#26 – Leno & Lilian – Pobre Menina

from a B-side to a single released in 1966 by CBS.

Original lyrics:

Pobre menina não tem ninguém
Pobre menina não tem ninguém

Tão pobrezinha ela mora em um barracão
E todo mundo quer magoar seu coração
A mim não me enteressa quem sejam seu pais
Porque pobre menina eu te quero de mais

Pobre menina não tem ninguém
Pobre menina não tem ninguém

Vive mal vestida em seu bairro a vagar
Em toda sua vida só tem feito chorar
Como num conto de fadas nós vamos casar
E toda a tristeza vai acabar,vai acabar

Pobre menina não tem ninguém
Pobre menina não tem ninguém

Translated lyrics:

Poor little girl, she doesn’t have anybody
Poor little girl, she doesn’t have anybody

So poor she lives in a shack
Everybody wants to break her heart
But neither your parents matter to me
‘Cause I want you so bad, poor little girl

Poor little girl, she doesn’t have anybody
Poor little girl, she doesn’t have anybody

She wanders through her neighboord in sleazy garments
Through all her life all she did was crying
But like in a fairy tale we’re gonna marry
And all her sadness will wash away

This was the song that first came to my mind when I was remembered of Mutantes’ “A minha menina”.

This is a 7-inch release by Leno & Lilian, one of those forgotten Jovem Guarda acts that played on innocence, good looks and trying to be not only a perfect match to one’s love but also being exactly what the parents thought was a good, responsible boy or girl. This is pop music in its purest form.

This track got very famous and it is still well known in Brazil. The thing is, it is a version of the song “Hang On Sloopy”, by The McCoys. This was very common. Lots of Jovem Guarda’s tracks were actually translations of popular hits in English that were converted then to Portuguese, keeping the melody and rhythm and everything else. Here’s the original version and then below the English lyrics:

Hang on Sloopy lyrics:

Hang on Sloopy, Sloopy hang on
Hang on Sloopy, Sloopy hang on

Sloopy lives in a very bad part of town
And everybody there tries to put my Sloopy down
Sloopy I don’t care what your daddy do
‘Cause you know Sloopy girl I’m in love with you
And so I’m singing…

Yeah yeah yeah yeah…

Sloopy let your hair down girl, let it run down on me
Sloopy let your hair down girl, let it run down on me

Come on Sloopy Come on, come on
Well come on Sloopy Come on, come on

Well it feels so good Come on, come on
You know it feels so good Come on, come on

Well shake it, shake it, shake it Sloopy Come on, come on
Well shake it, shake it, shake it yeah
Yeah…

As you see, the Brazilian version has more lines to besides the repeating choruses and it also exaggerates the poorness of the girl. Even if Sloopy is poor, her Brazilian counterpart is more, as she lives in a shack (probably in a favela!), she wears second-hand clothes and everybody mocks her for everything she does. I don’t know you, but the picture I get is not that the poor little girl was much in dispute as she’s actually the subject of a social security program performed by the male singer. This is the kind of thing that the emphasis on innocence and youthfulness does when it becomes such a common marketable commodity — and that is typical of Jovem Guarda.

Tomorrow I’ll come back to the Tropicália.

#25 – Os Mutantes – A minha menina

from Os Mutantes (Polydor, 1968)

Original lyrics:

Ela é minha menina
E eu sou o menino dela
Ela é o meu amor
E eu sou o amor todinho dela

A lua prateada se escondeu
E o sol dourado apareceu
Amanheceu um lindo dia
Cheirando a alegria

Pois eu sonhei
E acordei pensando nela

Pois ela é minha menina
E eu sou o menino dela
Ela é o meu amor
E eu sou o amor todinho dela

A roseira já deu rosas
E a rosa que eu ganhei foi ela
Por ela eu ponho o meu coração
Na frente da razão

E vou dizer pra todo mundo
Como gosto dela

Pois ela é minha menina
E eu sou o menino dela
Ela é o meu amor
E eu sou o amor todinho dela

A lua prateada se escondeu
E o sol dourado apareceu
Amanheceu um lindo dia
Cheirando alegria

