Tropicalia is not only know as a form of music in Brazil but as a rebellion. Its theme of cultural non conformity was strengthened by the idea that Brazil had lost its way. Tropicalia took a stand against the social and musical hierarchy of Brazil. Though mainly known as a form of Brazilian pop music Tropicalia is deeply rooted in the political and cultural background of Brazil.
In 1967 Caetano Veloso felt that the Brazilian Popular Music after the appearance of Bossa Nova eight years prior had run out of energy and creativity. Velosos’ first idea was to get in contact with some big names in the Brazilian music industry to convince them that Brazilian music was in desperate need of new ideas but to no avail he got little to no support. Veloso then decided to gather a small group of young musicians which encompassed Bahian artists Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa and Tom Zé, the rock band Os Mutantes, poets Torquato Neto and Capinam, and the conductor and orchestral arranger Rogério Duprat, who together would form the nucleus of a new “rebel” movement in Brazilian music (Perrone, Dunn 72-74).
By that point in time the Brazilian music scene was split into two. One side consisted of the traditionalists who were supported by both the conservative establishment as well as the leftist opposition, led by intellectuals, the cultural elite and students. They opposed all foreign influences on Brazilian music. Most artists at the time either supported or followed the “rules” set by the traditionalists. On the other side were those who were fans of English and American music (Perrone, Dunn 96-97).
Contrary to the traditionalists who dominated the Brazilian music scene, Veloso and his friends wanted to “universalize” and modernize Brazilian music, by opening it up to foreign influences. Not by copying the English and American rock and pop, but by incorporating foreign music into the Brazilian music tradition, therefore creating something completely new. Brazil is a country which was built up as a mixture of people and cultures from virtually all corners of the world. Because of this Caetano proposed the new movement to be called “Som Livre” or “Som Universal”, meaning “Free Sound” or “Universal Sound”. However, before any of these proposed names became known to the public, the media had coined the term tropicalismo, to describe the musical activities of Caetano and his friends, they soon became known all over Brazil as tropicalistas (Veloso 3-4).
The tropicalistas wanted to describe Brazilian society the way they saw it and their own aesthetics drew much inspiration from the enormous contrast of Brazilian culture and the obvious contradiction of Brazilian society (Veloso 5). Brazil was and still is a country where the wealthiest live side by side to the poorest of the poor, conservative traditions exist side by side with extreme liberals, extreme beauty with grotesque ugliness. In an attempt to join these elements together the tropicalistas adopted many musical...