Listen – Gilberto Gil – Aquele Abraco – MP3
I figured after beginning the week out with a soul stormer, that I’d follow it up with something unusual. I’ll be featuring one side of a 45 here at Funky16Corners and the other side over at Iron Leg.
I’ve been a fan of Brazilian music for as long as I can remember, beginning with bossa nova and moving on to Tropicalia and MPB about ten years ago, when I picked up a Caetano Veloso compilation CD and was blown away by the tunes ‘Tropicalia’ and ‘Superbacana’.
Up to that point, though I had heard of both Veloso and Gilberto Gil, I had no inkling that such a treasure trove of amazing music existed.
I won’t go too deeply into the cultural implications of the Tropicalia/Tropicalismo movement (more on that here), since I’m far from an expert. The short story is that in the midst of an actual revolutionary movement in the Brazil of the mid-to-late 1960s, there was also a musical revolution, in which artists like Veloso, Gil, Gal Costa, Tom Ze, Os Mutantes, Rogerio Duprat, and Nara Leao mixed native Brazilian rhythms, samba, and bossa nova with contemporary pop music, resulting in an absolutely brilliant, often psychedelic sound.
After digesting the Veloso comp, I started nosing around and before long I was ordering expensive Brazilian reissues of albums from the Tropicalia movement, among them the monumental 1967 self-titled LP by Gilbert Gil (the one with ‘Coragem Pra Suportar’ as close to a South American ‘Revolver’ as you’re likely to hear).
Not long after Tropicalia exploded on the scene in Brazil, both Veloso and Gil were arrested, jailed and eventually exiled (temporarily) by the military government. They both recorded albums while living in the UK before returning to Brazil in 1972.
The track I bring you today was Gil’s first real hit in Brazil, and appeared on his 1968 (pre-exile) LP ‘Gilberto Gil’ (aka Cérebro Eletrônico). The first time I heard ‘Aquele Abraco’ I pretty much fell in love with the song (and never thought I’d score a copy of the 45). Gil wrote the tune (the title loosely translated as ‘That Embrace’) as a love song to Brazil, including shout outs to influences like Dorival Caymmi (who came – like Gil – from the state of Bahia and just passed away a few weeks ago) and Joao Gilberto and his contemporary Caetano Veloso. ‘Aquele Abraco’ is an incredibly infectious record, and a great example of the samba-heavy end of the Tropicalia sound. The rest of the LP (and I’d heavily recommend any of his albums from the late 60s/early 70s) runs the gamut from psychedelic pop to electronic experimentation.
Today, Gilberto Gil is something of an elder statesman, serving as a cultural minister in Brazil. He and Veloso both continue to record and perform today.
I hope you dig the track, and make sure you all head over to Iron Leg to check out the much more psychedelic flipside of this 45
I’ll be back before the weekend with a hot new mix for the Labor Day weekend.
*The 45, which I believe is a Chilean issue spells both songs differently than their listings on the ‘Gilberto Gil’ CD reissue, so I decided to defer to the LP spelling, thus the different title in the label scan above.