Photo by Fernanda NegriniCaetano Veloso is among the most influential and beloved artists to emerge from Brazil. Known there since the 1960s, Veloso has made more than thirty recordings to date and has developed a strong international following.
Born in Santo Amaro, Bahia, in 1942, Caetano Veloso began his professional musical career in 1965 in Sao Paulo. In his first compositions, he drew on the bossa novas of Joao Gilberto, but rapidly began to develop his own distinctive style.
Absorbing musical and aesthetics ideas from sources as diverse as The Beatles, concrete poetry, the French Dadaists and the Brazilian modernist poets of the 1920s, Caetano, together with Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, his sister Maria Bethania and a number of other poets and intellectuals, founded a movement called Tropicalismo.
By experimenting with new sounds and words, adding electric guitars to their bands and utilizing the imagery of modern poetry, Caetano became a musical revolutionary. This short-lived movement, founded in 1968, ended abruptly when Caetano and Gil were briefly imprisoned by the military junta that same year. Both musicians left the country and went into exile for a few years. Veloso lived in London during most of that time.
Now universally credited with redefining what is know as Brazilian music, it laid the groundwork for a renaissance of Brazilian popular music, both at home and abroad. Caetano and Gil returned to Brazil in 1972 and found that Tropicalismo had remained intact and their admirers continued to grow.
Although Tropicalismo set the tone for Caetano’s career, his music had evolved greatly over the years. Incorporating elements of rock, reggae, fado, tango, samba canao, baiao and rap – with lyrics containing some of the best poetry in a musical tradition rich in verse - Caetano’s music is sometimes traditional, sometimes contemporary, often hybrid. At once an astute social commentator and balladeer of highly emotive love songs, Caetano is one of the most respected poets in the Portuguese language. Indeed he is one of only a handful of artists who has resolved how to be musically modern and still undeniably Brazilian.
Veloso followed his 1999 Grammy Award-winning Nonesuch Records’ release Livro, an album which garnered widespread critical acclaim in the US and brought with it his first-ever US tour, with a soundtrack for the Carlos Diegues film Orfeu.
In Spring 2001, Nonesuch released Noites do Norte (Nights of the North), a meditation on themes of race, slavery and Brazil’s quest for a national identity. Caetano recently completed a book on Brazilian music and culture, published in the US by Knopf.
Caetano’s current release is Omaggio a Federico e Giulietta, a live recording made in 1997 in Rimini in honor of two masters of Italian cinema, Federico Fellini and Giulietta Masina.
Caetano’s long-awaited memoir, Tropical Truth: A Story of Music and Revolution in Brazil, was published by Knopf in Fall 2002, alongside the release of a new 2-CD set, Live in Bahia, on Nonesuch Records.
On April of 2004, Caetano Veloso released his first album sung entirely in
A Foreign Sound (Nonesuch Records) reveals the diversity of American
songwriters he has loved and studied over the years, from Irving Berlin, Rodgers
and Hart, and Cole Porter to Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan and David Byrne.
A Foreign Sound, Veloso interprets several songs he
first learned listening to these artists in the early 1960s, including 'So In
Love,' 'Love for Sale,' 'Manhattan,' and 'Body and Soul.' Other songs have
particular significance in the context of Brazilian culture, such as the1970s
hit 'Feelings,' which is widely used to teach English there.
* Caetano E Chico Juntos E Ao Vivo, with Chico Buarque (Philips, 1972))
* Temporada De Verao Ao Vivo Na Bahia, with Gal Costa and Gilberto Gil (Philips, 1974))
Qualquer Coisa (Philips, 1975)Joia (Philips, 1975))
* Os Doces Barbaros, with Maria Bethania, Gal Costa and Caetano Veloso (Philips, 1976))
Muitos Carnavai (Philips, 1977))
Bicho (Philips, 1977))
Muito (Philips, 1978))
* Ao Vivo, with Maria Bethania (Philips, 1978))
Cinema Transcendental (Polygram, 1979))
* Brasil, with Joao Gilberto, Gilberto Gil and Maria Bethania (Philips, 1981))
Outras Palavras (Polygram, 1981))
Cores, Nomes (Polygram, 1982))
Uns (Polygram, 1983))
* Brazil Night Montreaux '83 (1983))
Velo (Philips, 1984))
Caetanear (Philips, 1985))
* Bethania, Caetano e Amigos, with Maria Bethania (Philips, 1985))
* Caetano Veloso (Nonesuch, 1986))
Totalmente Demais (Polygram, 1986))
* Melhores Momentos de Chico e Caetano, with Chico Buarque (Sigla, 1986))
* Caetano (Polygram, 1987))
Estrangeiro (Elektra, 1989))
Sem Lenco Sem Documento (Verve 836 528, 1990))
Circulado (Polygram, 1991))
Circulado - Ao Vivo (Polygram, 1991))
* Tropicalia 2, with Gilberto Gil (Polygram, 1993))
Personalidade, Best of (Verve 514 137, 1993))
Fina Estampa (Polygram Latino 522 745, 1994))
* Fina Estampa - En Vivo (Polygram Latino 528 918, 1995))
Tieta Do Agresta, with Gal Costa (Blue Jackel, 1996))
O Quatrilho (Blue Jackel, 1997))
Livro (Philips, 1998/USA Nonesuch 79557, 1999))
Prenda Minha (Mercury, 1999))
Orfeu (Brazil: Natasha/USA: Nonesuch, 1999))
Omaggio a Federico e Giulietta (Mercury, 1999/Nonesuch 79599))
Noites Do Norte (Universal-Globo, 2000))
Noites Do Norte Ao Vivo (Universal, 2001))
Eu Não Peço Desculpa, with Jorge Mautner (Universal, 2002))
Live in Bahia (Nonesuch Records 79761, 2002))
A Foreign Sound (Nonesuch Records, 2004))
* Onqotô, with Jose Miguel Wisnik (2005))
Caetano Veloso e Roberto Carlos (Sony/BMG 2008))
Zii e Zie (2009))