chapter  3
18 Pages

Mangue In The Context Of Brazilian Pop Music History: A Comparison With Other Movements

Brains) speaks of an "energetic circuit" linking local and global traits and ideas. Such a circuit has, in one form or another, been extant in Brazilian popular music ever since its inception. Thus, not surprisingly, mangue shares much with other Brazilian pop music trends before it, but it is also unique in some respects. This chapter examines three of the most important precedents for mangue, beginning with the internationally renowned tropicalia movement, followed by artists and trends specifically in Pernambuco that predate the emergence of mangue, and culminating with the 1980s boom in Brazilian rock. I briefly compare each of these with mangue, attempting to arrive at a notion of mangue's place within the history of Brazilian pop m~ic. Tropicaiia

The tropicalia or tropicalismo (tropicalism) movement of the late 1960s is particularly germane for a comparison with mangue because it represents a pioneering juncture in the history of Brazilian popular music-one which took into account for the first time, and ironically juxtaposed, the range of music that Brazil had "digested" up until that point in its musical bowels. As tropicalia pioneer Caetano Veloso explains:

Indeed, tropictilia, as bossa nova before it, was not destined to be a movement that lagged behind pop music of North America or Europe; instead, it radically reshaped music-making in Brazil and has come to serve as a particularly sophisticated example of cross-cultural syncretism for attuned Western listeners.2 Ironically, a movement that at the time (1967-68) thrust Brazilian music firmly into the modern world-chiefly by assimilating the new global pop and rock On' roll originating in the U.S. and England and fusing this with local styles among other influences-is in the 1990s being rediscovered as hip by U.S. fans, critics, and musicians (see Ratliff 1998, Harvey 2(01). The latter have included Beck, the late Kurt Cobain, and other revered underground bands of the moment (see Ratliff 1998). Such interest is being attended to by the re-release of several important tropictilia-era albums on CD, which reportedly are currently being sold in the thousands in the U.S. (ibid.). As New York Times critic Ben Ratliff notes in a 1998 article, "In a recent trip I took to Chicago, it seemed that all the musicians and critics wanted to talk about Tropicalia" (ibid.). In assessing the myriad influences of Caetano Veloso's song "Baby," the writer asks,

Is all this worship of Americanness fake kitsch or the real thing? It's a double score of beauty and irony that even Beck hasn't topped. This is as modem as pop gets. . . . Despite a few dated psychedelic touches, this music sounds current; it can be appreciated with the same ears that understand the collage mentality of 'Pet Sounds,' De La Soul, the Beastie Boys or Beck. We knew something like this must have existed but had no idea it would be so perfect (ibid.).