Tropicália

I’m standing at the entrance of the  room checking Caetano Veloso get on stage for the technical rehearsal of this evening’s show. And this is actually happening. Tropicália, one of the founding songs of the movement, echoes in the empty room and Caetano’s voice seems to hold me in a hug.

I grew up listening to Brazilian music, not specifically to Caetano whose music I only discovered in my 20s,  but to the amazing voices of Elis Regina, to the powerful words of Chico Buarque and the outrageous performances of Ney Matogrosso. That music, those words,  have functioned as my citizenship, like a deeper connection to a language that even though it’s my native language, I have never managed to master in an elegant way but could, none the less, substitute my passport.

I was not born in 1967, my generation didn’t actually have to create a revolution, we were born in the aftermath of insurrection and before red carnations took to the streets.

Brazil, a country I traveled to for the first time when I was 9, meant as a cliché, samba, beach and a carefree existence. Caetano’s songs showed me something else. A country that can hold the entire world in both its glory and its misery. I started paying attention to the music that makes you want to get up and celebrate life through dancing and to the words that make you stand still and think. Last time I was in Brazil was in 2000 while the celebrations for its 500 years of postcolonial history were underway. Walking through the streets of Salvador all the way up to a candomblé house made me feel thankful for paying attention. That’s where the music materialized itself, in the Roma Negra.

From Porto Seguro and Salvador, the journey ended in Rio de Janeiro and I could still hear the words, who hasn’t felt the swing of Henri Salvador. We were staying in Copacabana and took the bus to the Flamengo neighborhood to see the Carmen Miranda Museum on an amazing journey through scandalous platform shoes and outrageous costumes and jewelry. A dream closet. In all her esthetic exaggeration, the adopted icon of tropicalism was a true precursor, taking it all in, who she was, who others thought she was, Europe, America and the tropics in one flamboyant persona.

Oswald’s anthropophagy, the solution to the problem of identity, the antidote to having your mind chained to labels and to grim  values of behavior and morality. Thoroughly thought anarchy and cultural eclecticism, helas, flamboyance as a beautiful form of resistance.

Movements become dated and even our music heroes get old but this evening, the Coliseu sang Tieta to the ones that still shine brighter than a million suns and Gilberto Gil, all dressed in white, danced. And I have no films, photos or recordings and yet it will be registered forever.

References

Photo cover to Tropicália ou Panis et Circencis by Mário de Andrade

Reconvexo

Luz de Tieta

Author: dreamingofmelville

I have watched too many movies for my own good, I have an absolute passion for clothes and an immense hunger for life and wanting to just take it all in. My closet (s) is a mirror of my current self, my former self (selves) my personal movies, my plans for extreme style makeovers and all the characters I did not get to play. I'm trying to tell the story of who I am, who I was and of who I will (most probably) not become one error at a time. These are the mistakes that make up my Closet of Errors. They are all intentional mistakes and part of of various attempts at writing my own story, at creating personas, at playing with possibilities. As most of our mistakes have consequences, so did my errors. I have no more space for all of them and while not having a minimalist, capsule wardrobe approach to life, I need to make space for a whole new set of errors. I hope you find some errors to identify and experiment with so I can share the story and intention behind them and see them transform into new narratives. The name of this blog (and of my shop) is a little twist on Shakespeare's "The Comedy of Errors" because this is also a story of mistaken identities

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