Pois eu sonhei
E acordei pensando nela

Pois ela é minha menina
E eu sou o menino dela
Ela é o meu amor
E eu sou o amor todinho dela

Minha menina
Minha menina

Translated lyrics:

She’s my girl
I’m her boy
She’s my love
I’m her little cutie love

The silvery moon is hidden away
Now the sun is shining bright
It’s such a beautiful morning
It smells like joy

Because I have dreamed
And I woke thinking of her

Because she’s my girl
I’m her boy
She’s my love
I’m her little cutie love

The roses are now blooming
And she’s the rose I got
For her I put reason
Second to my heart

And I’ll tell everybody
How much I like her

Because she’s my girl
I’m her boy
She’s my love
I’m her little cutie love

The silvery moon hided away
Now the sun is shining bright
It’s such a beautiful morning
It smells like joy

As you probably have already notice, I love digressions and going astray from my (self-)established course. So today and tomorrow I’ll post two songs that are not on the Tropicália album. Today’s lyrics are here because of a conversation I had with a friend on a comment board somewhere, so I made a flash translation of this Mutantes track. I’m sure his translation of it was a whole lot better, because I can’t keep rhymes and syllable counting as he did, but as I guess most of the reader of this blog are interested in the meaning of the songs, so the meaning is what you get.

This is the second track from Mutantes’ debut album. The song is mocking the innocence, cheerfulness and love struck Jovem Guarda lyrics. Tomorrow I’ll post a translation of a Jovem Guarda song that I mixed up with this one for some reason when I thought about this Mutantes track. 

One cool thing to notice is that early rock and roll in Brazil was dubbed “ié ié ié” music, or, yeah yeah yeah, as all the songs had a passage in which this was said. Other feature was the doo doo da that often accompanied the main singers. Those were such common references that the Beatles’ A hard day’s night was released in its Brazilian version as Os reis do iê iê ié, as it was also the name of the movie when it was released around here.

os reis

Doing something different for the day n. 1 – Porto Alegre

I decided to do something different for the day and so I won’t post any translation today, but instead I’ll use this blog as a platform for some other purposes.

If you read this blog, then it is certain that you’re interested in Brazilian music. But Brazilian music has a lot of different expressions, as I always try to say here, and so Tropicália was only one of those (although one of the most important). As for myself, it is only through this blog that I’m coming to terms with Tropicália and much of “traditional” (as in what people usually assume Brazilian music is, for instance, MPB) Brazilian music. It’s been a good ride and I’m surely losing many of the prejudices I held for one or another reason against it.

Anyway, if you read this blog, then there is no excuse why you wouldn’t enjoy contemporary Brazilian music. The excellent blog Eu Ovo recently made a survey with 100 albums free to download released in 2013. Although they cover the modern MPB genre mostly, there are some really good music and some surprises there. (My tip: a non-surprise, Apanhador Só’s album; a surprise: Bixiga 70, afrobeat with a Afro-Brazilian tinge, great stuff).

I live in Porto Alegre, which is in south Brazil. When I translated that Almôndegas’ song I already talked about Rio Grande do Sul’s (the state where Porto Alegre is located) somewhat troubled relation with the rest of the country. But as the rest of Brazil, Porto Alegre is gaining more and more strength in improvised and contemporary music. So I selected a few bands from Porto Alegre you may enjoy. They go from electroacoustic to post rock then back to electronic through improvisation and all that stuff. Hope you like!

Trompa

0001277321_100

http://trompa.bandcamp.com/

Projeto CCOMA

ccoma

http://www.projetoccoma.com/

Quarto Sensorial

quarto sensorial

Honorável Harakiri

hh

http://mansardarecords.wordpress.com/tag/honoravel-harakiri/

By the way, you should check out Mansarda Records, a netlabel centered around Porto Alegre whose whole catalog is available for download!

