Lost Sambista

A Brazil never seen.

Vimana – the origins of Brazilian Rock

Johnny was an American/Brazilian friend, perhaps because of this and because he had two older brothers he had a more liberated life than myself; his parents allowed him to surf and to go to rock concerts. The friendship opened doors to a world that I wished to get into, namely the surfer’s one.

Without parental consent he started to take me to where it was happening. We began by surf films: high school student union cine-clubs showed them in sessions advertised on A4 sized posters suck on to walls of the surf shops that were starting to pop up in Ipanema. Teachers and head masters certainly did not know what went on inside those rooms. The first one I went to was in the auditorium of a Church in Copacabana. The girls looked too wild for us and all the guys in the room had long hair and looked, or at least tried to look, like seasoned surfers.

As the lights went off the warrior cries and the surfer’s “yeehaa!!!” began. The first shot was a fly through the Hawaiian Mountains that landed on a beach with perfect waves. From there it cut to “real” long-haired american surfers which all of us knew from imported magazines. I think that was the first time in my life I was in a room where someone smoked weed. At the end of the session, although my parents forbade surf at home and weed was considered as the synthesis of evil I was a few steps closer to the surfing world.

The next step was going to a proper rock concert. Johnny invited me to go to see a really good band with an English singer that everyone was into. The name of the Band was Vimana.

As it happens that band was to represent the genesis of Brazilian modern rock. It featured guys who were to become major names in the Brazilian Rock scene: Lulu Santos, their guitarist and vocalist on some songs would become one of Brazi’ls biggest commercial successes in the 1980’s, Ritchie, the English singer also would become a household name when he launched the classic Menina Veneno a few years later and their drummer Lobao, only 16 at the time, is still one of the most influential names in Brazilian Rock.

vimana44

The theater was the Teresa Rachel (see article about it in this blog) and the public was the same as in the surfing films but bigger. It seemed that everyone with long hair in Rio de Janeiro’s South Zone was in that hall. There was the inevitable smell of Cannabis in the Theater but what really caught our attention was the futuristic equipment and the similarity of the music that they played to what we heard on our record players: Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes and Led Zeppelin.

The level was deafening and left a hum in my ear for almost a week. As I left the theater I was proud to have been to my first rock concert and that was boasting material for weeks.

Vimana was good even when compared to foreign bands. Unfortunately my pocket-money was not enough to buy the single that they released, the one and only they ever did. As most bands do, they ended up imploding but a few years later they were called up by Patrick Moraez, the keyboard play from the mega British Progressive rock band Yes to work with him, they rehearsed for months but it ended up not going ahead.

The video above is not great but is probably their only live recording ever. Hopefully you will enjoy it.

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8 thoughts on “Vimana – the origins of Brazilian Rock

  1. Glad you were there at the Thereza Rachel that day. So was I… I’m the first one on the left in the photo… and you’re right, that video is the only live recording ever, at an open air festival. That’s the original line-up of the band with Candinho on drums, myself on keys/vocals, Fernando Gamma on bass and Lulu Santos on guitar/lead vocals.. Later on Candinho left, and Lobão (drummer) and Ritchie (singer) joined the group. Poor Lulu was struggling to stay on pitch, since there were no monitor speakers and he couldn’t hear himself…

  2. Wow Luiz! Sorry for getting the video wrong and congratulations for making rock and roll history in Brazil.

  3. Yeah, those were good times…. You’re in London, right? Let me know if you come by New York one of these days. There’s a chance I’ll be in London sometime this Summer

  4. Sure, I’m very active doing shows here in NY and abroad. Style now is more like Brazilian Jazz/Brazilian music, mostly originals. I sing and play with my group, usually a trio or quartet. check my website at http://www.luizsimas.com and my videos on youtube
    Hope to see you in London

  5. I seriously love your site.. Pleasant colors & theme.

    Did you create this site yourself? Please reply back as I’m wanting to create my very own site and want to know where you got this from or what the theme is called. Cheers!

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