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For the song, see Tropicalia (Beck song).

Tropicália, also known as Tropicalismo, is a Brazilian artistic movement that arose in the late 1960s. It encompassed art forms such as theatre, poetry, and music. The movement was characterized by a combination of the popular and the avant-garde, as well as a fusion of traditional Brazilian culture with foreign influences.

Today, Tropicália is chiefly associated with the musical faction of the movement, which merged Brazilian and African rhythms with rock and roll. Musicians who were part of the movement include Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Os Mutantes, Gal Costa, Tom Zé, and the poet/lyricist Torquato Neto, all of whom participated in the 1968 album Tropicália: ou Panis et Circencis, which served as a musical manifesto.


A dominant principle of Tropicália was antropofagia, a type of cultural cannibalism that encouraged the conflation of disparate influences, out of which could be created something unique. The idea was originally put forth by poet Oswald de Andrade in his Manifesto Antropófago, published in 1928, and was developed further by the tropicalistas in the 1960s.

Gildo e Toquinho

Musical movement[edit]

The 1968 album Tropicália: ou Panis et Circencis is regarded as the musical manifesto of the Tropicália movement. Although it was a collaborative project, the main creative forces behind the album were Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil. The album experimented with unusual time signatures and unorthodox song structures, and also mixed tradition with innovation. Politically, the album expressed criticism of the coup d'état of 1964. Key albums of the movement include Os Mutantes, Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa and Caetano Veloso.

In 1969, Veloso and Gil were arrested and imprisoned by the military government over the political content of their work. After two months, the two were released and subsequently forced to seek exile in London, where they lived and resumed their musical careers until they were able to return to Brazil in 1972. Others in the Tropicalismo movement were less fortunate; several underwent torture or were forced into "psychiatric care". One tropicalista, the lyricist and poet Torquato Neto, committed suicide after such treatment.[2]

In 1993, Veloso and Gil released the album Tropicália 2, celebrating 25 years of the movement and commemorating their earlier musical experiments.[3]


Carmen Miranda in 1950. Although initially despised by national intellectuals, Miranda's aesthetic exaggeration and association with a tropical, stereotypical Brazil was embraced by tropicália.

The singer and actress Carmen Miranda, is considered the pioneer of the movement, that would win fitness and strength only in the 1960s.[4]

Tropicalismo been cited as an influence by rock musicians such as David Byrne, Beck, The Bird and the Bee, Arto Lindsay, Devendra Banhart, El Guincho, Of Montreal Acid Call and Nelly Furtado. In 1998, Beck released Mutations, the title of which is a tribute to Os Mutantes. Its hit single, "Tropicalia", reached number 21 on the Billboard Modern Rock singles chart.

In 2002 Caetano Veloso published an account of the Tropicália movement, Tropical Truth: A Story of Music and Revolution in Brazil. The 1999 compilation Tropicália Essentials, featuring songs by Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa, Tom Zé, and Os Mutantes, is an introduction to the style. Other compilations include The Tropicalia Style (1996), Tropicália 30 Años (1997), Tropicalia: Millennium (1999), Tropicalia: Gold (2002), and Novo Millennium: Tropicalia (2005). Yet another compilation, Tropicalia: A Brazilian Revolution In Sound, was released to acclaim in 2006.[5]

A 2012 documentary film, Tropicália, was made on the subject and artists in general; directed by Brazilian filmmaker Marcelo Machado, where Fernando Meirelles served as one of its executive producers.[6]

Further reading[edit]

  • Paula, José Agrippino. "PanAmérica". 2001. Papagaio.
  • McGowan, Chris and Pessanha, Ricardo. "The Brazilian Sound: Samba, Bossa Nova and the Popular Music of Brazil." Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1998 ISBN 1-56639-545-3
  • Dunn, Christopher. Brutality Garden: Tropicália and the Emergence of a Brazilian Counterculture. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2001. ISBN 0-8078-4976-6
  • (Italian) Mei, Giancarlo. Canto Latino: Origine, Evoluzione e Protagonisti della Musica Popolare del Brasile. 2004. Stampa Alternativa-Nuovi Equilibri. Preface by Sergio Bardotti and postface by Milton Nascimento.


  1. ^ "Tropicalia". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved November 7, 2015. 
  2. ^ Staff (2000). "Brazilian Tropicalia". Culture Shock. WGBH. Retrieved 2008-05-16. 
  3. ^ Béhague, Gerard, Gerard. (Spring–Summer 2006). "Rap, Reggae, Rock, or Samba: The Local and the Global in Brazilian Popular Music (1985–95)". Latin American Music Review 27 (1): 79–90. doi:10.1353/lat.2006.0021. 
  4. ^ Carmen Miranda - Tropicália
  5. ^ Staff. "Tropicalia: A Brazilian Revolution In Sound". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-05-16. 
  6. ^

External links[edit]