Some Brazilian Musicians

Michael Stuart Kelly

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Some Brazilian Musicians

I came across something this morning that really took me back.

The is the first video by Andy Davis (I looked his name up) doing a kind of video on YouTube that has become popular--reacting to music.

The artist and song he chose are from my time in Brazil. The artist is Elis Regina and the lyrics to the song she is singing is by Belchoir, who was a friend of mine. The clip was produced by TV Globo for the show Fantástico, a variety show of songs, interviews, reports and some news.

Bel and I co-authored a few songs and, also, produced some tracks. Some of our songs were on a record I produced called JJ Jackson. Some of the things we produced become included on the soundtracks of Brazilian primetime novelas. (JJ was an American living in Brazil, not the JJ Jackson of early MTV. Apropos, I used to translate novela as "soap opera" since this was the closest thing in the US, but now there are TV series that are much closer--think things like Breaking Bad or The Good Wife, etc.))

I never met Elis, but had she lived, we would have probably worked together at some point. She died of an overdose when she was 36 and Brazil went into mourning. I was in São Paulo at the time and the whole city shut down.

I have always wanted to post things like Como Nossos Pais on OL, but since it was in Portuguese and the lyrics are really Dylan-esque (Bel was heavily influenced by Bob Dylan at the start of his career), I never saw the point. In fact, I did post this song once before (see here) and, of course, nobody understood it. :) 

Now there is a point. Andy Davis gives a rough translation as he goes along and gushes over Elis in such an intelligent and charming way, he brings both her and the song alive for non-Portuguese speaking people.

Andy is a bit effeminate in his demeanor, but I don't mind. I probably shouldn't even mention it. However, if you are someone who might be turned off by that or whatever, don't be. This guy rocks. His commentary on this song was put up a month ago and it already has over 700,000 views.

The reason I started this thread is to put up some songs by Brazilians I knew--or at least we knew of each other from travelling in the same circles and would probably have worked together at some point had I not melted down into drugs and alcohol. There are some items in Brazilian pop music that are magnificent. So I'm starting with Elis Regina. I will post other things as I go along.

Incidentally, if anyone wants to hear the Elis Regina song without commentary, here it is. As of right now, on YouTube, it has over 33 million views. Believe me, it's worth hearing.

Wonderful. And what a loss...



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As I mentioned, I posted this video a couple of years ago here on OL. I made a few comments back then.

On 6/17/2018 at 12:32 PM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

The shock I received was to learn--just now--that the song's author, Belchior, passed away last year.

Bel and I were partners in several productions and we even wrote some songs together. He wanted me to translate his songs into English, but I didn't feel ready at the time. (Sadly, I now do.)

Damn, that was bad news.

I don't know if you will be able to tell from the recording, but Bel was a huge fan of Bob Dylan and his "talking" style of songwriting. I used to joke with him saying he liked the recitatives much better than the arias. He liked them so much, he raised them to the level of pop songs. 

The message of this song is not very Randian. It's basically this: that after living through all the dreams of us young people who went out to change the world, after everything we've seen, the thing that hurts the most is to realize that, underneath it all, we now live just like our parents did. Nothing has changed.

This message is especially poignant when thinking about Brazilian young people, who lived through, then overcame, the military dictatorship while in the US, there was Woodstock and what followed. There's an interesting story in this that bears following up on one day. (btw - Bel didn't lean left, he was more politically agnostic, but Elis sure as hell was a leftie. She could sing her ass off, though, so I forgive her. :) )

This leads me to think that people with a Randian perspective (and similar) need to learn to make popular art that stirs deep longings as well as the lefties have done over the years. Even in English. For example, I can't listen to Roberta Flack's version of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face"--see here--without going into a deep daydream and state of longing I don't get anywhere else, and the song was written by a friggin' commie, Ewan MacColl.

I've actually got some ideas on this, including the neuroscience behind music, but they're too raw to communicate well so far.

I left the last part in just to keep the thought alive.

MPB (Música Popular Brasileira) is a particular style of Brazilian music as opposed to, say, Samba or Chorinhos or Música Caipira, etc. This was an area I worked in the time I was in Brazil and the lyrics were mostly left-leaning (or about love :) ). But man was it good stuff. As this thread progresses, you will see what I mean.

But to repeat what I said in that quote, we need to go to the musical depths in O-Land that the lefties habitually did.


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