#24 – Os Mutantes – Panis et Circensis

from Tropicália, ou Panis et Circensis (Philips, 1968)

Original lyrics:

Eu quis cantar
Minha canção iluminada de sol
Soltei os panos sobre os mastros no ar
Soltei os tigres e os leões nos quintais
Mas as pessoas na sala de jantar
São ocupadas em nascer e morrer

Mandei fazer
De puro aço luminoso um punhal
Para matar o meu amor e matei
Às cinco horas na avenida central
Mas as pessoas na sala de jantar
São ocupadas em nascer e morrer

Mandei plantar
Folhas de sonho no jardim do solar
As folhas sabem procurar pelo sol
E as raízes procurar, procurar

Mas as pessoas na sala de jantar
Essas pessoas na sala de jantar
São as pessoas da sala de jantar
Mas as pessoas na sala de jantar
São ocupadas em nascer e morrer

Translated lyrics:

I wanted to sing
My sunlit song
I set sails upon the masts in the air
In the backyards I released tigers and lions
But people in the dining rooms
Are too busy being born and dying

I ordered to make
A dagger from bright polished steel
To kill my love and I did it
At five o’clock at the central avenue
But people in the dining rooms
Are too busy being born and dying

I ordered to plant
Dream leaves at the manor’s garden
The leaves know where to look for the sun
And the root know how to search
But people in the dining rooms
Are too busy being born and dying

But people at the dining rooms
Those people at the dining rooms
But people at the dining rooms
Those people at the dining rooms
Are too busy being born and dying

Double treat today!

So this is the first cut by Kurt Cobain’s little darlings, Os Mutantes! Just kidding, although the Nirvana singer, who had an outstanding taste in music (he even listened to WFMU!), liked them a lot.

I always liked Mutantes, but Mutantes’ fans and all the Mutantes things saying they are the greatest band of all time started annoying me sometime ago. They were very creative and the three together were absolute geniuses, but don’t tell me you think the same of Arnaldo Batista’s solo career. Besides, if you look further, in the 70s there were a lot of even better prog rock bands in Brazil (to start with O Terço). The thing is: I don’t know why a Mutantes consensus was created, because it takes away everything that was really confrontational and strange about the band and then it becomes tamed. The same thing happened, at least I think, with Tropicália, which acquired such a canonical fashion in Brazil that it has lost all its edge. It’s not that I don’t like it, but I don’t like the way people like it (got it?). But this is only an insider view of Brazilian culture.

As the foreign recognition, it’s all than more deserved. Mutantes were one of the great psychedelic bands of all time and they are an easy match to any band in Europe, the States or any other place.

I don’t have much to say besides what’s already been said about them and my usual complaints against their reception. I’ll only have a word about the translation.

Where it says manor’s, the original says solar. Solar has nothing to do with sun, but it’s the name for a big and rich house, although not a mansion. The solar is usually a very large sobrado (a two-store house) with a garden inside, so they’re usually square shaped. To translate solar as manor is not accurate because a manor is locate on the countryside, and a solar is exclusively an urban thing. What is cool about the lyrics is that it brings together the solar with the plants looking for sunlight, so there’s an indeterminacy of meaning or, in not so fancy words, a little confusion which adds to the poetic thing about it.

A second note, I translated “Estão ocupadas em nascer e morrer” como “Are too busy being born and dying”. That’s exactly what it says, but I thought it would be cool to bring a Bob Dylan-esque touch to the translation.

That’s it! Now I feel guilty for what I said about Os Mutantes…

#23 – Caetano Veloso – Coração Materno

from Tropicália, ou Panis et Circensis (Philips, 1968)

Original lyrics:

Disse o campônio a sua amada
Minha idolatrada diga o que qués?
Por ti vou matar, vou roubar
Embora tristezas me causes mulher
Provar quero eu que te quero
Venero teus olhos teu porte, teu ser
Mas diga tua ordem espero
Por ti não importa matar ou morrer
E ela disse ao compônio a brincar
Se é verdade tua louca paixão
Partes já e pra mim vá buscar
De tua mãe inteiro o coração
E a correr o campônio partiu
Como um raio na estrada sumiu
E sua amada qual louca ficou
A chorar na estrada tombou
Chega à choupana o campônio
Encontra a mãezinha ajoelhada a rezar
Rasga-lhe o peito o demônio
Tombando a velhinha aos pés do altar
Tira do peito sagrando da velha mãezinha
O pobre coração e volta a correr proclamando
Vitória, vitória tem minha paixão
Mais em meio da estrada caiu
E na queda uma perna partiu
E a distância saltou-lhe da mão
Sobre a terra o pobre coração
Nesse instante uma voz ecoou
Magoou-se pobre filho meu
Vem buscar-me filho, aqui estou
Vem buscar-me que ainda sou teu!

