Lost Sambista

A Brazil never seen.

Archive for the tag “Bossa Nova”

The on-line home of Bossa Nova

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Sometimes the internet surprises us. We tried to search a site about Brazilian culture in English and found out that there were very few written by non-Brazilians. There was one heart warming exception: bossanovamusic.com. As the name suggests this is a site dedicated to our favorit style of music. We were happy to find a passionate account of the history of Bossa Nova, articles about its main exponents, interviews with Bossa Nova artists, excerpts of news about Bossa Nova throughout the world, reviews on albums and on related publications, everything done with great quality and care.

We got in touch with the guys and asked them to tell us more about the site. The answer was:

“… Bnovamusic.com is a site run by a group of fans that are passionate about bossa nova and its culture. Wanting to delve in further than just the music we decided we wanted to find blogs and websites and were surprised to find that they are really were few site and blogs that provided bossa nova content, especially for English speakers. Therefore, we decided to take up the responsibility ourselves. Since then we have been fortunate to work alongside very talented artists and other people in the industry. It’s been very rewarding and enjoyable to date and we are very thankful.”

Their site is a sister, or brother, of Lost Samba, in their passion and in taking it upon themselves to promote Brazilian culture in the English-speaking world. Bossanovamusic is an indispensable resource to anyone who wants to know more about the magic of artists like Tom Jobim, Vinicius de Moraes and Joao Gilberto. We thoroughly recommend it.

A review of Lost Samba

A review of Lost Samba

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Lost Samba – Chapter 11/02 – Hippies and ecological disaster in Brazil.

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The Novos Baianos

Bossa nova, guitar playing and Bahia were part of the same formative package and, as school drifted further from the radar, I discovered the Novos Baianos in IBEU’s Pandora’s Box. More than a band, they were a community of long-haired musicians from Bahia who, like the Greek poet-warriors, not only sang but also lived out the hippy dream.

Their philosophy could be synthesized in the question “Why not live this world if there is no other world?” which they asked in their good-humored samba, Besta é  Tu (It’s you who’s the fool). The song reflects the eagerness of their generation to enjoy life despite what was taking place in the political arena and to distance itself from the caretas, or the squares, and their caretice. They started out as a group of artists assembled in Salvador by Tom Zé, tropicália’s musical genius. When they came down to Rio in search of opportunities, their talent and their carefree ways ended up making them the queen bees of the carioca hippies, around whom everyone and everything cool gravitated. Luck opened several doors for them: career wise, they filled in a talent vacuum left behind by most of the country’s big names, such as Chico Buarque, Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso that the military had either exiled or completely censored. Music-wise, João Gilberto, the godfather of bossa nova, another bahiano, became very close to them and coached their raw talents into the highest musical standards. Meanwhile, their carioca bass player, Dadi, recruited through a newspaper advertisement, had no one less than Jorge Ben as a teacher.

In terms of their work, they did similar to what the Rolling Stones had done with the blues; they mixed rock and roll energy and authentic Brazilian themes. The result was very strong and, overall, their work reflected what all Brazilian hippies were during the military dictatorship: a force of nature. As expressing political thoughts was too dangerous, the confrontation with the system was existential, almost spiritual, therefore perhaps healthier than conventional politics as it did not involve picking up guns or resorting to violence. Instead this avenue sought resistance through being un-urban, in close contact with one’s true self, with nature, with music and with surfing in the case of Ipanema’s youth.

In fear of repression but, nevertheless, in complete disagreement with the route the country was taking, many thinking heads of that generation took shelter in a journey of self-discovery. By doing so, the Brazilian hippies dived into a strange, unique and lawless existence. Nonetheless, life went on, and around them was the intensity of Brazil; the mixture of cultures and the sensuousness of its streets still soaked in the euphoria of the 1970 World Cup triumph. Their psychedelic and counter-cultural outlook was akin to Jimi Hendrix meeting Pelé.

With so many cosmic forces behind their music, the Novos Baianos, the most visible and most colourful of the Brazilian hippies, found a record label that ended up providing them with a ranch in Jacarepaguá, in the outskirts of Rio. There they divided their time playing football, rehearsing, creating, eating vegetarian food, smoking weed and having children. The ranch would become an icon of that era.

