CAETANO VELOSO – Bicho (1977)

Review by: Alex Alex
Album assigned by: Viudas Tormo

Let me dance
For when I dance my body becomes calm
And my face
And my head
Become calm
And the world becomes beautiful
Beautiful necklace of rare gems
Let me dance and sing
So that everything one can dream of
Comes to existence

Thanks, Google Translator, I don’t know any Portuguese but I think those lyrics are fucking beautiful.

The song is “Odara” from the Caetano Veloso “Bicho” (“The Beast”) album. “Odara” means, as far as I was able to understand it, “supreme beauty”. In the song the singer and the world all become “Odara” – but I decided to omit the word itself from my robots-aided translation – for the sake of clarity.

Seeing that the lyrics are both quite deep and simple at the same time (which simply means  they are done professionally) we can assume – and we happen to be right in our assumption – that the singer himself is a person respected, recognized and influential. Indeed, Senhor Caetano is a respected founder of the “Tropicalismo” movement which can be described as…

Hilarious. I can now give up on writing a good review, successfully hiding the fact that I can not really write a good one, because “Tropicalismo” sounds so fucking hilarious to my ears. I do not know how it sounds to all the educated Brazilians, sons and daughters of military men, rich and beautiful as we used to see them here on the Russian Central TV before the Russian Central TV has crafted its own “TV series”, rich and beautiful and surely “tropicalistic” Brazilians and yet I laugh at this album as much as my mom was laughing at the Brazilian TV series after crying a good deal first.

Because the language is not universal. The emotions are universal, but the language is not. I love every word the man is singing and this is all good and dazzlingly profound. Yet all the time I’m perfectly aware that he is singing in Portuguese, accompanied by melodies distinctly eh.. “tropicalistic” – and this somewhat diminishes the grandeur of things. Here we have – 4 F today – Nature, doomed as she is, still stands and fights heroically, trying to freeze the linguistic monster, mistakenly thinking she has recognized his weak spots by means of The Google Translate.

Language has no weak spots. The “auteurs” shall pass for they mistake the insignificant for significant, for they are already being dragged, wailing and bloody, behind the awful language-agnostic shining binary creature who gains the speed and cunningly avoids all the Google Translator traps. To put it simpler, I do not need no Brazilian singer-songwriters to explain what they want so “tropicalistically”  explain to me – for I have always known it all. I know it as every human being knows it and I knew it all long before it was named.

Many people still think the things were named so that people know the things. The tragedy of auteurs is only beginning to show. In a better world, in a world that would have had stopped half-way towards its falling into the mouth of Satan, I would have never heard that album. We have the same things here, seeming much less comic to us because they are specifically designed to be used in a freezing winter we here have. For a moment we all think that if we dance and sing then we communicate and something arises in which we all become one.

Something does arise but we are not a part of it.

Author: tomymostalas


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