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speaking the language of the masses

We were not understood by the ‘intelligentsia’. We were accepted by the masses through the TV festivals. It was there that the movement erupted; because we spoke the language of the masses. This was the strength of the movement of Caetano, these people that that came in and ‘invaded the five thousand loud-speakers’, as he himself put it.

At the instant a revolutionary movement occurs, the process brings with it a thousand imperfections in its belly, a thousand things that sometimes even scandalized us and made us feel like retreating a little, or in other words, made us afraid. It was the price that Tropicalism paid for having to be translated into a language of the masses and become vulgarized. At a certain moment, Torquato was against this. Capinam too, with his ‘buttons always done up’ from the song ‘Clarice’, did not understand the more libertarian significance of Tropicalism’s more erotic and existentialist level. He ended up surrendering to the Communist Party. But our politics were Tropicalism; our prophet, Oswald de Andrade. We wanted to stop being colonized, to follow a thought that had no signposts. A criticism leveled at Tropicalism is that the Beatles were a fundamental beacon. This isn’t true. I think that the essential theme of Tropicalism is not linked in an immediate way to the Beatles. There were many beacons, like João Gilberto, Dorival Caymmi and many others.

That revolution was aborted like almost all revolutions. And many people profiting from it were in a way a negation of Tropicalism’s most creative spirit. Those who got deeper into it or died, or were the principal inventors, even with all the obstacles, continue to raise the flag. This is the case with Caetano, Gil and Tom Zé. The case of Tom Zé is interesting. With him, things happened almost miraculously, because he was parallel to the movement. Tom Zé was a parallel Tropicalist because he’d already started in Bahia, even before the nationwide eruption of the movement, and continued strongly linked through his work.

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