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If a big portion of the youth appeared to be messed up, the mainstream was even more. Under the military, Brazil had become a lost ship sailing into an economic disaster zone with a drunk and autocratic captain in command. Following a pattern that still remains around the world, while the economy was doing well, huge predatory international deals were sealed behind the scenes; Western power brokers came up with generous investments and told the military not to worry about paying back. The rampant corruption and the suppression of any form of opposition or transparency allowed a huge portion of that money to “evaporate”. However, when the banks would come back for repayment, the bill fell on the lap of people who had nothing to do with those transactions, and who had never benefited from them.

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President Gen. Figueiredo and other Generals in the Seventies

One of the main victims of this orgy of easy money was the environment. Considered as a commercial resource, thousands of forest hectares and of animal species were set to disappear in order to allow huge farms with state-of-the-art technology to appear.  “Coincidentally”, most of the people who the big international banks funded to carry out these projects belonged to the backbone of the regime: the one percent of the population who owned eighty percent of the land. Brazil’s rulers needed this investment in order to silence the suggestion of appropriating unused land and handing it over to the destitute. The so called Reforma Agrária, the Agrarian Reform, still haunted the military despite their heavy hand. Long before the coup, this project had been a hot topic and blocking it had been one of the main reasons why the so-called revolution of 1964 had happened in the first place.

Regardless of this issue, most of the soil under the jungle was inappropriate for agriculture. Disregarding this simple but crucial limitation, the big farmers used the simplistic technique of burning down the woodland to clear their properties. After the flames had ceased, the earth on the new mega-farms became useless, and could only be used for pastures. This silent crime against the planet’s health continued way after the dictatorship ended and terminated a forest area larger than several European countries. This caused another problem: the forests’ eradication forced their populations into the big cities without any skills or preparation.  The saddest thing was that most of these investments never brought any benefit to the economy; a lot of the burnt land had to be abandoned as, much of the time, raising cattle made no economic sense in those remote regions.

Next to such a government, the demonized, longhaired, Cannabis smoking lefties were angels. The world could only blame those young hearts for not risking their lives to fight against that machinery.

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Burning down of a forest.

Lost Samba Chapter 11/01 – Discovering Bahia

Part17My precocious and unusual career choice stirred things at home and, without any knowledge of the film business nor how to react to the unexpected decision, my parents did their best to respond. The wisest option would be to study cinema abroad, more specifically in the UK, but for that to happen, I would have to take the O-Levels. This was a difficult exam one took when one was around 16 in order to proceed to the next stage of the British educational system: the even harder A-Levels, the entrance exam for British universities.

There was no other place to go in Rio de Janeiro other than the same British School that had practically expelled me years ago. This was an expensive and risky choice as my class would be the first one in the school’s history to prepare for that exam and we would be the oldest pupils the school had ever taught. In addition, mirroring the downturn in the British economy, things had changed there; the disciplinarian headmaster had long gone and the current one, a greasy guy with thick glasses and the face of a drunk bulldog was very different. Apart from having a lot of severe nervous ticks and a posh accent that we made fun of, he did not have a clue about how to deal with pubescent teenagers.

Educationally it was a bad time to study at that school, but in terms of fun…With the exception of our Maths teacher, Mr.  Bindley, a heavy ex-rugby player from Northern England, the rest of the staff was also unable to have any authority over our class. This allowed us to rule the school and to do all the wrong things available for boys between the ages of 14 and 16. We did scary stuff, like sticking our unsolicited hands into girls’ skirts, exploding the good students’ notebooks in the ventilator, flushing goldfish down the toilet and getting drunk during school hours.

Although the school taught the same curriculum as similar schools in Britain, neither I nor the American guys who I teamed up with, would ever take anything of value out of those classes. At the end of the year, I had to tell Dad he was wasting his hard-earned money. With all that craziness in the classroom, it would require a super-human effort to step above that nonsense and to succeed in an exam I was not even sure I wanted to take. The burden of that responsibility was too heavy; after all, I was only 15 and my parents had not raised me to face that kind of challenge and even if they had, changing my good life in Rio de Janeiro for one in a school in the UK that would put me “in line” was a grim prospect.

Parallel to the anguish of what to do about my education and me, Mum came up with the suggestion that I should learn the guitar. As a toddler I had been promising on the flute, and if I became good with the strings, my ability could help me open the doors of popularity. There was already an excellent hand-made guitar at home; Sarah’s Del Vecchio which she never touched. For once, motherly advice turned out to be spot on and, unable to take school seriously, popular or not, I dived deeply into the instrument and turned that carved wooden box into a lifelong friend.