Translated lyrics:

Said the peasant to his wife
My worshipped one, tell me what you want
For you I’d kill, I’d steal
Even if you make me miserable
I want to show you how much I want you
I praise your eyes, your ways, your way
Only give me an order, I’ll wait
For you it doesn’t matter if I kill or if I die

And then she said playing with the peasant
If your crazy passion for me is real
Leave me now and bring to me
Your mother’s very heart

So the peasant went away
Like a lightning he stroke the road
But his loved one went mad
She fell by the side of the road crying

The peasant returned home
He found his mother praying on her knees
Then he tears her chest
The old woman falls by the altar
He rips her mother’s bleeding heart
And quicky goes back screaming
I did it, I did it, my love

But then on the middle of tthe road he fell,
And at the landing he broke his leg,
And his poor mother’s heart flew away

At this moment a voice roared
My poor son is sad
Come rescue me, son
Come rescue me that I’m still yours

The first Caetano Veloso cut on the album and once again the subject is country life, although in a very dramatic way. I don’t know if this is correct, but maybe you can find some differences between the approaches the guys up North (from Bahia, I’m saying) have and that of the Southeast city guys, like Os Mutantes. Maybe there’s no connection, as Gil, Caetano or any other baiano that became famous that time were peasants themselves, they were very middle class, urban and educated individuals with a strong poetic and artistic inclination. Anyway, it’s cool to see how “country”-themed songs can be written without the songwriter falling into the “rock rural”-The Band thing neither just making a rural psychedelia.

This song prompted me to write about something and I’m already sorry for it, but as I’m a historian, I find it very interesting.

The 60s, as you may know, was a very turbulent decade in modern Brazil history. Its first president, Jânio Quadros, renounced for almost unknown reasons, and he was succeeded by his vice-president, João “Jango” Goulart, which was a much more reformist-inclined president then the former one. Jango was the political godson of Brazilian political legend Leonel Brizola, which exploited (for very good reasons) the political legend of Getúlio Vargas, the main political figure of the first half of the twentieth-century in Brazil. Vargas was nicknamed “father of the poor” and he was very popular because he improved the worker’s conditions (actually, he was the first Brazilian president who gave a thought about it). In the sixties, this conjuncture led to a polarization between the politicians who based themselves on the demands of the workers, and which come close, through Jango’s attempt to establish the reformas de base (structural reforms, like distribution of lands to the peasants), to socialism and communism (at least in the eyes of the opposition), and those politicians who were very conservative and who exploited the fears of the middle class. Needless to say, the almost-socialist guys were also educated urban middle class, just like much of what’s happening in the Arab world right now.

What this all leads us is that until 1964, the date of the Brazilian military coup, the Communist Party enjoyed a huge prestige and it had established the CPC’s (Centro Popular de Cultura, or, Popular Culture Center), which were gatherings that tried to teach workers and mostly peasants about their social condition and how they could improve it and resist it. They were very centered and one must say much of the CPC initiatives assumed a very magisterial tone, but nonetheless they looked upon this often forgotten part of Brazilian population. They also tried to use tradition forms of peasant culture, like autos (one-act theatrical plays) and cordel (the traditional story writing of Northeastern sertão).

What Tropicália tried to achieve was to break away from this magisterial tone and its search of a purity of the so-called popular culture and to assume that Brazil was a modernizing country, with lots of different influences, most of them regarded as bad by the CPC’s (like television and American music) . As I’ve said before, there could only be revolutionary art through a revolutionary form.

This conflict, actually, updates another one from the early Brazilian modernist movement, the one between the anthropophagical appropriation and the search for an authentic Brazilian culture. Funny thing is, the former went to the Communist Party in the 40s, and the latter associated themselves with the right-wing authoritarian movement that appeared the same time. Just to see how things change.

Anyway, it’s this conflict which is behind famous Caetano Veloso’s ranting about it’s forbidden to forbid, as the festivals usually until then favored the guitar-playing guys singing protest or “popular” songs, and not the Tropicália avant-garde.

