Firebrand Extraordinaire

Firebrand Extraordinaire

I’m Crazy for You, America
By Liana Alagemovits
Brazilian Press

Trying to describe Caetano Veloso and his work to those unfamiliar with
him is probably like trying to describe the smell and taste of a perfectly
ripe red strawberry to someone who’s never even seen one. Born in the state
of Bahia in 1942 in Santo Amaro da Purificação, Caetano has
always been a bit enigmatic and just slightly beyond easy definition.

Following his sister Maria Bethânia to Rio de Janeiro in the early
1960’s, he quickly achieved fame when she recorded his compositions for
a musical play. João Gilberto heavily influenced his singing, but
it was Caetano’s own extraordinary ability as a composer, which soon earned
him a well-deserved reputation as a provocateur. As a restless intellectual,
he states that "My role is to change people’s minds."

Constantly forging new paths found him at the forefront of the radical
Tropicália movement of the late 1960’s, along with Gilberto Gil,
Gal Costa and Maria Bethânia. This movement mixed foreign elements
with Brazilian music, but was not readily accepted by their nationalistic

The Tropicália movement however affected other aspects of Brazilian
culture and arts as well, influencing theatre, poetry and film. The new
style of music also succeeded in disturbing the military dictatorship who
feared that the movement had too great an influence over Brazilian youth.
Caetano and Gil were both jailed, and subsequently exiled to England for
several years, where they also recorded and performed.

Upon his return to Brazil, Caetano found himself to be considered a
symbol of resistance to the government by many who had not even liked him
during Tropicália. Always ready to defy expectations, Caetano danced
like Carmen Miranda in his first show, shocking the audience with his androgynous
behavior. He continued exploring musical styles, always weaving his inquisitive
words with melodies together in beautiful counterpoint. His albums experimented
with old styles to create new ones, always expanding the possibilities.
Fairly nationalistic in regard to music, Caetano was also responsible for
the comeback of several forgotten Brazilian musicians of the 1960’s like
Luiz Gonzaga. By the 1980’s, Caetano had achieved full popular acceptance,
and his songs were finding their way into other artists’ work. During this
period, his work became more poetic, including his first U.S. album released
in 1987, Caetano Veloso, in which he plays songs from the two previous
decades accompanied only by his acoustic guitar. In 1993, Caetano and Gil
celebrated 25 years of Tropicália and 30 years of friendship with
a world tour and the release of Tropicália 2.

In 1994 Caetano, always seeking self-renovation, undertook a major project
to reaffirm his relationship with Latin American music. Having grown up
listening to the melodies of his parents’ generation in the 1930’s and
1940’s, he put together a collection of music from a period during which
Brazil was more vigorously asserting its latinidade. The result
was Fina Estampa, an album sung entirely in Spanish, which won him
the Prêmio Sharp award as Best Foreign Album. It includes songs and
ballads from famous Latin American composers, which later became classics,
such as the title song "Fina Estampa" by Peruvian Chabuca Grande,
"Vete de Mi" by Argentines Virgilio & Homero Exposito, and
"Tonada de Luna Llena" by Venezuelan Simon Diaz.

South American and European tours followed, and now Caetano is bringing
his show Fina Estampa to the United States for performances in Puerto
Rico, Miami, New York, Boston, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The group
includes longtime Jobim collaborator and cellist Jaques Morelenbaum, guitarist
Luiz Brasil, Zeca Assumpção on bass, and Marcelo Brasil on
percussion/drums, all seated in front of a reproduction of a Diego Rivera
mural, Panamerican Unity, depicting artisans and musicians. The
original fresco is on display at San Francisco’s City College, so it is
fitting that the U.S. tour ends in California before heading to Japan.
The show definitely reaffirms Caetano’s love affair with the Spanish-speaking
world, yet the repertoire includes Gilberto Gil’s "Soy Loco por Ti,
America" as well as enough of his own favorites to satisfy most die-hard
Caetano fans.

Caetano’s US tour

June 16 – Jackie Gleason Theatre, Miami Beach (305)673-7300

June 17 – Caribe Hilton Hotel, San Juan/Puerto Rico

June 21 – Avery Fisher Hall, New York JVC Jazz Festival (212)721-6500

June 22 & 23 – Jordan Hall, Boston (617)536-2412

June 25 – Pantages Theatre, Los Angeles (818)566-1111

June 27 – Masonic Auditorium, San Francisco (415)392-4400


Domingo, Polygram, 1967

Caetano Veloso, Philips, 1968

Tropicália ou Panis et Circensis Gil, Mutantes, Nara,
Gal e Caetano, Polygram, 1968

Caetano Veloso, Philips, 1969

Caetano Veloso, Philips, 1971

Araçá Azul, Philips, 1972

Transa, Philips, 1972

Barra 69 Caetano e Gil ao Vivo na Bahia, Philips, 1972

Caetano e Chico Juntos e ao Vivo, Phonogram, 1972

Temporada de Verão ao Vivo na Bahia – Caetano, Gal, Gil,
Phonogram, 1974

Qualquer Coisa, Philips, 1975

Jóia, Philips, 1975

Doces Bárbaros – Caetano, Gal, Gil, Maria Bethânia,
Two volumes,

Polygram, 1976

Muitos Carnavais, Philips, 1977

Bicho, Philips, 1977

Muito, Philips, 1978

Cinema Transcendental, Polygram, 1979

Brasil – João Gilberto, Caetano, Gil, Phonogram, 1981

Outras Palavras, Polygram, 1981

Cores, Nomes, Polygram, 1982

Uns, Polygram, 1983

Velô, Polygram, 1984

Caetano Veloso, Nonesuch, 1986

Totalmente Demais, Polygram, 1986

Caetano, Polygram, 1987

Melhores Momentos de Chico e Caetano – Chico Buarque, Caetano
Veloso, Jorge Ben, Astor Piazzola, Elza Soares, Beth Carvalho, Paulo Ricardo,
Tom Jobim, Cazuza, Rita Lee and Luiz Caldas, Sigla, 1986