The private teacher was slim and his pale greasy face was covered in pimples that blended badly with his African features. He looked and dressed like a nerd, but was impressive on the guitar. He had been a rocker, but had converted to Bossa Nova fundamentalism and this was what he taught. In the beginning, I wasn’t too happy: I wanted to play like Jimi Hendrix while he only taught me the pure João Gilberto style. His homework was painful, it took a lot of effort to get my fingers to hold down the strings in spider-like positions and do those jazz chords. It was a tough learning curve, but when fluency arrived and the left hand did its thing while the right hand tapped the samba, the sweetest music came streaming out. From that moment on, I had found not only a state of mind that brought me harmony but I also found something to love. However, as the guitar took a central role in my existence, the O-levels became ever more distant.

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As we only had classical music records at home, my source to the songs and to the styles I wanted to learn was the library at IBEU (Instituto Brasil-Estados Unidos, the Brazil United States Institute), located near our former flat in Copacabana.  Set up to demonstrate the US was Brazil’s friend and to ensure an American cultural presence in Rio de Janeiro, the Institute’s shelves had tons of vinyl long play records, LPs, of famous and obscure Brazilian artists whom I began to like and to learn.  It also had a respectable collection of international and national rock and pop titles. As those LP’s piled onto the old record player in my room, the sudden access to such a variety of music made the world begin to seem a broader place.

The IBEU was not only about accessing new musical worlds; they also had books and, therefore, the library also helped to expand my literary horizons. I had started earlier with the entire collections of Asterix and Tintin and by now I had grown out of those and had discovered Jorge Amado. My first book was “Capitães de Areia” (“Sand Captains”) about street boys in Salvador, Bahia, which had blown me away. Its pages described the intense life and the difficulties street kids in Salvador encountered due to poverty, ignorance and racial prejudice, before “New Brazil” had stepped in.

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Jorge Amado

Although the entire collection of his work was available in the shelves of the library of one of Uncle Sam’s hubs, Amado was a self-proclaimed communist as most other important intellectuals of his generation were. Similarly to the Cinema Novo’s film makers, his work showed how the so-called masses were sophisticated and had rich lives when compared to the neurotic, urban, white nouveaux riches.  After that first book I went on to read all his other ones, their pages were intense and filled with Brazilian sensuality. That literature had the effect of making my attention gravitate towards what happened outside the surrealism of home, religion and of school. His writing drew my attention towards the huge celebration of life in the melting pot of races and cultures that is Brazil.

Through Jorge Amado I discovered Bahia at the heart of the fascinating country my parents had moved to. It was the Mississippi Delta of the Portuguese speaking world and, with the exception of Haiti, the most African place in the world outside the actual continent. Unlike most black people in the world, the Bahianos  were proud of their origins and lived accordingly, not as a political statement, but just because this is how they had always lived. Along with its best writer, that state had provided the country with its most talented musicians: Dorival Caymmi, João Gilberto, Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso. The Samba was born there, as was Capoeira, the Brazilian dance-cum-martial art developed through the resistance of slaves to their destiny.

It was not only me who was fascinated with Bahia in the 1970s; the abundance of unexplored beaches and its Afro-Brazilian atmosphere transformed that part of Brazil into the ultimate destination for the nation’s hippies. There was something shining out of there that allowed people to connect with their country in a way that was more powerful and more genuine than the Californian style that the Zona Sul of Rio de Janeiro was adopting. Coincidentally, this was close to the time when the greatest Capoeira master of his days, mestre Camisa, a disciple of the great mestre Bimba, arrived from Salvador and popularized the sport in the Zona Sul. He started training a small group of capoeristas, Gato, Peixinho, Garrincha who would later become mestres themselves and who would form with him the grupo Senzala, now divided into several diferent groups, but that would come to dominate the Brazilian and the international Capoeira scene.

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Photo Lis Farias

Lost Samba – Chapter 03/01- Moving to Bossa Nova Land

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The London to Rio de Janeiro flight took two long days, stopping in Lisbon, Dakar and Recife in northeastern Brazil. The modern airports, the glamorous hostesses, the high technology, the generous meals and the feeling of being part of the international jet set, did not compensate for the engines’ hum that left a ringing in one’s ears for days.

