Walt Disney and Diplomacy: The Musical Impact of Aquarela do Brasil [full paper]

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Latin American Music Center


In a diplomatic attempt to create cultural exchange between Latin American countries and the United States, Disney Pictures created the film Saludos Amigos in 1942. The film Saludos Amigos was a combination of four independently conceived cartoon shorts regarding Latin America. This paper will concentrate on the final of the four cartoon shorts, Aquarela do Brasil. Aquarela do Brasil was created with the specific cultural function of improving relations with Brazil before entering World War II as requested and funded by the United States Government. The strategy of Franklin Roosevelt’s Latin American policy was cultural sharing with the goal of demonstrating how both cultures are similar and to strengthen cultural ties. In 1941, to accomplish the task of creating Saludos Amigos, Disney and a crew of writers, artists, and one musician, explored first-hand a variety of Latin American cultures. Disney and his crew chose to spend the majority of their time in Rio de Janeiro, using it as headquarters for their time in South America. As a result, the cartoon short Aquarela do Brasil, based in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is much more detailed and accurate. The cultural impact of Aquarela do Brasil’s music was significant and played a large role in the popularization of the samba in North America during the 1940s and 50s. Furthermore, the international popularity of the samba, Brazil, which premiered to American audiences in Aquarela do Brasil, helped samba to be perceived as the “national sound” of Brazil.



Cultural, Conferencia, Cultural Counterpoints, Interactions, Latin America, Latin American Music Center, Music, Musical, Música, Música Latinoamericana, United States, Fiftieth Anniversary, 50th anniversary, Diplomacy, Walt Disney, Aquarela do Brasil, Brazil, Saludos Amigos



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