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Chico Buarque

Of the early stars of MPB (música popular brasileira), Chico Buarque was one of the first to become a certifiable pop star. With his warm, nasally croon, elegant phrasing, and considerable skill at lyric writing, Buarque (who is handsome to boot) became extremely popular with women, who loved his understated sensuality. However, Buarque was uncomfortable playing the role of pop star, preferring to be seen as a serious artist. Throughout his career, he's managed to have the best of both worlds, but not without some significant bumps along the way. Still, he remains a towering figure in Brazilian pop music, one of the country's greatest singer/songwriters and interpreters of the samba.

Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1944, Buarque spent his early youth in Sao Paulo and Italy. Upon returning to Brazil, Buarque artistic development was greatly enhanced by the friends of his father (the historian Sergio Buarque de Holanda) who were prominent in the early bossa nova movement. Although he immersed himself in music, specifically the new bossa nova sounds of João Gilberto, Buarque decided that a college education was more practical and he decided to study architecture at the University of Sao Paulo. That turned out to be a short-lived career choice and it wasn't long before Buarque was cutting classes and hanging out with Sao Paulo's bossa nova cognoscenti.

Buarque was 21 when his career began to take off. He recorded the single "Pedro Pedreiro," composed music for a theatrical production, and, perhaps most importantly, had three of his compositions recorded by the undisputed queen of bossa nova, Nara Leao. Not an openly polemical performer, Buarque's material did not lack social consciousness, but it did seem stylistically conservative when compared to the late-'60s sounds of the tropicalistas such as Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, and Os Mutantes. Despite the charges of aesthetic conservatism leveled against him (by Gil and Veloso) Buarque took a huge career chance in 1968 writing and scoring a bleak, existential play entitled Roda Viva that was critical of obsessive fan culture. The play's pop star protagonist is torn limb from limb, his flesh consumed by his fans. In a move that sounds lifted from Julian Beck's radical Living Theater, the performers would offer the audience pieces of the dead pop star's flesh to eat (it was chicken meat). Needless to say, with a military dictatorship in power, this was considered extremely controversial stuff and soldiers were sent out to disrupt performances of Roda Viva, which included destroying sets and assaulting performers, Buarque himself was jailed briefly.

After the disaster of Roda Viva, Buarque returned to Italy for a year only to return to Brazil to find most of the stars of tropicalia in exile or severely circumscribed by government censorship. In 1971, he recorded the album Construction which was a decided break from his earlier bossa nova records. This was the start of the second half of Buarque's career, which saw him writing more intense songs with complicated lyrical layers revealing social and political protest. Forced to submit his material to government censors, nearly two-thirds of his work was rejected. And from 1974-1975, the censors approved almost nothing he wrote. On a more positive note, the rift between Buarque, Veloso, and Gil was settled upon their return to Brazil in 1972, and Buarque went on to record with both of them in the mid-'70s. In the '80s, Buarque was given more compositional leeway and recorded some stunning music, along with branching out into other artistic endeavors that included writing plays and novels, as well as scoring films, all of this work consistent with his desire to re-examine Brazil's cultural past, its relationship with the present, and its limitless possibilities for the future. Through the rest of the decade indeed through the end of the century, Buarque continued to record and tour at the amazing pace of roughly a release a year. Some of these included Dança da Meia-Lua in 1988, Para Todos in 1993, 1995's Uma Palavra, and 1997's Terra. Buarque kicked off the 21st century with Cambaio in 2001, followed by a long series of live recordings and concert DVDs. He returned to the studio and released the acclaimed Carioca in 2006. He toured the album, and issued a concert version of it in 2007, then went into retreat and authored his first novel, Leite Derramado. In 2010, Buarque completed a new studio album simply titled Chico; it was released in Brazil in the summer of 2011, and in the fall was released worldwide via DRG.

For nearly 40 years, Chico Buarque has been an artist struggling with pop music and pop stardom. Always challenging, always conscious of cultural history, he remains, deservedly, a towering figure in Brazilian music. ~ John Dougan, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Simplesmente maravilhoso! ! ,
green-thumb2
love you forever!
dougnorman60
LOVE Chico Buarque!
Chico Buarque de Holanda es uno de los iconos de la musica brasileira contemporane a , C h i c o como los grandes artistas y la buena musica,nunca pasan de moda.Lo que es bueno,es bueno siempre y nunca muere.
izadoranyc
Chico is one of those artists that make you think, make you feel,make you happy about music. I love his books too. True artist.
Icone. Icon.
Pride of Brazil, there will be no other Chico. My salutations to you
aurilys
Me encanta!!! love his lyrics
carnival4me
Ah Chico, que saudades do Rio !
pattibou
Beautiful, simply delicious!
Um poeta, acima de tudo um verdadeiro poeta!
Is there a way to download the album "Meus Caros Amigos" ?
gcalvit4
Beautiful lyrics...mus i c from the heart of a poet. My heart drinks it like cool refreshing water. I feel it's invigorating , soothing, inspiring effect somewhere in my soul. Brazilian music resonates perfectly within me. It makes me happy...
ivaldo6
Ron and Karla hit it on the head. Our music is completely manufactured much of the time but we've still got some heart left. Guess we'll work on that underground. Brazilians however seem to shoot straight from the heart almost all of the time and that definitely shines through. Their depth, elegance and strength are incomparable . If we had more exposure and less xenophobia here I think our musical discourse would be much more inclusive. Sad, but... hey guys... we're here on Pandora sharing this.
It's music as it was meant to be: about melody and poetic lyrics, not about the latest trend/noise who sells fast and is fast forgotten.
I like it. Good to hear at work, or at home. Now, I'm at work.
jaliama
good good, and good.
One of the best. The thing about listening to Brazilian music compared to American "music is simple: screaming in 3 octaves or rapping is NOY my idea of music. In other words, we don't have any. But listen to his music or the many other great artists and you hear pure music: memorable, makes you tap your feet, you learn a foreign language and of course like Superbarbosa says: "It's very very good." I couldn't agree more.
Very very good

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