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Introduction to Brazilian Progressive Rock in the 1970s – Context and Discography

Cláudia Souza Nunes de Azevedo and Lauro Wanderley Meller

Cláudia Souza Nunes de Azevedo holds PhD and Master’s degrees in Music from the Program of Post-Graduation in Music/UNIRIO (Federal University of the State of Rio de Janeiro). At the same institution, she was a lecturer on popular music analysis during her post-doctoral research on music ́s meaning. She was a visiting researcher in the Department of Musicology at the University of Oslo (2008), Assistant Editor of IASPM Journal (2010), former board member of ISMMS (International Society for Metal Music Studies) and co-editor of Made in Brazil – Studies in Popular Music (Routledge, 2015). She is currently a member of Música: História, Memória, Acervos [Music: History, Memory, Collections] research group based at UNIRIO.

Lauro Wanderley Meller is Associate professor at the School of Science and Technology, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. PhD in Literature from the Pontifical University of Minas Gerais, with a post-doctoral stay at the Institute of Popular Music, University of Liverpool, UK. Author of Poets or Songsters? A Discussion on Popular Music and Literary Poetry (2015) andIron Maiden: A Journey through History (2018).

In the beginning of the 1970s, Brazil was going through the darkest period of the military dictatorship (1964-1985), which from 1968 onwards hardened its actions against the opponents of the regime. Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, who had masterminded Tropicalia, had been sent to exile in London; protest songs broadcast in music festivals had been silenced, in favour of politically neutral songs; and the idyllic landscapes of Bossa Nova did not fit in this adverse context anymore. Nevertheless, the lesson taught by Tropicalia had resisted, allowing for aesthetic principles hitherto regarded as exclusionary, such as Bossa Nova’s cool singing, the screechy guitar sounds of Jovem Guarda and protest songs to co-exist, blending themselves to concert music, concrete poetry, the “New Cinema” and the fine arts. In the wake of these transformations and new possibilities, the 1970s saw the appearance of Brazilian progressive rock bands, which reconciled the information borrowed from Brazilian counterculture, particularly the tropicalist principle of cultural anthropophagy (a concept formulated by modernist poet Oswald de Andrade) – which made them “swallow” the sounds from the European tradition, mostly from the English psychedelic, hard rock and progressive rock bands, with the limitations imposed by the military dictatorship, both in terms of difficulties to acquire high quality equipment and from an expressive standpoint, i.e., censorship. This paper puts forward an introduction to progressive rock as developed in Brazil in the decade of 1970, and represented by bands such as Os Mutantes, o Terço, Módulo 1000, o Som Nosso de Cada Dia, Som Imaginário, Terreno Baldio, Moto Perpétuo, A Barca do Sol and Veludo among others. Some of them did not begin their careers as progressive acts, some were short-lived and others had a rotation in their line-ups. However, one can point out some common features to all of them, such as the quest for musical and thematic experimentation, with the inclusion of several timbres, technical virtuosity and lyrics which, if not openly political, recycled the hippie ideals of freedom. In order to carry out this research, we considered the bands’ discographies, interviews with the musicians available on the Internet, a survey of the academic production on progressive rock in Brazilian databases – still incipient –, and interviews with fans about their experience in the 1970s.

Musical references

Tudo foi feito pelo sol – Os Mutantes

O “A” e o “Z” – Os Mutantes

Criaturas da Noite – O Terço Casa Encantada – O Terço

Não Fale Com Paredes - Módulo 1000

Snegs - Som Nosso De Cada Dia (Remaster, 2017)

Matança do Porco – Som Imaginário

Terreno Baldio – Terreno Baldio (English Version, 1993)


Moto Perpétuo – Moto Perpétuo

Durante o Verão - A Barca do Sol


Veludo ao Vivo – Veludo


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