Caetano Veloso is a Brazilian rocker who is one of the founding fathers of the Tropicália movement of 1968.
He was born in Santo Amaro da Purifcação, Bahia, Brazil on August 7, 1942. Veloso’s first inspiration was bossa nova legend João Gilberto. You can hear it.
The 1960s produced a global explosion of youthful energy. It was the beginning of rock in our own languages. It was also the beginning of a string of dictatorships in Brazil and across Latin America.
Caetano and others like Gilberto Gil, Os Mutantes and Tom Zé emerged in this time. They were all part of the Tropicália movement which blended external rock and pop influences into Brazilian culture. The signature album of the movement was Tropicália: ou Panis et Circencis (1968).
You couldn’t criticize the military government directly. That meant exile, jail or worse. But you could sing in poetic metaphors and everybody knew exactly what you were singing about. This was Caetano. He was kind of a Brazilian Bob Dylan if you need a comparison.
On a lighter note, I had a Brazilian girlfriend once. We woke up one morning and I put on this music. She started singing along with the voice of a bird. She said it was the music of her father. It was one of those beautiful moments in life that you never forget. I can hear her singing now in that soft bossa nova voice.
“Tudo era apenas uma brincadeira
E foi crescendo, crescendo, me absorvendo
E de repente eu me vi assim completamente seu”
Everything had been only a game
And it was growing, growing, absorbing me
And suddenly, I found myself like this, completely yours
‘Sonhos’ by Peninha (1979), sung by Caetano Veloso (1982)
Whether it’s saying the things that need to be said, but that we are afraid to say, or playing all our heart strings at the same time, Caetano has a special place within us of a certain generation.
Once upon a time in Brazil…
Caetano Veloso Ofertório at BAM
Caetano Veloso brings his legendary Brazilian pop voice to BAM in Fort Greene, Brooklyn on Friday and Saturday, April 12-13, 2019 at 8pm. From $35
Caetano is bringing his three sons on tour. So you have a chance to hear him play with Moreno, Zeca and Tom.
The tour’s title “Ofertório” is a reference to the part of the Catholic mass where bread and wine are placed on the altar and blessed as part of the communion ceremony. The ceremony is a submission to God and a cleansing of sin. So in a poetic way, Caetano is offering us his flesh and his blood and working on his own forgiveness.
No he is not being arrogant, just poetic. The life of an artist is difficult. Many of us do not get to spend much time with our families. So in a way, he is asking for forgiveness of the sins of the father by spending time with his sons. How beautiful is that?
In the Latin world, there is nothing stronger than family. Musical families often have this strange intuition where they can complete each other’s phrases without thinking or missing a beat. This should be a great show.