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Três trópicos da tropicália

when in doubt, run

Thanks to Nemésio Salles, I was hired for thirty cruzeiros a month to work with the poet José Carlos Capinam and direct the Music Department of the CPC (Center for Popular Culture, a nucleus for artistic activities organized by the university’s left-wing). Capinam, Emanoel Araújo, Geraldo Fidélis Sarno, myself and many friends did a lot different things: we sang at schools, at unions, at festivities in the city of Salvador. I remember that at a strike by bank workers, we lived at the union headquarters for three weeks. To motivate the protesters, we wrote songs about their demands; they were sung at the picket lines. We did shows daily, in the afternoons and evenings. Fidélis Sarno and Capinam wrote a puppet play, with puppets made by Emanoel Araújo, for which I wrote the music, and we performed at the union and anywhere else where the movement was in action.

Some of these songs became part of my first single on RCA in 1965, and my first album, Grande Liquidação (Big Sale), in ‘68.

But back in ‘61, before going to the music school, Orlando Senna managed to get a show for Gil, Caetano and me. We began to perform together. Despite this, I would spend seven years without writing a song, but studying music instead. I would only write popular music again in 1968.

From ‘68 to ‘73 I struggled to adapt to the simple A-B-A format of popular songs, that is, 1st part, 2nd part, 1st part. After 1961 I only returned to what I really call composition in ‘73, with TomZéTodososOlhos (TomZéAllEyes), on Continental, a warm-up for Estudando o Samba (Studying Samba), recorded in 1976.

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Três trópicos da tropicália