Documentary about Brazil's Tropicalia movement in the 1960s


1 Like

Mmmm. Anthropophagic Abravanista Syncretism.

An anecdote of music, advertising, technology, and copyright.

I have mixed feelings about using popular music in advertising. All too often, advertisers take songs I love and create a mental association of a song+product that infringes on my personal association with a song. Like combining the last classic of free-wheeling rockers with a corporation intent on domination and lockdown.

Tropicalia represents the other, positive, side of the coin for me. In the early years of my Internetting, I was OBSESSED with what I thought was a Jingle that started Intel’s sock-monkey commercial for the P3. After much searching, I found it was Jorge Ben’s wonderful ‘Ponta de Lanca Africano (Umbabarauma)’’

Once knowing the name of the artist, I went in search of a copy of the full song. I found it on a album compiled by … David Byrne. Yes, that David Byrne.

That album, Beleza Tropical, was such a gateway for me, not just to Jorge Ben, but Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, and also Gal Costa, Olodum, and of course Os Mutantes.

My utter fave is Gil and Ben doing a 10-min acoustic jam of “Taj Mahal” (the song where a court determined that [Rod Stewart bit off Ben’s infectious chorus] 10) for “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy.”

Whenever I’m doing some intensive work in the kitchen for a party (like hand-made meatballs), this is the song I start with


I saw this last winter, at the Wexner Center for the Arts in Columbus OH, it was absolutely wonderful. If you have a chance to go to a screening, take it.

I’ve got the same compilation - so very worth the money!


Ponta de Lança Africano is a long time favorite of mine. That guitar!

I admit not knowing as much about good Brazilian music from the last century as I should (being a Brazilian in Brazil), but there sure is a lot to like if you look for it.

1 Like

If you can’t get to the movie theater, Caetano Veloso’s memoir, Tropical Truth: A Story of Music and Revolution in Brazil (NY: Alfred A Knopf, 2002 ISBN 0-375-40788-X) will give you some of the flavor and some of the history of Tropicalia. There was quite a lot going on in Brazil musically, culturally, and politically in the 1960s and 1970s and many of the artists active then are still going strong today. (We miss you, Elis Regina.)

This topic was automatically closed after 5 days. New replies are no longer allowed.