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December 12, 1989 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1989-12-12

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The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, December 12,1989 - Pag641

Caetano Veloso
Estrangeiro
Elektra
The- title track, "Estrangeiro"
(Stranger) embodies the omnipresent
style and satiric flavor of Brazilian
musician, Caetano Veloso. Accom-
panied by Arto Lindsay, Bill Frisell,
Tony Lewis, and Nana Vasconcelos,
Veloso's tune is a sort of dream-
song about Rio's Guanabara Bay
juxtaposed against the riveting beat
of atabaques (drums used in Afro-
Brazilian religion).
Despite the album's title, Veloso
is no stranger to the Brazilian musi-
cal scene. Veloso and singer Gilberto
Gil along with other popular Brazil-
ian musicians were attributed to the
start of Brazil's Tropicalista move-
ment during the late 1960s through
early 1970s - a time of political
turmoil in the country. The move-
ment' s goal was a reevaluation of
traditional Brazilian music and the
incorporation of non-Brazilian music
styles. This movement, along with
Veloso and Gil, was considered sub-
versive and threatening to the Brazil-
ian status quo. The short-lived
movement ended in 1968, but not
before Veloso and Gil were sent to
exile in London until 1972.
For 25 years, Veloso has been
revered as one Brazil's most beloved
contemporary singers and has earned
gold and platinum status in his
country. His recordings have been
available in the U.S. as imports for

a number of years. His first record-
ing, Caetano Veloso, on the Ameri-
can label Elektra Nonesuch, in 1985,
was voted one of the Top Pop Al-
bums of the year by The New York
Times. Veloso was the first Brazil-
ian to record a reggae song in 1972
and on his 1984 album Velo, he paid
tribute to American rappers with the
song "Lingua."
Musically, the album E s -
trangeiro exemplifies mellow,
whimsical musicianship; lyrically,
however, it is pure intellectual stim-
ulation - food for serious, major
thought. At first listen, one might
wonder how music so beautiful
could be so radical. One must hear
Veloso to comprehend the some-
times hidden meaning of his music.
Veloso's album reflects the intel-
lect and absorbed aesthetic ideas from
sources as diverse as The Beatles,
concrete poetry, and the French
Dadaists, to Brazilian modernist po-
ets of the 1920s.
In the song "Outro Retrato,"
Veloso sings: "My music comes
from the music of the poetry/ of
Joao, a poet who doesn't like music/
My poetry comes from the poetry of
the music/ of Joao, a musician who
doesn't like poetry." Here he is refer-
ring to two of his major influences,
Brazilian poet Joao Cabral de Melo
Neto and popular Brazilian singer/
songwriter Joao Gilberto.
Veloso, a cultural hero to his fel-
low Brazilians, gives listeners in-

sight into how to read his songs and
clues to understanding his sophisti-
cation on the light-hearted, beautiful,
"chansonish" bossa, "Branquinha."
He says, "I go against the grain,
sing against the melody." His album
does indeed contain tons of beautiful
poetry, yet not without hard and se-
rious meaning. The tune "Os Outros
Romanticos" documents the lives
and spirit of the thousands of chil-
dren abandoned in Brazil "e foi, e
era, e 2, e serd sim." ("It has been,
it was, it is, and will be yes.")
Back toethe title track. Veloso
says who he really is: "Some may
like a soft Brazilian singer/ But I've
given up all attempts at perfection."
He doesn't have to - he already is.
--Sheala Durant
Kim Mitchell
Rockland
Alert Records (Canada)
As the lead singer of the band
Max Webster, Kim Mitchell was
noted for his energy and humor, and
coined a new genre of music: so-
called "Gonzo Rock." Maybe if he
had kept some of the energy he ex-
pended during Max Webster and on
his first two solo albums, Rockland
could have been better. That is not
to say that it's a horrible album; on
the contrary, it's a good album, but
not up to par with his past work. It
simply lacks something, one of
those intangibles that can happen
when a band takes three years to

Brazilian musician Caetano Veloso, widely admired in his own country, is becoming more and more recognized
in the United States. His newest release in this country, Estrangeiro, is both radical and beautiful. g
record a new album. When asked
why it took so long to record the al-
bum, Mitchell said "attention to de-
tail." In this case, attention to detail
means an album that is so slick in
its production that it loses its edge.
But the basic quality of music is
still here. With lyricist Pye Dubois,
Mitchell has crafted some excellent
songs, most notably "Expedition
Sailor" and "The Crossroads." The
See RECORDS, page 12 £ A - a

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