The release Red Hot + Rio 2 is fast approaching and everyone at the office is getting really excited. I’ve been listening to 1960s Brazilian music all day and figured I’d post about the Tropicália movement.
In 1964, Brazilian Armed Forces executed a coup d’état to remove João Goulart, or Jango, from power. The result was the instatement of a military government that promised Brazil a bright future.
Naturally, the people of Brazil were less than thrilled by the idea of a controlled military regime, so, in 1968 an all-star group of musicians released Tropicália: ou Panis et Circencis. This historical album features Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Tom Zé, Os Mutantes, and other heroes of Brazilian music. (Tracks from the album including “Panis et Circencis”, “Baby”, and “Bat Macumba” are covered on RH+Rio 2!)
The emergence of Tropicália was the ultimate counter-cultural statement. The artists invented new lyrical and musical styles that inspired the people of Brazil comparatively to the effect of American protest songs written during the Viet Nam War.
Tropicália: ou Panis et Circencis is considered the Tropicália Manifesto and is listed as #2 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 greatest Brazilian albums of all time. (#1 went to Novos Baianos – Acabou Chorare, whose title track is also covered on RH+Rio2!)
A year after the release of Tropicália: ou Panis et Circencis, Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, leaders of the movement, were exiled to London. The movement was short-lived, but its message has continued to resonate throughout Brazil.
Though the Tropicália movement did not effectively bring down the military regime, it is still celebrated because it managed to give the people of Brazil a sense of identity during a period of uncertainty…and it produced some kick-ass tunes.