Os Mutantes Scheduled To Release ‘Live at the Barbican’

OS MUTANTES LIVE – RECORDED AT THE BARBICAN, LONDON 2006
Double CD/DVD

How did 60s Brazil produce the wildest, most psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll group of them all? And why, three decades on, has the rest of the world gone crazy over them?

As the Daily Telegraph put it “people talk about cult bands, but there should be a separate category for Os
Mutantes, who have had a fanatical following among music lovers for years.”

Their influence has extended far beyond the boundaries of Brazil – Kurt Cobain publicly requested a reunion tour from the trio in 1993, Beck released the experimental album Mutations with the hit song “Tropicalia,” with dozens of other bands including Of Montreal, Super Furry Animals, Devendra Banhardt and The Fiery Furnaces have all flown the flag for Os Mutantes

Against all odds, in May 2006 the band reunited for the first time in over 30 years for a euphoric show at
the Barbican’s Tropicalia Festival. The recording of this historic concert, with special guests Devendra Banhart and Noah Georgeson, is now to be released on CD and DVD by Luaka Bop.

“Light-opera vocal harmonies to fuzz-toned garage stomp, to slow, mock-bluesy rock, to a brief bit of improvised chaos.” -The New York Times

Os Mutantes

In 1964, just as The Beatles were emerging to change the face of pop forever, Brazil came under the power
of a military dictatorship. Making music became a political act and the student left aligned themselves to the Brazilian styles of samba, bossa nova and baiao. Meanwhile, the innovations of The Beatles were firing up three teenagers from Sao Paulo: Sergio Dias, his elder brother Arnaldo Dias Baptista, and Arnaldo’s girlfriend Rita Lee. Not knowing or caring about the political implications of playing rock’n’roll in front of student audiences that believed electric guitars were the tool of the imperialist devils, Os Mutantes was born.

This group of teenagers formed Os Mutantes and along with other Brazilian musicians, helped launch Brazil’s vanguard Tropicalia cultural and political movement in opposition to the military dictatorship that had taken over their country. The Tropicalia movement produced an explosion of new sounds and ideas that continue to reverberate through music and pop culture.

Last year, the Baptista brothers and their longtime drummer Ronaldo Leme reunited for a series of concerts after three decades apart. Vocalist Zalia Duncan and a new generation of backup musicians and singers join the Mutantes. Continuing their reunion tour Os Mutantes (The Mutants) re-creates the elaborate vocal, rock, and chamber-pop arrangements of their albums.

When Os Mutantes performed at Chicago’s Pitchfork Music Festival in July 2006, the Chicago Tribune wrote, “The reunion of these Brazilian psychedelic-rock subversives capped the two-day, 41-band festival. This was not “Girl from Ipanema” bossa nova, but the soundtrack for a UFO sighting, drenched in sarcasm, eccentricity, and multi-part suites that owe as much to Zappa and the Beatles as they do to Jobim.” The newspaper dubbed the group’s appearance one of the top ten live music moments of the year.

An assemblage of the Mutantes’ finest moments is available on Everything Is Possible, which was released in 1999 and will soon receive an expanded Reissue from Luaka Bop in 2008. “We were very technologically
oriented— we had a great exposure to the world culture via friends of my family, NASA. Any kind of research that we heard about, we had to know more!” says Sergio. Os Mutantes feasted on the creative cannibalism that came from the combinations of traditional Brazilian music, American rock and their own unique sound mechanizations. But, their rogue inventiveness and association with the Tropicalists put them under government surveillance for a time. According to the band, “Os Mutantes were a bunch of teenagers politically alienated at the time we met Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso. All we wanted was to have fun with music, no matter how heavy the Brazilian dictatorship was in the middle 60’s.” Still, the trio produced psychedelic gems and Love songs that were light years ahead of their time. Just as their name implies, they are a mutant genetic recombination of John Cage, The Beatles and Bossa Nova: a creature too strange and beautiful to live for very long, but too strong to ever fade away.

The Live album features the best-loved tracks of this legendary group:

DISC 1
1. DON QUIXOTE
2. CAMINHANTE NOTURNO
3. AVE GENGIS KHAN
4. TECNICOLOR
5. VIRGINIA
6. CANTOR DE MAMBO
7. EL JUSTICIERO
8. BABY
9. I’M SORRY BABY
10. TOP TOP
11. DIA 36

DISC 2
1. FUGA Nº II
2. LE PREMIER BONHEUR DU JOUR
3. DOIS MIL E UM
4. AVE LUCIFER
5. BALADA DO LOUCO
6. I FEEL A LITTLE SPACED OUT
7. A HORA E A VEZ DO CABELO NASCER
8. A MINHA MENINA
9. BAT MACUMBA
10. PANIS ET CIRCENSES

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University.

I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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