Brazil’s music is a fusion between African, European and native cultures.
This film looks at the impact of Brazil’s music on its own society and throughout the world.
It borrows the eyes and voice of its greatest songwriter and poet, CAETANO VELOSO.
Since the 60’s, Veloso has remained Brazil’s most dynamic, innovative and polemical artist, influencing younger generations of musicians and always at the vanguard of cultural change in Brazil.
He has been described as “Bob Dylan and John Lennon rolled into one”.
Veloso, along with fellow singer songwriter GILBERTO GIL, who has just been appointed Brazil’s Minister of Culture, talks frankly about the racial problems in Brazil and how music has been a way to help implement changes in their society.
Says Veloso: ‘Brazil is a big black country and the building of Brazil owes so much to the black hand that you can never try to minimise it.
"As a country, as a nation we have the task of solving the African problem, the black man’s problem.
"But if you have the slightest optimism about Brazil all that looks like a blessing, a unique way to make a big historical gesture’.
The two musicians met in the Bahian capital of Salvador and have been lifelong friends and collaborators.
Together they created a movement called ‘Tropicalia’ in the late 60’s, which revolutionised music and culture in Brazil.
The movement had such an impact that they were perceived to be a threat to the military dictatorship, were arrested and forced into temporary exile in London, which allowed them to expose their music to audiences outside Brazil.
‘We were trying to update the Brazilian scene with the new things that were happening in the world and this is what Tropicalia was about.
"It helped to establish this vision, this concept of a cultural, musical melting pot. That was something that Tropicalia brought about so I had to be glad’, says Gil.
This very different, highly colourful and musically led South Bank Show begins at this year’s carnival in Salvador where Veloso and Gil are performing together.
The film explores the impact that the Tropicalia movement had on new music in Brazil and features Afro Reggae and Mart’nália.
Other contributors include musician David Byrne and Brazilian music critic Nelson Motta.