Why 70s Brazil was a Hotbed of Musical Genius - Articles - Soundblab

Why 70s Brazil was a Hotbed of Musical Genius

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

Just a couple of weeks ago on Soundblab we were singing the praises of weirdy Italian music show Stryx and reflecting on how YouTube and rest means you can discover, sometimes inadvertently, whole musical wonderlands you never knew existed. Now our world is reverberating to the sounds of psychedelic, sun-stroked 70s Brazil, a long ignored hotbed of utter musical genius.

The realisation seeped in gradually, but the evidence suggests that despite (or perhaps because of) the repression of the era's military dictatorship, diverse, innovative music scenes formed which must have made 1970s Brazil a culturally thrilling place to live. For a start, there was the psychedelic folk scene in Recife, the capital of Pernambuco (collected on the recently released Psychedelic Pernambuco on Mr Bongo) where artists such as Geraldo Azevedo & Alceu Valença mixed everything from The Velvet Underground to John Barry's film scores and musique concrète into music which was melodic and disorientating in equal measure.

Elsewhere, Secos e Molhados ('Dry & Wet') took outrageous glam rock to the masses. Bearing strong traces of Sparks and Roxy Music, and sporting flamboyant get-up that made Kiss look like, well, Kiss without the make-up, they were fronted by the charismatic Ney Matogrosso, whose sky-scraping sopranino made him a star Brazil. Meanwhile, the country's popular tropicália scene mixed traditional Brazilian music and US psychedelia into a trippy, highly sensual proto-disco sound. It's leading light was Gal Costa, whose 1973 album India was censored due to its risqué cover. She later made some unforgettable appearances on Stryx.

So for all you searchers of undiscovered musical gold, here are some clips to whet your appetite. Now get diggin'!

To kick off, here's 'Flores Astrais', a gorgeous Roxy/Sparks-esque track by Secos e Molhados. Matogrosso looks like his mum's made him a Shredder costume. Bless.

And here they are oozing star quality, performing 'Sangue Latino' and 'O Vira'

It's understandably hard to find clips of the Pernambuco scene bands (the authorities cracked down on the scene and many artists had their albums seized and destroyed), but you can hear some fantastic Velvets-influenced folk-rock by Geraldo Azevedo & Alceu Valença here.

To finish, Gal Costa's freaky, sexy performance of 'O Vento' on Stryx

Picture: Secos e Molhados collage by Antonio Guerreiro

Comments (2)

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Love those Geraldo Azevedo & Alceu Valença tracks.

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

I'll have to give you some more of their stuff. I'm listening to them right now, in fact!

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