Chico Buarque is a Brazilian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and composer. He is one of the most important figures in Brazilian popular music. His career has spanned more than four decades.
Brazilian singer and composer Chico Buarque is one of the most beloved artists in Brazilian popular music. He rose to prominence as a member of Os Mutantes, an influential group that was instrumental in the development of bossa nova during the mid-1960s.
Chico Buarque was one of the first MPB (popular Brazilian music) singers to establish himself as a true pop sensation. Buarque (who is also quite attractive) became very popular with ladies because of his warm, nasally croon, exquisite phrasing, and great talent at lyric composition. Buarque, on the other hand, wanted to be regarded as a serious artist rather than a pop sensation. He’s managed to enjoy the best of both worlds during his career, but not without some major setbacks. He remains, nevertheless, a towering presence in Brazilian pop music, one of the country’s finest singer/songwriters and samba interpreters.
Buarque was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1944 and spent his childhood in Sao Paulo and Italy. Buarque’s creative growth was significantly aided by his father’s (Historian Sergio Buarque de Holanda) acquaintances who were important in the early bossa nova movement when he returned to Brazil. Despite his passion for music, particularly Joo Gilberto’s new bossa nova sounds, Buarque felt that a college degree would be more practical, and he enrolled at the University of Sao Paulo to study architecture. That turned out to be a short-lived professional decision, as Buarque was soon skipping school and hanging out with Sao Paulo’s bossa nova elite.
Buarque’s career took off when he was 21 years old. He released the song “Pedro Pedreiro,” wrote music for a theatrical play, and had three of his works recorded by Nara Leao, the uncontested queen of bossa nova. Buarque’s music was not overtly political, but it was stylistically conservative when contrasted to the late-’60s sounds of the tropicalistas like Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, and Os Mutantes. Despite accusations of artistic conservatism levied against him (by Gil and Veloso), Buarque took a major career risk in 1968 when he wrote and scored Roda Viva, a gloomy, existential drama scathing of fanatical fan culture. The pop star protagonist of the play is ripped limb from limb by his admirers, who eat his flesh. The artists would give the audience chunks of the deceased pop star’s flesh to consume, in a gesture reminiscent of Julian Beck’s controversial Living Theater (it was chicken meat). With a military dictatorship in charge, this was obviously quite contentious, and troops were sent to interrupt Roda Viva concerts, which included damaging sets and assaulting artists; Buarque himself was temporarily imprisoned.
Buarque went to Italy for a year after the Roda Viva tragedy, only to return to Brazil to discover most of the tropicalia stars in exile or severely restricted by government censorship. In 1971, he released the album Construction, which marked a significant departure from his previous bossa nova recordings. This marked the beginning of Buarque’s second half of career, in which he wrote more powerful songs with complex lyrical levels that revealed social and political criticism. When he was forced to submit his work to government censors, almost two-thirds of it was turned down. And the censors accepted virtually nothing he wrote between 1974 and 1975. On a more positive note, when Buarque, Veloso, and Gil returned to Brazil in 1972, their feud was resolved, and Buarque went on to record with both of them in the mid-’70s. Buarque was given more compositional freedom in the 1980s, and he produced some stunning music, as well as branching out into other artistic endeavors such as writing plays and novels, as well as scoring films, all of which were consistent with his desire to re-examine Brazil’s cultural past, present, and limitless future possibilities. Buarque proceeded to record and tour at an incredible rate of approximately one album per year for the remainder of the decade and into the twenty-first century. Dança da Meia-Lua was released in 1988, followed by Para Todos in 1993, Uma Palavra in 1995, and Terra in 1997. Buarque began the twenty-first century with the release of Cambaio in 2001, which was followed by a lengthy string of live albums and concert DVDs. In 2006, he returned to the studio and recorded the critically praised Carioca. He went on tour with the record and released a concert version in 2007, after which he withdrew into seclusion and wrote his first book, Leite Derramado. In 2010, Buarque finished a new studio album named Chico, which was released in Brazil in the summer of 2011 and distributed internationally by DRG in the autumn.
Chico Buarque has struggled with pop music and pop fame for almost four decades. He is rightfully regarded as a towering figure in Brazilian music, since he is constantly challenging and aware of cultural heritage.
Chico Buarque is a Brazilian singer-songwriter and guitarist. He was born in the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil on February 17th, 1938. Reference: chico buarque youtube.
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