On a 1956 dawn, the airplane carrying Raphael and Renée touched-down at Rio de Janeiro’s Galeão Airport. As the cabin crew opened the door, the early-morning tropical air hit the couple and that blissful feeling caressed their skin. Exhausted, but relieved for having arrived and comforted by the pleasant weather outside, they walked down the airplane’s unstable staircase and contemplated the beauty of their surroundings, fantasising about the new life that was about to begin. After months of making plans and arrangements, they had finally arrived in the country they had dreamed of for so long. Inspired by Hollywood big-screen imagery, magazine features and documentaries, Rio seemed to offer everything a European could possibly wish for following two world wars: natural beauty, economic prosperity, good weather, racial harmony and above all the rare attribute of happiness.

After passing through passport control Raphael and Renée identified their luggage. Although very few people spoke English, the airport was chic and well organized and soon uniformed porters appeared to carry their suitcases to the taxi queue outside the terminal. Inside the car, in very poor Portuguese, they read the paper with the address of the hotel they were going to and waited for the driver to load their cases and go. Looking through the window the penny dropped: it was real! Excitement flooded in, and as the taxi set off they put on their sunglasses and enjoyed the scenery. First they passed alongside the bustling dock area, then they weaved through the city centre with its contrasting mix of colonial-era churches and Belle Époque and modernist-style public buildings. At the end of the green avenue, they reached Guanabara Bay where they would soon see the Sugar Loaf, and from there the cab sped by the gleaming neighbourhoods of Flamengo and Botafogo before finally going through two tunnels to reach Copacabana.

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From their sunny Copacabana hotel room, the newly arrived couple planned their first mission: to choose a place to live. With a bank account filled with plenty of valued British pounds, this was a pleasurable yet daunting task. There were many wonderful neighbourhoods to pick from: green Gávea by the mountains; trendy Ipanema and its neighbour, Leblon; traditional Cosme Velho, set in a valley amidst the Tijuca forest and the green Jardim Botânico, alongside the park established in the nineteenth century by Joao VI, the exiled king of Portugal and first emperor of Brazil. There were also more secluded areas to consider, such as relaxed and low-key Urca, in the shadow of Sugar Loaf mountain and Santa Teresa, in the hills immediately behind the city centre, where wealthy merchants and aristocrats had once lived, their elegant villas and palatial houses a reminder of Brazil’s imperial past. All these choices were dreamlike for a couple coming from grey London.

Despite all those choices they opted to remain in Copacabana. What this stretch of Rio de Janeiro possessed that the others lacked was the Hollywood glamour that the likes of Fred Astaire, Ginger Rogers and Carmen Miranda had introduced to the world. Copacabana had charisma; in some ways it resembled the stylish resorts along France’s Cote d’Azur, with its clean and calm streets and its frenetic beach life. In other ways, the neighbourhood resembled Manhattan, an urban forest of modern concrete towers with shops selling fancy imported novelties, chic nightclubs and streets jammed with the latest car models.

The “Princess of the Sea” had a cosmopolitan buzz like no other neighbourhood in Brazil. The beach itself was amazing: it was four kilometres long and a range of lush hills separated the district from the rest of the city. Facing the neighbourhood, out in the open ocean, a group of small islands covered with wild greenery broke the dullness of the horizon, An elegant promenade, the Avenida Atlantica, bordered the sand; this was the stage where the wealthier cariocas – Rio’s natives – exhibited their toned and tanned bodies during the day and where in the evening they showed off their best clothes when they went for a stroll.

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Copacabana was part of Rio de Janeiro’s upmarket Zona Sul, or southern zone. It was there the likes of Vinicius de Moraes, João Gilberto and Tom Jobim gave birth to the bossa nova, that samba-jazz fusion. Although these artists preferred to live by the next beach down the coast – in bohemian, but chic, Ipanema – the swankiest music venues in town were along Copacabana’s Avenida Atlantica, while the coolest places to go were in the alleys behind it, such as the Beco das Garrafas, where the trio and other future bossa nova legends regularly performed. This was the cradle of most of the genre’s classics. None was more famous than “The Girl from Ipanema”, a song that Frank Sinatra would record at the height of his career, and which rivalled in sales anything the Beatles or the Rolling Stones recorded at the same time.

