and spontaneity in his creative processes. As pointed by several authors (Burnard, 2012; Csikszentmihalyi, 2013; McIntyre, 2016; and others), creativity is not a romantic genius phenomenon but occurs socially according to the agency of individuals. Through observing, interviewing, transcribing, performing, recording and analysing songs, the ongoing investigation develops the concept of songwriting habitus as a formulation to study popular music creative processes including subjective and hidden aspects.

Leandro Maia is a singer-songwriter and a lecturer at the Federal University of Pelotas (UFPEL, Brazil). Currently, he is a PhD candidate at Bath Spa University and his research ´Poetics of Song: songwriting habitus in the creative processes of Brazilian songs´ is funded by the CAPES Foundation, Ministry of Education, Brazil. He also plays at the international quartet ´Kusanganisa´ with Chartwell Dutiro, Chris Blanden and Nick Sorensen and recently was granted the Bath Spa Pioneers Award. Maia has a Masters in Brazilian Literature (UFRGS, Brazil) and a Degree in Music Education (UFRGS, Brazil).

Maia released the albums Palavreio (2008), Mandinho (2012) and Suite Maria Bonita e Outras Veredas (2014), and has written music for theatre, dance and movies. Awarded as the best singer in the Premio Brasil-Sul de Música (2013) and Premio Açorianos de Música (2015), Maia was granted with the first Prêmio Ibermúsicas for popular song composition, conceived by the Organization of Ibero-American States (2014-2015).

This talk is part of the Arts and Creativities Research Group series.

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