tropicaliaNot just another compilation.  Tropicália, or Tropicalismo, was at once a response to military dictatorship and an attempt to expand Brazilian music by infusing ideas from all parts of the globe, even so far as an attempt to create a ‘universal music.’ This monumental compilation is the work of a like minded collective – radicals that would subvert and forever change the art and politics of Brazil, specifically Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa, Tom Ze, Nara Leao, and Os Mutantes. Leaders of the movement, Gil and Caetano, would be imprisoned and exiled for 4 years because of this record.

You can hear/feel their urgency in the music itself. Despite one’s comprehension of Portuguese, this is music that communicates regardless of the language barrier. It’s a sound to make your eyes drop back in your head and swirl: a stirring blend of American psychedelia, traditional Brazilian music, African popular music, and English pop rock. Taken in by the rhythms and growingly addictive melodies, you will find yourself singing along in pidgin Portuguese before long.

The title of this record translates to “bread and circuses,” a phrase denoting cheap political handouts used to gather support. Makes me imagine the music was probably just an amusing distraction aiming listeners towards some higher cause. Regardless of your interest in the social importance of this record, I suggest you take the handout – it’s unlikely you won’t be carried away with Tropicália’s drama, intensity, stylistic range, and irresistible rhythms.

If you have any interest in the Tropicália movement, which was more recently popularized in the states by artists like Beck and David Byrne, Panis Et Circenses is the place to start. I highly recommend you grab the 4 Men With Beards 180-gram vinyl reissue and spin it loud. Even if you typically balk at compilations, Ou Panis Et Circenses is more — it’s the original and essential Tropicália comp. One that changed the world. words/ b. mcgrath

Previously: Tropicalia :: A Brazilian Revolution in Sound


MP3: Gilberto Gil :: Miserere Nobis
MP3: Os Mutantes :: Panis et Circensis

+ Download DRM free digital music via eMusic’s 25 free MP3 no risk trial offer

4 Responses to “Tropicália: Ou Panis Et Circenses”

  1. It’s unlikely you won’t get carried away? Bad way of saying check it out.

  2. Hi there!
    SFTMCHN, a brazilian duo, just made a mashup of Datarock’s Fa-fa-fa with Mutantes Ando Meio Desligado. You can check it @
    Best regards.

  3. Without doubt, one of the greatest tropicalia albums. It features heavily in this list of the best tropicalia:

  4. […] he found a sleeping giant–Tom Zé, in the late 1960s one of the leaders of Brazil’s Tropicália’s musical arm but whose fame political suppression had then stifled–resulting in the first Petite Planète. […]

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