Barbosa, Domingos Caldas (1738–1800)

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Barbosa, Domingos Caldas (1738–1800)

Domingos Caldas Barbosa (b. 1738; d. 9 Nov. 1800), Brazilian poet, singer, and songwriter. The son of a slave woman and a Portuguese merchant, Barbosa studied at Jesuit schools in Rio. His early satires got him into trouble with the authorities and led to a military assignment in a distant province until 1762. He went to Portugal with the hope of entering the university, but his father's death prevented him from doing so. Introduced by family friends to the Lisbon court, he gained favor as a poet and performer of original songs. As a composer, he was a central figure in the emergence and dissemination of the modinha and Afro-Brazilian lundu song forms. With the aid of his protectors, Barbosa also took holy orders. His case is an example of the symbiosis of religious and secular spheres in his day.

Barbosa was a founding member and first president of the stylish Nova Arcádia literary club. His poems, collected in the two volumes of Viola de Lereno (1798, 1826), exemplify both neoclassicism and innovative applications of Afro-Brazilian language. Father Barbosa's work is both transitional, ranging from a strict continental style to a more flexible New World expression, and synthetic, drawing on erudite as well as popular sources.

See alsoMusic: Popular Music and Dance .


Jane M. Malinoff, "Domingos Caldas Barbosa: Afro-Brazilian Poet at the Court of Dona Maria I," in From Linguistics to Literature: Romance Studies Offered to Francis M. Rogers, edited by Bernard H. Bichakjian (1981).

David Brookshaw, Race and Color in Brazilian Literature (1986).

Additional Bibliography

Tinhorão, José Ramos. Domingos Caldas Barbosa: O poeta da viola, da modinha, e do lundo (1740–1800). São Paulo: Editora 34, 2004.

                                     Charles A. Perrone

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Barbosa, Domingos Caldas (1738–1800)

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