Caetano Veloso Circuladô, Polygram, 1991

Caetano e Gil – Tropicália 2, Polygram, 1993

Fina Estampa ao Vivo, Polygram, 1995

O Leãozinho

Caetano Veloso

Gosto muito de te ver, leãozinho

Caminhando sob o sol

Gosto muito de você, leãozinho

Para desentristecer, leãozinho

O meu coração tão só

Basta eu encontrar você no caminho

Um filhote de leão, raio da manhã

Arastando o meu olhar como um ímã

O meu coração é o sol pai de toda a cor

Quando ele lhe doura a pele ao léu

Gosto de te ver ao sol, leãozinho

De te ver entrar no mar

Tua pele, tua luz, tua juba

Gosto de ficar ao sol, leãozinho

De molhar minha juba

De estar perto de você e entrar numa

The Little Lion

I like to see you very much, little lion

Walking in the sun

I like you very much, little lion.

To make happy, little lion,

My lonely heart

It’s enough to find you along the way

A lion’s cub, a morning shine

Dragging my eyes like a magnet

My heart is the sun, father of all colors

When he tans his skin out in the open

I like to see you in the sun, little lion,

To see you go in the ocean

Your skin, your light, your mane

I like to stay in the sun, little lion,

To wet my mane

To be near you and be cool

Soy Loco por Ti, America

Gilberto Gil/Capinam

Soy loco por ti, America

Yo voy traer una mujer playera

Que su nombre sea Marti

Que su nombre sea Marti

Soy loco por ti de amores

Tenga como colores

La espuma blanca de Latino-America

Y el cielo como bandera

Soy loco por ti, America

Soy loco por ti de amores

Sorriso de quase nuvem

Os rios, canções, o medo

O corpo cheio de estrelas

Com o corpo cheio de estrelas

Como se chama a amante

Esse país sem nome,

Esse tango, esse rancho,

Esse povo

Dizei-me, arde

O fogo de conhecê-la

O fogo de conhecê-la

Soy loco por ti, America

Soy loco por ti de amores

El nombre del hombre muerto

Ya no se puede decirlo,

Quien sabe

Antes que o dia arrebente

Antes que o dia arrebente

El nombre del hombre muerto

Antes que a definitiva noite

Se espalhe em Latino-America

El nombre del hombre es pueblo

El nombre del hombre es pueblo

Soy loco por ti, America

Soy loco por ti de amores

Espero o amanhã que cante

El nombre del hombre muerto

Não sejam palavras tristes

Soy loco por ti de amores

Um poema ainda existe

Com palmeiras, com trincheiras

Canções de guerra, quem sabe

Canções do mar

Ai, hasta te conmover

Ai, hasta te conmover

Soy loco por ti, America

Soy loco por ti de amores

Estou aqui de passagem

Sei que adiante

Um dia vou morrer

De susto, de bala ou vício

De susto, de bala ou vício

Num precipício de luzes

Entre saudades, soluços

Eu vou morrer de bruços

Nos braços, nos olhos

Nos braços de uma mulher

Nos braços de uma mulher

Mais apaixonada ainda

Dentro dos braços da camponesa

Guerrilheira, manequim,

Ai de mim

Nos braços de quem me queira

Nos braços de quem me queira

Soy loco por ti, America

Soy loco por ti de amores

I’m Crazy for You, America

I’m crazy for you, America

I’m will bring a coastal woman

Whose name will be Marti

Whose name will be Marti

I’m crazy for you with love

As with colors

The white foam of Latin America

And the sky as a flag

I’m crazy for you, America

I’m crazy for you, with love

Smile of almost clouds

The rivers, the songs, the fear

The body full of stars

The body full of stars

Like you call the lover

This country with no name,

This tango, this hut

These people

Tell me, it burns

The fire of meeting her

The fire of meeting her

I’m crazy for you, America

I’m crazy for you with love

The name of the dead man

Cannot be said, who knows?

Before the day explodes

Before the day explodes

The name of the dead man

Before the final night ends

It expands in Latin America

The name of the man is people

The name of the man is people

I’m crazy for you, America

I’m crazy for you with love

I wait for the future to sing

The name of the dead man

Not to be sad words

I’m crazy for you with love

A poem still exists

With palm trees, with trenches

War songs, who knows

Ocean songs

Alas, until it touches you

Alas, until it touches you

I’m crazy for you, America

I’m crazy for you with love

I’m here, only passing by

I know later, one day I will die

Scared, shot or addicted

Scared, shot or addicted

In an abyss of lights

Between nostalgia and sorrows

I will die facing down

In the arms, in the eyes

In the arms of a woman

In the arms of a woman

Even more passionate

In the arms of the country warrior

Mannequin, woe is me

In the arms of someone who loves me

In the arms of someone who loves me

I’m crazy for you, America

I’m crazy for you with love

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