Happiness, happiness!

At the end of the 1960s a musical movement emerged in Brazil from the union of a number of artists from Bahia, which also had an impact on poetry, cinema and visual arts. Tropicalismo, also called Tropicália, arose in the context of Brazilian Popular Music Festival, held in 1967 by TV Record.

Tropicália was influenced by pop art, but this one was only interested in incorporating high culture mainly from Europe and the United States, while Tropicalismo sought both the popular and the scholarly cultures; and Concretism, in which there was the combination of words creating language games. The syncretism between various musical styles such as samba, baião, rock, bossa nova and bolero was an innovation brought by Tropicália.

The movement has modernized the music and culture of Brazil, and it influenced Brazilian musical generations for decades to come. However, it was heavily criticized in that time in various perspectives. Tropicalismo, manifested in a period in which the country was under the military dictatorship, did not have the goal of using music as a political protest and thus, those who performed the protest songs were strong critics of the movement, accusing it of being a vague movement, without political commitment. The tropicalists argued that aesthetic musical innovation was already a revolutionary change. Moreover, the artists of this movement received criticism for the use of electric guitars in their songs, because they were considered a negative foreign influence, mainly from American pop-rock culture. The main names of the Tropicália movement are Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Tom Zé, the conductor Rogerio Duprat and the graphic artist, poet and composer Rogerio Duarte, one of its main intellectual mentors.

The military government suppressed the movement by imposing the AI5 (Institutional Act No. 5) more than a year after its outset. The repression of the cultural production pursued any idea contrary to the military, even if it didn’t address political content directly. The end of Tropicalismo began with the arrest of Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso by the military government in December 1968.

Check out one of the top songs of the movement, Alegria, Alegria (Happiness, Happiness) by Caetano Veloso:

Do you know these artists? Have you heard of any Brazilian musical movement?


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