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Brutality Garden

Tropicália and the Emergence of a Brazilian Counterculture

Christopher Dunn

Publication Year: 2014

In the late 1960s, Brazilian artists forged a watershed cultural movement known as Tropicalia. Music inspired by that movement is today enjoying considerable attention at home and abroad. Few new listeners, however, make the connection between this music and the circumstances surrounding its creation, the most violent and repressive days of the military regime that governed Brazil from 1964 to 1985. With key manifestations in theater, cinema, visual arts, literature, and especially popular music, Tropicalia dynamically articulated the conflicts and aspirations of a generation of young, urban Brazilians.

Focusing on a group of musicians from Bahia, an impoverished state in northeastern Brazil noted for its vibrant Afro-Brazilian culture, Christopher Dunn reveals how artists including Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, and Tom Ze created this movement together with the musical and poetic vanguards of Sao Paulo, Brazil's most modern and industrialized city. He shows how the tropicalists selectively appropriated and parodied cultural practices from Brazil and abroad in order to expose the fissure between their nation's idealized image as a peaceful tropical "garden" and the daily brutality visited upon its citizens.

Published by: The University of North Carolina Press

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi


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p. vii-vii


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p. viii-viii

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pp. ix-xii

I have a vague sense that the remote origins of this book can be traced to amoment in 1985, when I was visiting the home of Peter Blasenheim, my professor of Latin American history at The Colorado College.We spent an evening listening to his favorite Brazilian songs collected during several extended research...


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pp. xiii-xvi

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pp. 1-11

Every cultural complex has specific forms of consecration and adulation for its artistic luminaries. For Brazilian singer-songwriter Caetano Veloso, perhaps the suprememoment of popular andofficial canonization came on February 20, 1998, as he surveyed a crowd of five thousand carnival celebrants in Salvador, Bahia, while he was perched on top of a...

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CHAPTER 1 Poetry for Export: Modernity, Nationality, and Internationalism in Brazilian Culture

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pp. 12-36

One of the most remarkable aspects of the tropicalist movement of the late 1960s was its sustained dialogue with several trends in Brazilian literary and cultural production of the twentieth century. The group of young singer-songwriters and their interlocutors in film, theater, visual arts, and literature responded to...

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CHAPTER 2 Participation, Pop Music, and the Universal Sound

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pp. 37-72

The tropicalist movement coalesced toward the end of a tumultuous decade marked by the intensification of left-wing activism and a reactionary military coup in 1964 aimed at preempting any movement for radical social transformation. Debates over the proper role of the artist in relation to progressive social and political movements oriented much...

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CHAPTER 3 The Tropicalist Moment

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pp. 73-121

Within several months after Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso introduced the ‘‘universal sound’’ at the 1967 festival of TV Record, their music was dubbed ‘‘Tropicalismo’’ in the mainstream press. As noted in the introduction, the name of the movement referenced Veloso’s composition ‘‘Tropicália,’’ which in turntook...

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CHAPTER 4 In the Adverse Hour: Tropicália Performed and Proscribed

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pp. 122-159

To fully appreciate the controversy generated by Tropicália, it is necessary to remember that many mpb artists, particularly the protest singers, maintained an ambivalent, if not antagonistic, relationship with the mass media. Sérgio Ricardo, the artist who was booed off stage at the 1967 TV Record festival, has provided insights into the tension between...

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CHAPTER 5 Tropicália, Counterculture, and Afro-Diasporic Connections

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pp. 160-187

As a collectiveproject,Tropicáliaended inDecember 1968, yet it inspired emerging artists and groups loosely identified with a ‘‘post-tropicalist’’ current in mpb. For the original Bahian group and their allies in Rio and São Paulo, the tropicalist experience continued to orient their work in a diffuse and nonprogrammatic fashion....

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CHAPTER 6 Traces of Tropicália

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pp. 188-214

Throughout the seventies and eighties, the tropicalists remained acutely sensitive to the ongoing transformations and innovations in Brazilian and international musics.Their early experiments with electric instruments and rock music set the stage for a ‘‘boom’’ in Brazilian rock in the 1980s. Their creative appropriation of reggae, disco, soul, juju, and...


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pp. 215-234


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pp. 235-246


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pp. 247-248


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pp. 249-256

E-ISBN-13: 9781469615714
E-ISBN-10: 1469615711
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807826515
Print-ISBN-10: 0807826510

Page Count: 276
Illustrations: 2 line drawings, 1 map
Publication Year: 2014