Chico Science

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Chico Science
Chico Science in 1993.
Chico Science in 1993.
Background information
Birth nameFrancisco de Assis França
Born(1966-03-13)March 13, 1966
Olinda, Pernambuco, Brazil
OriginOlinda, Brazil
DiedFebruary 2, 1997(1997-02-02) (aged 30)
Recife, Pernambuco, Brazil
GenresManguebeat, post-punk, brazilian rock, punk rock
Occupation(s)Singer, songwriter
Years active1980–1997
LabelsSony Music

Francisco de Assis França (March 13, 1966 – February 2, 1997), better known as Chico Science, was a Brazilian singer and composer and one of the founders of the manguebeat cultural movement. He died in a car accident in 1997 in Recife, Pernambuco, at the age of 30.[1]


Francisco de Assis França was born in the Rio Doce neighbourhood of Olinda, Pernambuco, in Brazil's Northeast Region. As a little boy he would sell crabs that he caught himself in the city's mangrove swamps.[2]

He became the lead singer and major creative driving force of the groundbreaking Mangue Bit band called Chico Science & Nação Zumbi (CSNZ). Influenced by such musicians as James Brown, Grandmaster Flash and Kurtis Blow, their music cleverly fused rock, funk, and hip hop with maracatu and other traditional rhythms of Brazil's Northeast. World music critics found his music "original and distinctive of his region."[3] Chico had a powerful stage presence that was compared by some to that of Jimi Hendrix.[who?]

Around 1991, Chico Science, along with singer Fred 04 of the band Mundo Livre S/A, founded the Mangue Bit cultural movement in response to dire economic and cultural stagnation in Recife and Olinda. CSNZ made their US debut at New York's Central Park Summerstage in 1995, opening for Gilberto Gil, with whom he collaborated during the encore. While in NY, they also performed additional shows at CBGB's, SOB's and at Bryant Park as part of the JVC Jazz Festival, on a bill with the Ohio Players.[citation needed]

Chico Science & Nação Zumbi toured several times in Europe and brought massive attention to the new generation of Brazilian artists in the 1990s. With only two full albums released during his lifetime, 'Da Lama Ao Caos' ('From Mud To Chaos) and 'Afrociberdelia', his influence and vision became the foundation to a whole new generation of musicians in Brazil.[citation needed] At the time of his death, The New York Times said he was "widely hailed as the future of Brazilian music."[4] The Governor of the Brazilian state of Pernambuco declared three days of mourning.[4]

In 1996, Chico Science contributed Maracatu Atômico along with Nação Zumbi to the AIDS-Benefit Album Red Hot + Rio produced by the Red Hot Organization. Nação Zumbi have continued to record and tour internationally after Chico's death.[citation needed]


Chico Science died in a car accident on February 2, 1997. He lost control of his Fiat Uno and hit a side light post after another car cut him off. He was rescued alive but he did not survive his injuries.[5] He was buried on February 3 in Cemitério de Santo Amaro located in Recife.[6] 10 years after his death, his family was compensated by Fiat due to a failure in the seatbelt that could have saved his life.[7]


In 2008, Rolling Stone Brasil ranked Chico Science as the 16th greatest Brazilian artist in their list of the 100 greatest artists of all time in Brazilian music



  1. ^ "Chico Science". Cliquemusic (in Portuguese). Archived from the original on October 14, 2009. Retrieved March 28, 2010.
  2. ^ L, Renato. "Biografia". Memorial Chico Science (in Portuguese). Prefeitura da Cidade do Recife. Retrieved March 28, 2010.
  3. ^ Sweeney, Philip (February 12, 1997). "Obituary: Chico Science". The Independent.
  4. ^ a b Pareles, Jon (February 5, 1997). "Chico Science, 30, Brazilian Pop Music Star". The New York Times.
  5. ^ "Chico Science Died in a Car Accident". UOL. Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  6. ^ "Chico Science é enterrado em Recife". Folha Online (in Portuguese). Retrieved March 4, 2020.
  7. ^ "Dez anos após morte, família de Chico Science recebe indenização". Folha Online (in Portuguese). Retrieved December 10, 2021.
  8. ^ Snowder, Don. "Da lama ao caos". AllMusic. Retrieved March 28, 2010.
  9. ^ Snowder, Don. "Afrociberdelia". AllMusic. Retrieved March 28, 2010.
  10. ^ Snowder, Don. "CSNZ". AllMusic. Retrieved March 28, 2010.

Sneed, P. M. (2019). The Coexistentialism of Chico Science and Brazil's Manguebeat. Latin American Research Review, 54(3), 651–664. DOI:

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