Prentiss Riddle: Music

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A bevy of Brazilian music books

My bookshelf is groaning with books about Brazil, several about Brazilian music. I've started some and finished none -- yet.

Tropical Truth: A Story of Music and Revolution in Brazil by Caetano Veloso is part memoir, part music criticism, part social commentary. It might be maddening to those who want a straightforward structure but is well worth it if you can just let the influential singer speak his mind. Between this book and my finally starting to pay attention to his lyrics, I'm seeing a whole new side to his music. For instance, I knew his gorgeous song "Terra" only by its melody; I didn't know that its text is about his experience seeing the first pictures taken of the earth from space while sitting in a prison cell where he was detained by the Brazilian dictatorship. And Caetano's observations on Brazilian music, which has always been rooted in the local while having ears open to the world, lead to insights into the odd mirror relationship between Brazil and the US -- both vast countries of immense resources, populated by extravagantly diverse waves of immigrants, and yet with such different outcomes.

Bossa Nova: The Story of the Brazilian Music That Seduced the World by Ruy Castro is a colorful and meticulously detailed account of the rise of bossa nova, the jazz-inflected Brazilian musical style which stormed the world in the early 60's and continues to inform so much Brazilian music today. Fascinating but frustrating: it should come with a six-CD box set, or better yet get the full PBS/BBC music documentary treatment. I'm impressed by the natural and witty tone of the translation, despite the very Brazilian subject matter. It's aided by an introduction for US readers which puts bossa nova in its proper Brazilian historical context, a setting very different from the "space age bachelor pad music" niche it assumed on its arrival in North America.

Tropical Truth Bossa Nova Samba Masters of Contemporary Brazilian Song

Two I haven't even cracked yet are Samba by Mexican journalist Alma Guillermoprieto, about the archetypal Brazilian musical form at the root of so much else; and Masters of Contemporary Brazilian Song: MPB, 1965-1985 by UT alum Charles Perrone on the work of Chico Buarque, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Milton Nascimento.

music 2003.12.18 link


I found some excerpts from "Tropical Truth" very enjoyable; anytime you want to holler back about these books is more than fine with me. :-)

George Kelly [george cxe allaboutgeorge punkto com] • 2003.12.19
your blog is brilliant! i found it on google while looking for mosquitos stuff. i am a relatively new gringa bossa nova fan. my favorite bossa nova song ever is aguas de marco. isn't it gorgeous? ahhh...

bonnie [pennbonbon cxe hotmail punkto com] • 2003.12.23
I think that, for Christmas, you should get a book on bamboo.
But your musical acumen is certainly awesome!
Merry ones, Prentiss.

Camilo [camilo cxe confusedkid punkto com] • 2003.12.24
OK, going off-topic a bit, but trolling for suggestions for books on Brazilian history. (Sorry Prentiss.) Figure it's worth a shot; any recommendations?

Lou [lou cxe louisrosenfeld punkto com] • 2003.12.29
I read Verdades Tropicais about a third of the way through and got a little tired of Caetano's narcissism and prolixity, it reads about like liner notes to the posthumous boxed set. But I suspect I'll finish it up one of these days. The guy to read on Brazilian history, btw, is Thomas Skidmore.

colin [iggy cxe hairyeyeball punkto net] • 2003.12.31
Oh, and the person to ask about Brazucomusic? Daniella!

colin [iggy cxe hairyeyeball punkto net] • 2003.12.31
Tom Zé has a new book released in last november, I think. I'm very curious about.

Mina [neuza punkto paranhos cxe uol punkto com punkto br] • 2004.01.27
Ola, I am a brazilian living in Austin. I am a member of the band Ghandaia. I came across your site, and I really like it. I also have a great interest in checking the books you have on brazilian music. They sound great. Also, this next weekend there are many World Music happenings. Perhaps you could post it on your site. Below is the info. Peace & Light to you

This upcoming weekend is all about the GLOBAL MUSICAL EXPERIENCE. Here's the scoop:
Friday Feb. 20th:
--Ghandaia & Atash at the Parish. 
This Friday, two of Austin's finest World Music acts come together once again at The Parish (frmly The Mercury) 214. E. Sixth St. {Upstairs}. The incomparable Atash kicks things off at 10pm. Ghandaia will hit the stage shortly after that around midnite. The last time these groups joined forces was after coming home from their respective summer tours. It was so explosive, it had to be done again.

Saturday, Feb. 21st.
Mardi Gras/Carnaval Celebration. Ruta Maya. w/Sambaxe, Funk Brazil & much more...
Saturday night will be a World Carnaval/Mardi Gras Celebration at South Austin's RUTA MAYA, similar to the New Year's Eve show--only bigger--with an amazing cast of performers: Sambaxé- (Carnaval from Brazil, New Orleans, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Colombia.) Funk Brazil--(w/members of Sambaxe, Ghandaia & Hairy Apes BMX.) Capoeira Evolução (Austins authentic Brazilian Capoeria Troop) Os Acadêmicos da Opera (The Austin Samba School) Knights of Steel (Carnaval from Trinidad)

Thank you for helping support  musicians trying to bring little chunks of the World right to your doorstep. 

Frederico Geib [gfrederico cxe grandecomm punkto net] • 2004.02.17
Those sound like two great shows, Frederico! Wish I could go. I've been trying to catch Ghandaia for some time. Unfortunately I'm tied up this weekend with my kids. Maybe next time. I do watch the Chronicle religiously for Ghandaia listings.

Prentiss Riddle [riddle cxe io punkto com] • 2004.02.17
"Filos de Tropicalista"

What is a Tropicalista without a home
I can't even put a ? on the end of that sentence.

To even ask such a question
is Dark Matter

It is Congueros eating filet mignon,
spaceships stuck in traffic
Barbados suddenly overloaded
with Ganja

Yet I am a Tropicalista
without a home
caught in a vortex.

DJ Hemp Seti • 2006.04.21
"Filos de Tropicalisa" the poem developed from the sound - an accidental reconnecting through Caetano Veloso's Tropical Truth.

But are such things really accidents.

DJ Hemp Seti

DJ Hemp Seti • 2006.04.21

I found your web site while trying to find some information about brazilian fashion...any recomendations?

SpyrosII • 2006.12.06
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