A summer day. Smoke tumbles in the air from mouths of middle-aged men. The heavy smell of tobacco of provides a manly reek in the wind. The sound of Brazilian Tropicalia is playing from a radio and the sound is of staccato moans and cries over a riveting bass line.
Tropicalia brewed from the remnants of the Bossa Nova movement; where the British psychedelic groups and albums influenced musicians. They loved The Beatles Sgt Peppers and Jimi Hendrix. They used Brazilian rhythms, with lyrics poking fun of the military regime that seized power in Brazil.
Sometimes I wish these days we had a far more vicious than the insidiously subtle and ultimately ridiculously ineffectual regime we here in the United States, so that the music and art would have that same edge. Where people would be less victims of the economy and the politicians who strapped us into this rollercoaster. Where there would be a spark and fire. Something definable to fight for.
Instead we float. The victim mentality and soft coddled generation that has developed is irritating.
Imagine a musician causing alarm these days like Caetano Veloso did in Brazil. His song “E Proíbído Proíbír” (It is Forbidden to Forbid) caused such a stir that the government labeled him and Tropicalia movement as a political threat.
No, not just deemed a threat and a file folder was made like John Lennon.
In Brazil, musicians and artists were jailed, tortured and a few even exiled.
The Tropicalia movement lasted one year, yet it left an indelible mark upon Brazil. It is amazing how music and art can be used like a weapon when there is something worth fighting for… and men and women willing to lay it all out there on the line.