This new laidback style of playing samba was a reflection of a wealthy, self-confident and modernizing Brazil. The president, Juscelino Kubitschek’s, slogan was to build “fifty years in five”. With this mentality, he set out to construct a new and futuristic capital, Brasília, in the sparsely inhabited centre of Brazil, at the same time he invested heavily in infrastructure and opened the economy to foreign capital. The country’s industrialisation accelerated fast and with a widening consumer market, opportunities seemed unlimited. Bossa nova was the musical expression of this optimism ­– it was clever, urban, mainstream and sophisticated, yet in love with its Brazilian roots.

Although my parents only listened to classical music, they fitted in well with the new middle class who were eager to live according to the international standards as portrayed in foreign movies that fired their imaginations and in the magazines that they devoured. Coming from London, despite the hardships of the post-war, Mum was quick to notice that she could embody the glamour of the developed world, and she welcomed the role of ambassador of that image with conviction and joy. As for the couple’s search for a new home, it did not take long to find a spacious, ocean side penthouse apartment with a veranda and stunning views. The building was on the corner with Avenida Atlantica and, like all others in the area, it resembled a luxury hotel. Marble panels and gigantic gilt-edged mirrors lined its entrance, giving it an air of something similar to a Hollywood set or a European palace.

Their household goods, purchased at London auction houses at post-war bargain prices, included antique furniture, such as an authentic Chippendale side-table, a grand piano, fine English silver, high quality china and classic paintings. Everything had been shipped ahead, and was sitting in customs at the docks.

While Raphael set out to make contact with the people whose names friends had given him, Renée stayed in charge of clearing her treasures. Armed with some basic Portuguese that she had acquired in London in preparation for the move, she set off to deal with the Brazilian bureaucracy. For the custom’s officer, she could not have seemed more of a typical rich gringa. Despite the warnings of her new neighbours and her friends, Mum could hardly imagine that such a charming man in such a responsible position could be fishing for bribes, although everyone had assured her that anyone in such a job would expect an “incentive” to expedite things. On one crucial afternoon, however, her fear of giving offence was so strong that she could not bring herself to hand him an envelope containing a nice sum of cash. This hesitation cost them another four months of waiting.

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A pearl of Brazilian culture

This is an unfinished video by Rogerio Sganzerla one of the big names of the Brazilian Cinema Novo, an avant-gard movement of the fifties and sixties, featuring the recording of an out-timish album that the cream of Brazilian music, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Maria Betania and Joao Gilberto did in the eighties.

At that time “new-age” rock was invading the radio stations pouring tons of crap into Brazilian ears. Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil joined the wave and delivered some of their worst albums ever. This album was like an escapade to Joao Gilberto’s holy cave.

Sganzerla is the director of one of the best Brazilian films ever, the controversial “o Bandido da Luz Vermelha” (the Bandit of the Red Light) done in the sixties based on the true story of a serial killer, a subject that had never been brought to Brazilian screens at the time. His career had gone downhill and although he did not manage to redeem himself with “Brasil” he did get to work with the biggest names in Brazilian music.

The main feature of this short film is his usage of footage done by Orson Wells in his never release film about Brazil “Its All True”- the production that spoiled his reputation in Hollywood and ultimately ruined his career.

Lost Samba, a first person history of the birth of modern Brazil

As London  passes the Olympic flame to Rio de Janeiro, English-Brazilian author Richard Klein launches ‘Lost Samba’, an account of Rio’s bitter-sweet ‘golden days’ in the sixties and the subsequent roller-coaster ride from the military sponsored Brazilian “Economic Miracle” to the depths of the 1980s Brazilian economic catastrophe, all seen through the eyes of the author, a European who grew up as a citizen of Brazil’s legendary Copacabana and Ipanema.

Klein was born to an ex-pat British mother and a holocaust-survivor father in the iconic year (1962) which also gave birth to the Beatles as a recording band, the ‘Girl from Ipanema’ and Brazil’s second World Cup victory. His book describes the Brazilian 1970 World Cup triumph, seen through the eyes of an eight year old boy living in Rio, in the era of Pele, and the subsequent football fever that engulfed the country. As a musician, Klein also gives a personal insight into the evolution of Brazilian music from the Bossa Nova of the sixties to the rock scene in the eighties.

The author says: “With the world’s eyes turning once more to Brazil – hosting the soccer World Cup in 2014 and the Olympics in 2016 – Lost Samba peers through the clichés to give a true, first person guide to the country’s recent history and its colourful and vibrant lifestyle.

