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Caetano Veloso

About this Artist

The concept of “Meu Coco” in the words of Caetano Veloso:

“I often feel like I've done too many songs. Lack of thoroughness? Critical disregard? It might be. The fact is that I have loved popular songs since I was a child, also because of their easy proliferation. Those who enjoy songs enjoy quantity.  Going from the radio when I was a kid, to TV Record and MTV in its early days, to TVZ on the Multishow channel now, I love the multiplicity of small musical pieces sung, even if they look redundant, and chaotic at any given moment. It's been nine years since I released an album of new songs. At the end of 2019, I felt a strong desire to record new material on my own. It all started with a beat on the guitar that seemed to outline something that (if performed as I dreamed) would sound original to any audience anywhere in the world. The song "Meu Coco" was the result of this, and by adding to the outlined beat a melody with the selections of Brazilian women's names, it cut a samba rhythm into simplified and hard cells. I hoped to find the right tone quality to turn this dream riff into a concrete novelty. And I was sure that the rhythm, its sound, and its function would only be definitively embodied if the dancers of the Folkloric Ballet of Bahia created gestures based on what was outlined on the guitar. With that, I would figure out the tone quality and everything else. But 2020 came along, the coronavirus received the name Covid-19, and I was stuck in Rio, postponing my trip to Bahia to talk to the dancers. Would it wait a few months?

Over a year went by and after having composed songs that seemed to be born from "Meu Coco", I needed to start recording in my home studio. I asked Lucas Nunes to start the project. He is very musical and is also capable of using a mixing console. We started with "Meu Coco", of which "Enzo Gabriel" is a kind of peninsula: its theme (its title) was the name most chosen to register Brazilian newborns in the years 2018 and 2019.  As I write new songs, I promise to investigate the reason why, in my generation and even before, the English names of American presidents were chosen by simple and not very literate people, mostly black, to baptize their children: Jefferson, Jackson Washington — as well as Wellington, William, Hudson — were the preferred names of poor, black Brazilian parents. I haven't done anything in this sense yet but having this album ready and being committed to releasing it, leads me to make sure that I will research it as if I were a sociologist. As well as "Anjos Tronchos", a thought-provoking song that addresses the technological wave that has given us laptops, smartphones, and the Internet, it holds me to a promise to read more on the subject.

Each track on the new album has its own intense life. If "Anjos Tronchos" has a similar sonority to “Abraçaço”, the last album I did before this one, "Sem Samba Não Dá" sounds like Pretinho da Serrinha: a samba base played by experts, with the accordion of Mestrinho, which features the fusions of sertanejo music with traditional samba. A quarrel over the (non) uses of the word "você" by the brilliant young fado singer Carminho turned into the mid-Atlantic fado "Você-Você", which she ended up singing with me, and won the sage mandolin of Hamilton de Holanda instead of the Portuguese guitar. "Não Vou Deixar" is a rap-based cell created on piano by Lucas, and its lyrics is a rejection of political oppression, which was written in a conversational love tone. "Pardo", as its title already suggests, is an observation of the use of words in the current discussion of racial matter. It was arranged by Letieres Leite, from Bahia, featuring the percussion of Marcelo Costa, from Rio de Janeiro. "Cobre" is a romantic love song about the color of the skin that competes with the reflection of the sun on the late afternoon sea at Porto da Barra. Jaques Morelenbaum, an incurable romantic, orchestrated it. But he also arranged "Cyclamen of Lebanon," with middle-eastern phrasing sprinkled with Webern. I owe Lucas to my son Tom: they are both in the band Dônica. I owe the attention to new critical perspectives to my son Zeca I owe the intense beauty of the song "GilGal" to my son Moreno: he set the candomblé rhythm so that I could add the melody and lyrics that were already sketched out, but which only came to fruition under the percussion. And I sing it with the extraordinarily talented Dora Morelenbaum. 
This is an album of quantity and intensity. "Autoacalanto" is a portrait of my grandson who is now one year old. Tom, his father, plays guitar with me on the song. The mother ship, "Meu Coco", kept some of the imagined rhythms, now with the percussion of Márcio Vitor. But the orchestral arrangement that brightens it up was created by Thiago Amud, a young creator from Rio de Janeiro whose existence tells all about the veracity of Brazilian love for popular song.” (Caetano Veloso)

Veloso is the Brazilian artist who has won the most awards at the Latin Grammys – a total of thirteen trophies – in addition to having been honored by the academy as “Person of the Year” in 2012. With more than fifty albums available and collaborations in soundtracks for films such as “Hable con Ella” by Pedro Almodovar and “Frida” by Julie Taymor. Veloso is now back with new album “Meu Coco”, which is set to be a journey inside the artist’s head, showing how his brain works while creating his songs.     

About Caetano Veloso:

Bahian singer-songwriter Caetano Veloso is one of the most important musicians in Brazilian Popular Music (MPB). Some even consider him one of the best songwriters of the 20th century, being compared to names like Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, John Lennon, and Paul McCartney. He himself does not consider himself up to the standards of the aforementioned colleagues, nor of his compatriots Milton Nascimento, Gilberto Gil, or Djavan, among others – not to mention Tom Jobim.

Veloso began his career interpreting bossa nova songs, under the influence of João Gilberto, one of the icons and founders of the bossa nova movement and who also collaborated with the musical style that became known as MPB. Veloso’s name became firmly established in the Tropicália movement, which was associated with the counterculture. Brazilian producer, arranger, and writer, the young Veloso participated in semi-amateur shows alongside Tom Zé, his sister Maria Bethânia, Gal Costa, and his partner Gilberto Gil. His first musical work was a soundtrack for the play “A exceção e a regra” (The Exception and the Rule), directed by Álvaro Guimarães in Salvador. His career already succeeded five decades. 

In 1965, the Bahian began his work professionally while accompanying his younger sister Maria Bethânia on her national performances in the Opinião show. Shortly thereafter, he participated in popular music festivals and composed movie soundtracks. He released his first LP in 1967, Domingo, with Gal Costa, the same year he lead the Tropicalismo movement. Veloso is considered one of the most influential Brazilian artists since the 1960s and has been called a post-modern aedo. In 2004, he was considered one of the most respected and productive Latin American musicians in the world, with more than fifty albums available and collaborations in the soundtracks for films such as Pedro Almodovar’s “Hable con Ella” and Julie Taymor's “Frida” – whose track “Burn It Blue”, in collaboration with Lili Downs, competed for “Best Original Song” at the Oscars in 2003. That year’s award ceremony also included a performance by Veloso alongside the Mexican. 

Throughout his career, Veloso has also become one of the most controversial personalities with the greatest force of national opinion. He has won several awards, including 13 Latin and 2 American Grammys, as well as two titles at the 24th edition of the Brazilian Music Awards – one as Best Singer with the CD Abraçaço, in the Pop/Rock/Reggae/Hiphop/Funk category, the same album being awarded in the Best Visual Project category.