Mutants, a Kennedy and the Lula: the dictatorship in Brazil has not ended

– back row (left to right): Arnaldo Baptista, Caetano Veloso (holding portrait of bossa nova & MPB singer, Nara Leão), Rita Lee, Sérgio Dias and Tom Zé
– front row (right to left): Torquato Nelo (lyricist-poet), Gal Costa (born Maria da Graça Costa Penna Burgos, somewhat resentfully renamed by Caetano Veloso), Gilberto Gil (holding portrait of José Carlos Capinan (songwriter, poet, writer, advertising agent, doctor), Rogério Duprat (composer & arranger, holding a potty, & producer, in-studio-sound-sculptor – in a George Martin sense)

(if you click on the above image it will take you to the production company working on the Os Mutantes documentary, Bread & Circuses, for which the trailer appears at the bottom of this post)

Sérgio Dias of Os Mutantes (the original backing band to the whole Tropicália resistance movement, which comprised him, his brother, Arnaldo Baptista, and Rita Lee) was interviewed for the sleeve notes for Tropicália: é proibido proibir. [Soul Jazz Records, SJR CD 118, 2005] Asked when the dictatorship ended in Brazil, Sérgio answered:

It didn’t end. Who said it ended?

[laughs] This is bullshit. I met with Ted Kennedy in 1984 in the United States. I was playing there. He invited me to go to his boat and we were in Nantucket. And I though, ‘God, if I’m going to be patriotic, it’s now or never.’ So, I told the guy, I said, ‘Listen, you have to do something about Brazil.’

He got so sober immediately and then, this is 1984, he told me about Lula … He knew the name! ‘This guy, the guy who’s out there, Lula, he will never make it.’

They were watching us! And this guy that is there now, Lula, is not the same Lula that, that I used to know – he’s compromised. And what’s the best way of destroying a people? Give them the power, then show the corruption – which is happening now and it’s destroying Brazilian government top to bottom.

It’s ridiculous. So, that’s very bad. We’re in a very bad situation. But it’s good because it is like this, you know: Something is going to come out of it.