Monday, February 21, 2005

Learn About Brazilian Music

The craze for Brazilian pop was several years ago, but perhaps you're (a) blissfully out-of-step with the times or (b) your interest in the music has transcended the fad. If so, check out this remarkable site with exhaustive critical discographies of all the major players and styles. It's also filled with commonsensical recommendations about what's good and why. Troll around the site and you're sure to come across something interesting.

I've gravitated toward the Tropicalia section, which details the brief period at the end of the '60s when Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Os Mutantes, and Tom Ze created beautifully plastic and psychedlelic pop that managed to alienate both the country's liberals *and* it's military dictorship. Veloso and Gil were sent into the exile and the others faced house arrest or worse. Everyone's a critic.

Never seen what the fuss was about Veloso (Number Three in the New Dylan Trading Card Series), but this site's thorough description of this early recordings makes me think I may have been too hasty in writing him off. As for the others, I can personally recommend Gil's 1969 self-titled opus, Costa's "India," the Luaka Bop "Os Mutantes" compilation, and especially "The Best of Tom Ze." Jorge Ben also has a killer funk album from the '70s called "Africa Brazil" that's worth tracking down. And that's just the tip of the [insert Brazilian iceberg equivalent here].


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