By Tony Maiella, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – It is hard to meet a Carioca who hasn’t heard of Chico Buarque. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of knowing his work, Chico (as he is known) is one of the most prolific Carioca singers, lyricists, and composers of his time. Since his first release in 1966, the deep, silky tone of his voice has offered a colorful yet introspective brand of poetry to Musica Popular Brasileira (MPB), and this living legend has a new release due out July 20th.
Part of Chico’s draw has been his role as a political symbol, standing up to harsh censorship in the late sixties and early seventies when Brazil was ruled by a military dictatorship.
His music has broad appeal though, and Scott Feiner, a musician in living in Rio, recalls, “I remember buying Chico’s CD ‘Para Todos’ back when I was still in New York City. I understood very few words in Portuguese back then, but even still I remember being really moved by the title track.”
Feiner continues: “Since he’s not really a true singer, most people talk about his lyrics, but I think there’s a very unique soulfulness in his voice.”
Now after five years, the 67 year-old singer is on the brink of releasing his newest work entitled “Chico.” The album will drop this month and presents songs paying homage to bossa nova and blues with traces of samba. It features co-writers and special guests João Bosco on the track “Sinhá,” Thais Gulin in “Se Eu Soubesse” and Wilson das Neves in “Sou Eu,” as well as a partnership with Ivan Lins.
Recently, Buarque launched an internet-focused campaign Chicobastidores.com (Chico Back-stage) to promote his upcoming release. In an web video posted on his site, Buarque describes his surprise at the how some people use the internet for negative and hateful rants, against him.
Still, Chico takes it all in stride and in the videos opening himself up to the public in a direct way. Though one can see that he feels slightly awkward in some of the videos, it’s part of the charm. Chico explains: “What can you do? Those people are angry. There is a lot of anger. And are you going to get angry over those who are angry? You have to let it go.”
Fernanda Pimenta, an actress living in Rio explains why Chico is so important to Brazilian music: “He sings about love, politics, life, disgraces, and had a very important place in a difficult period of the ‘ditadura militar’.”
Pimenta adds; “He is very authentic and original, writes books and comes from a family of intellectual people, [in Brazil] he is similar to Bob Dylan for his music and politic influences.”
Upon the pre-purchase of his latest disc for R$29.90, the buyer also receives a password that provides them access to exclusive videos on his promotional site along with previews of the music. Regardless of your taste in online content, Chico Buarque has always fought for his right to express himself and share his music.
To find out more about the new release and watch the online video content, see the website: www.chicobastidores.com.br.