End of history lesson. Just to relax, now, I must say that that line about the guy ripping his mother’s heart reminded me of the second movie of the Indiana Jones series, and so I’ll finish this post with it!

#22 – Gilberto Gil – Miserere nobis (1968)

from Tropicália, ou Panis et Circensis (Phillips, 1968)

Original lyrics:

Miserere nobis
Ora, ora pro nobis
É no sempre será, ô, iaiá
É no sempre, sempre serão

Já não somos como na chegada
Calados e magros, esperando o jantar
Na borda do prato se limita a janta
As espinhas do peixe de volta pro mar

Miserere nobis
Ora, ora pro nobis
É no sempre será, ô, iaiá
É no sempre, sempre serão

Tomara que um dia de um dia seja
Para todos e sempre a mesma cerveja
Tomara que um dia de um dia não
Para todos e sempre metade do pão

Tomara que um dia de um dia seja
Que seja de linho a toalha da mesa
Tomara que um dia de um dia não
Na mesa da gente tem banana e feijão

Miserere nobis
Ora, ora pro nobis
É no sempre será, ô, iaiá
É no sempre, sempre serão

Já não somos como na chegada
O sol já é claro nas águas quietas do mangue
Derramemos vinho no linho da mesa
Molhada de vinho e manchada de sangue

Miserere nobis
Ora, ora pro nobis
É no sempre será, ô, iaiá
É no sempre, sempre serão

Bê, rê, a – Bra
Zê, i, lê – zil
Fê, u – fu
Zê, i, lê – zil

Ora pro nobis

Translated lyrics:

Miserere nobis
Ora, ora pro nobis
É no sempre será, ô, iaiá
É no sempre, sempre serão

We are not how we were at first
Thin and quiet, waiting for dinner
The supper covers only the plate’s borders
Fish spines back to the sea

Miserere nobis
Ora, ora pro nobis
É no sempre será, ô, iaiá
É no sempre, sempre serão

Let’s hope one day a day will have
To all and always the same beer
Let’s hope one day a day won’t have
To all and always only a slice of bread

Let’s hope one day a day will have
Linen towels covering the tables
Let’s hope one day a day don’t
At our table there’s bean and bananas

Miserere nobis
Ora, ora pro nobis
É no sempre será, ô, iaiá
É no sempre, sempre serão

We are not how we were at first
The sun already shines on the mangue’s quiet water
Let’s pour wine at the table’s linen towels
Drenched in wine and blood stained

Miserere nobis
Ora, ora pro nobis
É no sempre será, ô, iaiá
É no sempre, sempre serão

Bê, rê, a – Bra
Zê, i, lê – zil
Fê, u – fu
Zê, i, lê – zil

Ora pro nobis

And so starts our round-up of the Tropicália album! I won’t speak anything more about it, as it is the most famous thing ever made under the Tropicália banner. So I go directly to the translation.

This is a tricky one, that’s why I decided not to translate the main chorus. In a word-for-word translation that would be just like that:

Miserere nobis,
Ora, ora pro nobs,
It’s how it will always be, ô, iaiá
It’s how it will always, they’ll ever be

I don’t think that’s a satisfying translation, as I can’t keep much of the poetry and rhythm of the original (as it often does on this blog). But the sense would be just like that. In Portuguese there’s no easy way to understand it either, so looking at the lyrics I only must say that it conveys a sense of loss and hopelessness. Once again, the lyrics are much more social and political than the psychedelia around it shows. This, I guess, has to do with what Glauber Rocha once said, in a misquote of Mayakovski, I guess, that without revolutionary form there is no revolutionary art. So, form and content are always related for them!

Just a note or two now. Where I say “slice of bread” the original says “metade do pão”. Metade is the word for half, but I thought that if I translated it for slice it would say more clearly that the subject is poorness and misery.

Afterwards, where it says “there’s bean and banana”, he really says this and not like that banana is a dessert. As you probably know, the Brazilian staple food is arroz e feijão, or rice with beans. It is common, though, in Northeastern and Southeastern Brazilian to mix arroz e feijão with banana. When I first saw this I found it kinda gross, but I must say it’s almost a perfect match.

farinha de muceque com feijão e banana

Finally, even if it looks awkward, I translated “Let’s hope one day a day will have” to keep the poetic word order of the original “Tomara que um dia um dia seja”. I could say more about the translation, but then I guess it would become very academical and boring. So here’s the first album translation.

