Friday, September 5, 2008
Gilberto Gil - Gilberto Gil (Frevo Rasgado) 1968
Former political exile and current Brazilian Minister of Culture, Gilberto Gil was also — in the interest of this blog — one of the original tropicalistas. Along with Caetano Veloso, Tom Zé and Gal Costa, Gil was a pioneer of the short-lived, albeit highly influential, Tropicália movement. Gil's second album (subtitled Frevo Rasgado), recorded in 1968 during the height of the protest movement against the recently installed military government, is deceptively upbeat. And while my understanding of Portuguese is very limited, songs like "Marginália II" reference the end of the world and I'm pretty sure "Domingo no Parque" is about someone getting murdered in a park. Anyway, politics and pessimism aside, this album is extremely enjoyable. Gil pulls from all types of sources including, but not limited to, native styles such as bossa nova and samba, as well as ideas gleaned from British psychedelia and good old fashioned American rock'n'roll (check the "Hang on Sloopy" reference in "Pega a Voga, Cabeludo"). The product is ultimately something altogether unique. Os Mutantes also make an appearance on the album, as they often did live (see: "Domingou"). Full of upbeat numbers, there are some slow burners like "Pé da Roseria," as well as the obligatory (yet totally dope) freak out "Questão de Ordem " which foreshadows some of Gil's more experimental work to come. Polyrhythmic percussion— see: "Marginália II", "Ele Falava Nisso Todo Dia" "Procissão" — and some deftly arranged strings (reportedly courtesy of Tropicália's resident composer/arranger Rogério Duprat) are the highlight of this album. Long story short, this joint has become one of my favorite albums if for no other reason than the fact that it's so fun to listen to (see: novel idea). While Gil's next album, Gilberto Gil (Cérebro Eletrônico), may be considered more "psychedelic", it's not (in my opinion) as consistently entertaining as this release.
For those of you interested in the Tropicalismo movement and the conditions that produced it, check out Caetano Veloso's Tropical Truth: A Story of Music and Revolution in Brazil
For those of you interested in YouTube, check out:
Listen to "Domingou":
Download Gilberto Gil (Frevo Rasgado)