Tropicalia

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Tropicalia ou Panis Et Circensis was the manifesto to the Tropicalia movement that Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil started along with Os Mutantes, Gal Costa, Tom Ze and others in the late 60’s. In addition to being incredibly outspoken against the military dictatorship that silenced any form of expression and stripped people of their freedoms, they also set out to revolutionize form in addition to content. In all artforms involved in this movement (Theater, Cinema Novo, Poetry, Visual Arts, Music, etc…) they welcomed outside influences influences and embrassed them. Brazilian music at the time was overly-nationalist and frowned upon any outside influence. Artists like Caetano, Gil, and Os Mutantes rejected this idealogy and borrowed heavily from artists like The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Miles Davis, etc… Rogerio Duprat, the arranger of most of the albums during this time including this one, lived in France to study directly from Stockhausen and Pierre Boulez just as Quincy Jones did. It was through all these influences a new sound was created. This movement was shortlived though, due to the government jailing and eventually exiling Caetano and Gil on December 27th, 1968. The 2 lived in London until they were allowed back in 1972. Caetano wrote this about the effects of the movement in his book
‘Tropical Truth: A Story of Music & Revolution in Brazil’…

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“We had not attained socialism, had not even found its human face; neither had we entered the Age of Aquarius or the Kingdom of the Holy Ghost; we had not overcome the West, had not rooted out racism or abolished sexual hypocrisy. But things would never be as they had been.”

After Tropicalia there was complete acceptance to inovation in the arts in Brazil. People were granted more freedom of expression, and artists were no longer censored. The political system even got better. There is a great documentary that is available online that you should definately check out called ‘Brazil, The Tropicalist Revolution’.

There are a ton of Brazilian blogs out there that have an overwhelming amount of rare and incredible records. You can spend days at Loronix, Som Barato, Brazilian Nuggets, Quimsy’s Mumbo Jumbo, Sabadabada, Na Onda Do Samba, Sounds of the 70’s, J Thyme kind, Abracadabra, Som Do Bom, Capsula da Cultura and Toque Musical.
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Soul Jazz put out an incredible comp last year called ‘Tropicalia A Brazilian Revolution in Sound’. To keep the forum going and with an attempt to get more people involved, only registered users in the forum will recieve the link to this unbelievable record. So if you haven’t checked it out yet, go now…

P.R. Pride Parade…


check this article on why this person doesn’t go to the parade anymore. Definately worth a read. The music being played these days exemplifies what Robert ‘Dube’ Colon had to say. Reggaeton is the commercialization of the culture, and what it did to latin music is even more extreme than what new commercial hip hop has done to the golden era of hip hop. Granted we live in a much more capitalistic society, and not all music has to be socially and politically concsious, but…does ALL of it have to be ignorant? Just a thought.

There is this incredible book called We Took The Streets: Fighting for Latino Rights with the Young Lords by Miguel ‘Micky’ Melenez that talks about what the Young Lords did for the community. Also check the documentary… They both talk about the involvement of all the musicians in those times, i.e. all the artist on Fania, Ray Barretto, Willie Colon, Ruben Blades, Hector Lavoe, etc…and how they would do free concerts to support whatever cause that the Young Lords would be working on. In a lot of cases, people like Ruben Blades and many others would actually be more involved with the protests, community improvements, etc….themselves when they aren’t doing the music. A huge contrast to say the least.

So…in a few hours I will be posting a few records by those people, who not only had something profound to say, but the music itself was incredible. That’s real energy…instead of yelling “con la lengua afuera” over an 808. So keep coming back today because there’s some serious records comin…