Lost Sambista

A Brazil never seen.

Radio Fluminense FM, the Damned

The video above is a collection of radio vignettes which may seem random and puzzling for the uninitiated; for the initiated they will bring alive an exciting era of Brazilian rock, especially for Cariocas (people from Rio de Janeiro). These were the soundtracks of a generation and will ignite tons of memories, not only the sounds but the record covers compiled by the video maker.

Radio Fluminense was inherited by a rock fan who decided initially to do a sort of pirate radio. In the early eighties suddenly everyone was talking about a radio station that played all of our favorite bands: Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, the Who, Jimi Hendrix, Jethro Tull etc.. etc… etc…

We didn’t need record players or cassettes anymore to listen to the music we liked, and couldn’t get enough from it. Alas the party couldn’t last long and soon they were threatened by the record labels and were forced to change their style.

They resorted to playing a new generation of bands: the Police, the Clash, the Cure, Sex Pistols, Talking Heads, the Smiths, New Order and so many others that no one had ever heard about but who the music moguls had less problems with music rights, and who I suspect were cheaper to be played.

This was a divider of waters, from then on the bands of the seventies became old school and the new bands became the thing to listen to; the eighties had begun.

In terms of Brazilian music they did the same: they played a lot of new independent bands and launched an entire new generation of Brazilian bands: Titas, Gang 90, Paralamas do Sucesso, Blitz, Lobao, Legiao Urbana, Ultraje a Rigor, the list is extensive. The mainstream would take at least two years to catch up with them and would never get as close to that generation as “the Damned”.

They also were pioneers in having female presenters and in playing Reggae in Brazil. A friend of mine, Nelson Meirelles, was given a slot for the genre. Instead of reaching his targeted audience, the South Zone of Rio where the upper middle class lived he reached the suburbs where a great number of Afro Brazilians tuned into his programme and because of this for years he was the king of Carioca and would end up producing most of the big names of local reggae.

Radio Fluminense marked an era and was instrumental in changing the musical scene in Brazil.

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