See you all tomorrow.

PS: I almost forgot. The lyrics are composed by Gilberto Gil and José Carlos Capinam, the latter is also mentioned in Torquato Neto’s piece that I’ve translated yesterday.

PS 2: I haven’t translated the last lines of the lyrics too. The cool thing about they it’s that they form “Brazil fuzil”, which translates as “Rifle brazil”. A subtle message, eh?

#21 – Torquato Neto – Tropicalismo para iniciantes

Hi you all, sorry for being away so long. I have no excuse to give, except that as everyone else I also had a lot of other things to do and couldn’t give this blog the attention it deserves.

As I finished the Brazil 70 Soul Jazz compilation, now I’ll focus on the seminal collaborative album called Tropicália, or Panis et Circensis, which featured none others than Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Os Mutantes, Gal Costa, and all this worked out by the master producer Rogério Duprat, a guy whose recognition will always be less than he deserves.

But as I think that if you came to this blog you already know this albums, I guess I don’t need to speak too much about it. Instead of it, I’ll start work on Tropicalism with the important piece written by Torquato Neto in the very year of 1968 called “Tropicalismo para principiantes”.  I don’t know if it was ever translated into English, but if not,  I think they will increase your knowledge of what Tropicalism is/was about. Hope you enjoy

(“Tropicalismo para principiantes” can be found in its original here)

——————————————————————————————-

Tropicalism for beginners, by Torquato Neto (1968)

A movie called Bonnie & Clyde is making a tremendous success in Europe right now. Its impact is so big that its influence extends to fashion, music, home decoration, cuisine and even the most minute habits people have. The thirties are being lived again. Kwowing very well all this and in search of an authentic Brazilian pop movement, a group of intellectuals comprising movie makers, journalists, songwriters, poets and visual artists located in Rio decided to launch Tropicalism. What is it?

To assume wholeheartedly everything that life in the tropics can give us, with no aesthetic prejudices, without fearing tackiness or bad taste, just living tropicality and its new and yet unknown universe. That’s what it is.

Spokesmen for Tropicalism, by now. Journalist and songwriter Nelson Motta, who published the movement’s first manifesto on an afternoon newspaper in Rio. Also belong to it, among others: Caetano Veloso, Rogério Duarte, Gilberto Gil, Nara Leão, Glauber Rocha, Carlos Diegues, Gustavo Dahl, Antônio Dias, Chico Buarque, Valter Lima Jr. and José Carlos Capinam. Many supporters are being expected from São Paulo, and it is possible that Rogério Duprat, Júlio Medaglia, and many more (such as the brothers Haroldo and Augusto [de Campos], Renato Borghi etc.) may have their applications confirmed immediately. The pope of the movement couldn’t be anyone else but José Celso Martinez Correa; its god: Nelson Rodrigues; its goddess: Vicente Celestino; another goddess: Gilda de Abreu.

Tropicalism, or the tropicalist cruzade, can be launched any day soon in a big party at Copacabana Palace hotel. The pool will be filled with vitórias-régias and the pérgula will be addorned with palm trees of every sort. A new dress code will be established: for men, white satin lined suits with wide open collars and rayon red ties; women should mimick the old Luiza Barreto Leite or Iracema de Alencar figurines. At home, no hip, rustic or colonial decoration. The top decoration items will be padded furniture in gold or wine colors, reproductions of works by Osvaldo Teixeira and Pedro Américo, porcelain and suede, portraits by Vicente Celestino, Emilinha Borba and Cézar de Alencar. No Beatles and no Rolling Stones. And lots of puffs, hundreds of pillows.

