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Veloso, Caetano (1949–)

Veloso, Caetano (1949–)

Caetano Veloso (born August 7, 1949) was the principal figure, along with Gilberto Gil, of Tropicalismo, a dada-like late-1960s Brazilian movement of cultural and musical renovation, which included Torquato Neto, Helio Oiticica, José Carlos Capinam, Tom Zé, Gal Costa, and others. As performer, cultural agitator, and composer of numerous songs, including the 1960s classic "Alegria, alegria" (Happiness, happiness, 1967) and Tropicalismo's manifesto "Tropicália" (1968), he and Gil are almost universally credited with redefining the aesthetics of Brazilian popular music by the incorporation of foreign elements such as rock, dismantling existing barriers between popular and "high" culture forms such as concrete poetry, and re-elaborating folk forms.

Veloso was forced into exile by the military government in 1969, probably because he was a prominent proponent of this cultural movement. Since his return to Brazil in 1972, Veloso has continued a prolific career as a singer-songwriter, utilizing genres as diverse as samba, rap, and reggae to produce hybrid compositions with broad popular appeal. "His importance in Brazil," writes the cultural historian Charles Perrone, "can be compared with that of Bob Dylan and John Lennon in the Anglo-American sphere." In 1997 Veloso published his memoirs, which have been translated into several languages. He remains a central figure in Brazilian popular music; his music has received a great deal of attention by scholars worldwide.

See alsoGil, Gilberto; MPB: Música Popular Brasileira; Oiticica, Hélio; Tropicalismo.


Campos, Augusto de. Balanço da Bossa e Outras Bossas, 3rd edition. São Paulo: Editora Perspectiva, 1978.

Dunn, Christopher. Brutality Garden: Tropicália and the Emergence of a Brazilian Counterculture. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001.

Perrone, Charles A. Masters of Contemporary Brazilian Song: MPB 1965–1985. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1989.

Veloso, Caetano. Tropical Truth: A Story of Music and Revolution in Brazil. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.

                                            Robert Myers

                                      Andrew J. Kirkendall

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