Wednesday, October 25, 2006

129. Caetano Veloso - Caetano Veloso (1968)

Track Listing

1. Tropicália
2. Clarice
3. No Dia Em Que Eu Vim-me Embora
4. Alegria, Alegria
5. Onde Andarás
6. Anunciação
7. Superbacana
8. Paisagem Util
9. Clara
10. Soy Loco Por Tí, América
11. Ave Maria
12. Eles


With the whole psychadelic thing going on in the big international selling countries, like the UK and US, it is only natural that other countries would develop their own versions of it.

No country did it as well as Brazil, however, and Caetano Veloso is probably the greatest exponent of the psychadelic, or should I say Tropicalian singer-songwriter in Brazil. Caetano is good because he does not try to produce Sgt. Pepper's clones, in fact what he does is a completely original reply to psychadelia, in a movement that would be entitled Tropicalia after the first track in this album.

The album is distinctly in the realm of psychadelia, but more importantly it is as firmly in the realm of Brazilian music. Caetano recognises his origin as not Anglo-saxonic, so when producing the kind of music popular in Anglo speaking countries does it with a deeply Brazilian feel, and for that same reason all songs here are in Portuguese, with the exception of Che tribute, Soy Loco Por Ti America, which is half in Spanish and half in Portuguese, but still firmly in the South American world. A good example of this is the fact that the last track, Eles, seems at first to be an Indian music influenced track, for about 18 seconds, it then stops and goes into full Tropicalia... And all this musical message in a guy who still fills stadiums today (in Brazil and Portugal mostly).

And I still haven't spoken about the music. This is most likely my favourite Brazilian album at the moment and it is all amazing. Knowing Portuguese helps of course, but is definitely not essential. So either stream it from Napster (they don't have the full album, but you can reconstruct it from greatest hits album and make a playlist), or buy it at Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. Tropicália
2. Alegria, Alegria
3. Clarice
4. Soy Loco Por Tí, América

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Veloso's politically active stance, unapologetically leftist, earned him the enmity of Brazil's military dictatorship which ruled until 1985; his songs were frequently censored, and some were banned. Veloso was also alienated from the socialist left in Brazil because of his acceptance and integration of non-nationalist influences (like rock and roll) in his music. Veloso and Gilberto Gil spent several months in jail for "anti-government activity" in 1968 and eventually exiled themselves to London. Caetano Veloso's work upon his return in 1972 was often characterized by frequent appropriations not only of international styles, but of half-forgotten Brazilian folkloric styles and rhythms as well. In particular, his celebration of the Afro-Brazilian culture of Bahia can be seen as the precursor of such Afro-centric groups as Timbalada.

In the 1980s, Veloso's popularity outside Brazil grew, especially in Israel, Portugal, France and Africa. In America, his records produced by Arto Lindsay helped gain him a larger audience there. By 2004, he was one of the most respected and prolific international pop stars, with more than fifty recordings available, including songs in soundtracks of movies such as Michelangelo Antonioni's "Eros", Pedro Almodovar's Hable con Ella (Talk to Her), and Frida. In 2002 Veloso published an account of his early years and the Tropicalia movement, Tropical Truth: A Story of Music and Revolution in Brazil. In his albums he has included surprising personal versions of well-known Latin-American songs, among them some by Venezuelan folk songwriter Simón Díaz.

On Tropicalia:

"Tropicalismo" or "Tropicália" is associated almost exclusively with the movement's musical expression, both in Brazil and internationally; a form of Brazilian music that arose in the late 1960s from a melange of bossa nova, rock and roll, Bahia folk music, African music and Portuguese fado. Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil are considered to be the leaders of the movement. Veloso, Gil and other artists commonly associated with the movement, notably Os Mutantes, have experimented with unusual time signatures and other means of heterodox song structures. A lot of Tropicalismo artists were driven by socially aware lyrics and political activism following the coup of 1964, much like its contemporary Brazilian film movement, Cinema Novo (brazilian new wave). The movement only lasted consistently for a few years, and, in part, is responsible for what is now known as MPB, Música Popular Brasileira (Brazilian Popular Music). Tropicália as a movement ended in 1969 when its' leaders, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, were jailed for about a month and, shortly after their release, exiled by the military government.

Although it attained little commercial success outside of Brazil, Tropicalismo has a growing popularity, and has been cited as an influence by rock musicians such as David Byrne, Beck, Kurt Cobain, Arto Lindsay and Nelly Furtado. In 1998, Beck released Mutations, the title of which is a tribute to Tropicalismo pioneers Os Mutantes. Its hit single, "Tropicalia", went as high as #21 on the Billboard Modern Rock singles chart.

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