Mother’s day, Christmas and Jaguar’s New Year’s Eve will be Tropicalism main celebrations, as the movement demands events and public celebrations. Augusth 25th is an very important day. And nobody will lose September 7th parade. Watching samba schools go through the avenue (in numbered seats) and the City ball are obligatory. Gomes Leal’s vaudevilles, Carlos Machado’s concerts and Mazzaropi’s movies will be the hot topics of the day. Cinerama also. One idol: Wanderley Cardoso; one singer: Marlene; an intellectual: Alcínio Diniz; a poet: J. G. de Araújo Jorge; a TV show: Um Instante, Maestro; a song: “Coração Materno”; one genius: Chacrinha.

And from now on. By the way, Tropicalist leaders announced that the movement is very avant-garde…:

– It’s Brazilian, but it’s also pop.

All this, in the end, is a big joke. The vogue will not last (nor it seems to be made for that), the idols will remain the same – Beatles, Marilyn, Che, Sinatra -, and the true, real Tropicalism is shown. That’s what it wants and this is what is asks: how to worship Godard and Pierrot Le Fou but not accept “Superbacana”? How to regard Fellini as a genius and not think the same of Coffin Joe? Why Mariaaschi Maeschi is more mystical than Arigó?

Tropicalism can answer: because we are a country just like that. Because we hate Tropicalism and feel ashamed of it, we feel ashamed of our underdevelopment, our authentic and most unforgivable tackiness. Seriously.

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Demanding, isn’t it? I think the whole tropicalist movement of assuming something and rejecting it is shown here. That’s antropofagia, once again. And just see how the cultural references are wide. Now, I’ll try to supply some of these references that may not be obvious or well known to someone not from Brazil.

Nelson Motta is writer, journalist and songwriter and general nice guy of the movement. He also hosted the first Brazilian TV program to show video clips, right in the second half of the 70s. He also wrote Noites tropicais, an account of the musical scene from the end of the 50s to the start of the 80s. Rogério Duarte is an artist and graphic designer, he made the covers to Caetano’s and Gil’s first albums and also designed the poster for Glauber Rocha’s Deus e o diabo na terra do Sol. Carlos Diegues, also known as Cacá Diegues, is a film director, his most celebrated movie is Bye Bye Brazil (1979), named after a Chico Buarque song. Walter Lima Jr. is also a film director, member of the Cinema Novo movement. José Carlos Capinam is a poet and early collaborator of the Tropicalist movement.

Júlio Medaglia was one of the most celebrated orchestra arrangers and conductors of its day, having worked in early Brazilian TV. The brothers Haroldo and Augusto de Campos are poets, translators and overall geniuses who helped create the concretist movement in Brazilian poetry and later worked alongside the tropicalist guys. They’ve made everything and they are still amazing. Renato Borghi and José Celso Martinez Corrêa work in theater and especially the last one is a major figure in the creation of an avant-garde Brazilian theater. His montage of Osvalde de Andrade’s O Rei da Vela in the 60s established his name. There is a hell of a recent doc about Zé Celso Martinez which you can find here.

Nelson Rodrigues is Nelson Rodrigues, the playwrighter. Vicente Celestino and Gilda de Abreu were singers and actors from the Golden Age of Radio in Brazil. Luiza Barreto Leite was an actress and theater director and Iracema de Alencar was an actress. Note that none of those theater personalities were highly esteemed by the tropicalists then.

Osvaldo de Oliveira and Pedro Américo were painters, the last one a nineteenth-century painter most esteemed by Brazilian emperor Dom Pedro II. Emilinha Barbosa was also a singer from the Age of Radio and Cezar de Alencar was a radio show host most famous during the 1940s and 50s. Notice here that those names are here because they express kitsch and bad taste.

Gomes Leal was a nineteenth-century Portugues playwrighter whose simple plays were very popular. J. G. de Araújo Jorge was a very bad poet and Mazzaropi was a major comedy movie star in Brazil whose well known caipira persona made him very popular. He’s from the golden age of comedy and chanchadas in Brazilian cinema, mostly because of the Vera Cruz studio, along with Grande Otelo, Oscarito and others. “Um instante maestro” was a radio and then TV show in the 50s and 60s in which the songs were executed and the they were given grades as to the jury liked them or not. Chacrinha was the king of Brazilian TV and Coffin Joe, here in the vernacular Zé do Caixão, is simply Coffin Joe.

Hope you enjoy, I guess you have a lot of homework to do now. But that’s the way it goes with Tropicália. See ya later!