The US men’s national team plays Ghana today in the World Cup. One of the things I love about the World Cup is that countries can’t just draft better players to compete. You have to work with what you have. At times, you may not have players that earn the most money in the world, or are the stars of a league, but when the coach assembles a list of players he looks for one that plays best as a team.
Tropicalismo, in my opinion, similarly, highlights how for a brief moment in its history Brazil had the ability to match or compete with any nation musically and culturally just by banding together their best. From 1966-1969, all the artists listed in this compilation released in 1968 called “Tropicalia: Ou Panis Et Circensis” were at the nascent start of their full musical ascent. For me, Tropicalia is merely the starting point where Brazil started to get its artistic identity. Graffiti, tropical prints and fashion, gauzy experimental films, all were creations that they were manipulating at the same time as their musical artists were cannibalizing all the foreign influences they could. The Beatles/Stones, the Mothers of Invention, Donovan, The VU, and many more were being integrated with the new more Afro-Brazilian music that was getting rediscovered. Close cooperation among each other propelled them to remain current with whatever music was being released out there.
However, such work intensely rocked the cultural boat. Jovem Garda was the approved music of the junta military state and this new music was too revolutionary. Eventually, the military clamped down mightily on these musicians and either forced them into exile or they were forced to subvert the norm in a different way. I won’t touch a lot on Tropicalia only because I believe that for a lot of these artists (and other artists I’ve yet to introduce) their best expressions lay ahead, and not altogether in this moment. However, for some like Os Mutantes this was the only time they captured lightning in a bottle. Together though as a movement, for a brief snapshot in time and space, they banded together and released this mission statement of an album which equalled or bettered anything out there at that time. Hopefully, the US soccer team, playing in the most Brazillian of places (Manaus in the heart of the Amazon) can symbolically do the same.
Further Tropicalia Recommend Listening:
– Vento de Maio (1967) by Nara Leao
– O Bidú: Silêncio no Brooklin (1967) by Jorge Ben
– Gilberto Gil (Cérebro Eletrônico) (1969)
– A banda tropicalista do Duprat (1968) by Rogerio Duprat
– Brazilian Suite (1970) by Rogerio Duprat
– Caetano Veloso (1968)
– Caetano Veloso (1969)
– Mutantes (1969) by Os Mutantes
– A Divina Comédia ou Ando Meio Desligado (1970) by Os Mutantes
– Gal Costa (1969)
– Gal (1969)
– Jorge Ben (1969)
– Mustang côr de sangue (1969) by Marcos Valle
– Nara Leao (1968)
– Tom Ze (1968)
– É Ferro na Boneca (1970) by Novos Baianos
World Cup Prediction of the Day:
Germany v. Portugal: Germany (Winner)
Iran v. Nigeria: Iran (Winner
Ghana v. USA: USA (Winner)