“Lost Samba describes my personal contact with a wide range of Rio de Janeiro society, from the elite in the American School to Favela drug dealers. It takes the reader on an eventful hitch-hiking journey in the heat of the Brazilian summer, through the hippy-style culture and intense carnivals of Brazil’s north-eastern region, and describes my interaction with the heads of the quiet revolution that overthrew the military dictatorship and with the people who would tackle the hyperinflation that devastated the country until only 20 years ago.”

Klein’s Jewish background and humour, as well as his closeness to Britain, where he now lives, make Lost Samba an accessible and catchy read for people who want to understand and get closer to this emerging country that will be so prominent on the world’s stage over the next four years.

The TV Record Festival of 1967 – The birth of Brazilian modern music

 

In this fantastic video one sees the birth of Brazilian modern music.

Bossa Nova, Rock, Jovem Guarda, traditional music, politicised music, tropicalia are all present on stage in all their freshness.

The tension between tradition and the new music brought by the new comers Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso presenting themselves with pop visuals and references to rock culminates into a rally against the electric guitar with the presence of Gilberto Gil and eminent journalists such as Sergio Cabral, gives an insight to a time when the Brazilian left associated that instrument to American Imperialism.

There is also Roberto Carlos, the best-selling Brazilian artist of that generation who headed  the Jovem Guarda movement, a Brazilian  interpretation of Rock and Roll, singing samba, a rarity in itself.

The participation of the audience is also revealing, it shows the importance that those festivals had and the hopes that the youth put into music as a way to propagate ideas, and indeed democracy and resistance to the dictatorship. It also shows the birth of the Brazilian modern music industry in line with the creeping American influence; the organizers of the event talk about the business side of things and one can see that the artists went along with it. They knew about the marketing potential of those festivals, and were more worried about their careers than any student in the audience could imagine.

There is also an absence of working class people, which gives another insight to a world where the poor were regarded as secondary players and were patronized as the “mass” who the youth were ready to lead into a better world.

There is also Chico Buarque, the darling of the left who, because he was not so aligned with Gil and Caetano’s radicalism, was to remain out of the “cool” club.

The winner was Edu Lobo would end up not being too expressive in the Brazilian musical constellation.

Finally one sees the courage, and perhaps opportunism, of Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil to introduce radically new forms of music to a hostile crowd, and their winning them over due the sheer quality of the music. They are the ones who most took advantage of the festivals. The two songs that they presented, Domingo no Parque, and Sem Lenco e Sem Documento launched their careers as stars and put non-traditional music on the Brazilian map.

This was a night that set landmarks and its repercussions are still felt to this very day. There is more about it in Lost Samba, the book this blog promotes.

Chico Buarque de Hollanda

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Chico Buarque is a unanimity in Brazil: everyone in every generation, social class, or city will agree that he is good. If his work were in English he’d certainly be together with Bob Dylan and John Lennon in the world pantheon of song writers.

He is a unique musical artist. Coming from one of the best families in Brazil – his father Aurelio wrote the equivalent of the Brazilian Portuguese Thesaurus dictionary – he is from the generation that came right after the Bossa Nova founders, Joao Gilberto and Tom Jobim. In their view, the pleasant country that they grew up in had only one problem: social inequality.

His songs have therefore always been politically engaged and he has been the hero of the Brazilian left ever since the sixties. When the military coup tightened in 1968, they didn’t know what to do with such a popular and talented figure coming from such an influential family. They resorted to exiling him and when they allowed him back they managed to continue to keep him quiet by censoring anything he wrote. He responded with two tactics: using a pseudonym: Julinho da Adelaide and writing songs about the female point of view of the world.

When compared to his peers, more specifically to Gilberto Gil and to Caetano Veloso, was never a “tropicalista” and therefore he never sold out; he never bothered with fashions, never needed a change in style to sell, and never left his beliefs in the urgency of social reform. In parallel to this coherence, what has always made him stand out has been the amazing quality of his lyrics and the great partnerships he struck with top musical talents.

Although he can’t be classified as a Sambista because of the complexity of his songs, he has been consistent in never going too far from Brazil musically speaking. Although understanding the lyrics is essential to appreciate Chico we highly recommend anyone interested in Brazilian music to get hold of whatever they can.

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