5 – 80’s Brazilian Pop Rock – “two steps from paradise” and democracy

Brazilian Music- five – 80’s Brazilian Pop Rock – May/June 2011 – Issue 27

Brazilian Musical movement of from 1980-1989.

BRAZILIAN MUSIC PART 5 – 80’s Brazilian Pop Rock – “Two steps from paradise” and democracy

The 80’s in Brazil: While the headlines warned about AIDS and the country took its first steps towards democracy  whilst facing the highest inflation rate in its history (85% per month!); the Brazilian urban youth –  sons of the dictatorship, censorship, television and the consumer society – also sought to reinvent their place within this new context. Thus emerged Brazilian Pop Rock: irreverent, uncompromising and free to openly portray their desires and their reality.

By analysing the names of the songs of this period, we can see how this generation, who were accused of being superficial, banal and alienated, were well aware of these accusations but not worried about proving anything to anyone: “You didn’t know how to love me”, “Guess what”, “Coca-Cola generation, ” “Waste of time”, “Useless,” “Rebel without a cause,” “We’ll invade your beach,” “Police”, “Primate human,” ” Gross animals ,” “My fault,” “Boredom,” “Decadence avec elegance”, “ Abandoned grown up,” “Fleeting” and “We are who we can be.” With this attitude, “Almost by contradiction”, its lyrics ended up impressing and some of it’s composers, began to be respected as “poets,” having their songs re-recorded continuously: Renato Russo ( Legião Urbana) and  Cazuza ( Barao Vermelho) – both victims of AIDS;  Arnaldo Antunes (Titas) and Herbert Vianna (Paralamas do Sucesso).

Musically, the main influences were rock, pop, new wave and punk. The “Paralamas do Sucesso” were also highlighted as one of the only bands of the period who successfully mixed rock with other styles such as reggae, ska, African and Latin rhythms; introducing horns to their arrangements.

In 1985, the Brazilian entrepreneur Roberto Medina,  motivated by the potential of the movement, produced the largest Rock Festival of all time, Rock in Rio I, which had an audience of nearly 1.5 million people (equivalent to five times that at Woodstock) . The festival got global media coverage by uniting national icons – such as: Barao Vermelho, Blitz, Eduardo Dusek, Kid Abelha, Lulu Santos, Paralamas do Sucesso, and  Rita Lee – with international stars such as : Queen, AC / DC, Al Jarreau, The B -52 ‘s, George Benson, The Go-Go’s, Iron Maiden, James Taylor, Nina Hagen, Ozzy Osbourne, Rod Stewart, Scorpions, Whitesnake and Yes. However, the only Brazilian  metal band recognized in the international Rock circuit today is Sepultura.

The list of the major artists who gained national prominence includes:

– From Brasilia and Goias: Legião Urbana, Capital Inicial, Plebe Rude, Finis Africae and Leo Jaime.

– From Rio Grande do Sul: Engenheiros do Hawaii and Nenhum de nos.

– From Minas Gerais: 14 Bis and Sepultura.

– From Bahia: Camisa de Venus, led by Marcelo Nova, bringing up again the genius of Raul Seixas (music partner of Paulo Coelho, author of “The Alchemist”).

– From Sao Paulo: Ultrage a Rigor, Ira, Titans, Kid Vinil, Metro, Gang 90, RPM, Radio Taxi, Zero, Kiko Zambianchi and  Rita Lee (ex Os Mutantes).

– From Rio de Janeiro: Blitz, Barao Vermelho, Lobao, Paralamas do Sucesso, Kid Abelha, Sempre Livre, Herva Doce, Absyntho,  Ritchie, Lulu Santos, Eduardo Dusek, Marina, Roupa Nova, Biquini Cavadao, Hojerizah, Inimigos do Rei (with Paulinho Moska), Uns e outros, Herois da Resistencia, Egotrip e Picassos Falsos – whose bassist Jose Henrique Alves, is now an Australian citizen, a member of So Brazil duo, a voice and guitar duo, formed in Perth in 2009, featuring new acoustic versions of 80’s Brazilian and international rock songs. (www.sobrazil.wordpress.com).



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