Saturday, June 14, 2008
Last night, at the art opening, a trio played bossa nova and punk rock, and Jim asked if we knew Os Mutantes.
The psychedelic Brazilian band was an important part of the Tropicalia movement, a 1960s Brazilian art movement that encompassed music, theater, art, and poetry -- a renaissance that flowered until the military government saw them as politically subversive and tried to wipe them out. Tropicalistos were creative experimenters who smashed down walls, and weren't afraid to address social issues; as a result, many were jailed, tortured, and exiled. Founders Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso were incarcerated, then exiled.
Musically, the movement was all over the map. Tropicalistos combined pop, bossa nova, African music, Bahian folk, Portuguese fado, and rock. Os Mutantes ( "The Mutants" in Portuguese) played a particularly bright psychedelic mix. Formed by the Baptista brothers, Arnaldo and Sergio, and lead singer Rita Lee, in 1965, they released many popular albums that showed a love of traditional Brazilian forms as well as the psychedelic music of The Beatles, Hendrix, and Sly and the Family Stone. They met and worked with Gilberto Gil, who got them into the center of the movement. Predictably, they were threatened by the military government but managed to elude those narrow-minded thugs and produce some wild, free, crazy music we still enjoy today.
Os Mutantes went on to influence everyone from David Byrne to Beck. The above clip is the trailer from an upcoming documentary about the group.
Click button to hear A Minha Menina by Os Mutantes