My friend from Rio sent me a clip of a Brazilian band I had never heard of (something that is hard to do, as I listen to *a lot* of music), and I’m ever so thankful she did!
Quinteto Armorial was an important group from Recife which formed in 1970. They played what can be called Brazilian instrumental music and during their 10 year career, recorded four LPs. The group was brought together by writer Ariano Suassuna in order to have a band that would play erudite chamber music with popular roots and that is exactly what they did when they fused traditional music from the Northeast with classical. The result is fantastic.
Cálice (Chalice) is a song by Chico Buarque and Gilberto Gil, two famous Brazilian singer-songwriters. The song which was written and first sung in 1973 was poetically calling for an end to the Military Dictatorship in Brazil that lasted from 1964-1985. Aside from silencing many voices of the time, it mirrored the brutality of Argentina’s dictatorship, albeit on a slightly smaller scale.
Chico Buarque fled the country from 1969-1970, taking refuge in Italy, where he had lived shortly with his family in the 1950’s. In the video below, Cálice is being sung by Chico and Gil in São Paulo. They were forbidden however from actually singing the “subverse” lyrics, so they did the next best thing and hummed the majority of the song. You can hear the crowd’s reaction whenever the singers dare to recite a line or two. This ultimately results in someone disconnecting Chico’s microphone, to which he is heard protesting towards the end of the song. The second video is the song with its original lyrics, sung by Chico and Milton Nascimento.