Saturday, 29 December 2012


Weak culture brings disadvantages. People had difficult to know their own culture, and had so less notions to learn other cultural expressions. It makes easy to the great media power to release pretender novelties which shows the other tricks with new varnish.

In last December 21st, the 89 FM from São Paulo returned the original orientation released at the end of 1985 and popularized in the 90s. The 89 FM, although has known as "A Rádio Rock", words included on the radio logomark, was not a real rock'n'roll station, adopting doubtful procedures that was very near to the conventional dancing pop stations.

The 89 FM started as a changed name from the former Pool FM station, released in the 89,1 mhz from the São Paulo FM radio band. In December 02, Pool was replaced by the "89 FM A Rádio Rock" station, officially announced as a great alternative radio station with a strong commercial department.

There will be a great notice, if 89 FM had not adopted the pop stations standards to the schedule and speaking. The 89 DJs speakes like pop dance broadcasters, and the music playlist is limited in quantity and quality, as usually we see on hit-parade powerful stations.

It makes the 89 FM very weak and powerless to be a real rock station. And Brazil had so better rock'n'roll stations, as Fluminense FM on Niterói city and 97 Rock on the Santo André, a city from the Great São Paulo region, in the 80s.

The original rock radio stations had different style of locution, schedule and mentality. Fluminense and 97 Rock avoided to adopt pop languages and their youngster languages were so careful enough to not being silly. The two radio stations had no foolish speakers in their golden times and the playlist didn't limited to work the hit-parade method to play only 60 commercial hits at all the time.

But the 89 FM station, even in its better times, was always inclined to do hit-parade method. The radio started assuming a position contrary to the original rock radio stations: to inspire explicitally from the Music Television (MTV) language and mentality.

In first years, the 89 FM adopted the "anti-radio" formula which was nothing than a loose imitation of the original Fluminense FM style, but adapted to the commercial demands. 89 FM started playing in its music repertory some rock classic songs and some alternative and indie rock songs.

But in the 90s, 89 FM became a mere hit-parade station dedicated to rock music. The 89 FM station had never a rock'n'roll state of spirit, being just a simple broadcasting jukebox playing rock'n'roll greatest hits and much of commercial artists worksongs.

The playlist emphasis works on some greatest hits of the very popular rock'n'roll artists, as Iron Maiden, Pink Floyd (only the progressive years), Ozzy Osbourne and U2, grunge artists and derivatives as Alice In Chains, Queens Of The Stone Age and Foo Fighters, and commercial rock'n'roll staff as Guns N'Roses, Mötley Crüe, Presidents of the USA, Bloodhound Gang and Alice Cooper.

The authentic rock'n'roll brazilian fans and specialists didn't like the 89 FM profile. But the press media and Brasil Rock musicians accepted this profile for benefit to commercial success the radio station can develop in Brazil.

Lots of complaints from rock'n'roll brazilian specialists pulled down the pretending rock'n'roll schedule of 89 FM station. In some years, the 89 became a simple teen pop station, playing entertainers like Britney Spears, Beyoncé Knowles and One Direction. But business interests looking for the international gig industry in Brazil made the alleged "A Rádio Rock" to return to be on the air.

Despite the exaggerated praise and positive comments being so unfounded and out of reality, the 89 FM return had not meant a great rock'n'roll station rising on Brazil. In contrary, the 89 FM came back keeping the same hit-parade playlist and teeny pop language which make the station so far to be a real rock'n'roll station.

From the patterns of Brazilian people's misinformation, the 89 FM seems a great rock'n'roll station. But, from the worldwide patterns of rock'n'roll radio working, 89 FM sounds so fake and parodic. 89 FM is not meant to be the best rock'n'roll station of the world.

Saturday, 22 December 2012



By Alexandre Figueiredo

"Quem não gosta de samba / Bom sujeito não é / É ruim da cabeça / Ou doente do pé" ("Who doesn't like samba / Is not a good guy / Has a bad brain / And is sick from feet", in a approximate translation) ("O Samba da Minha Terra", Dorival Caymmi).

These lyrics from Bahia's composer Dorival Caymmi, that north american and british people knew by Bossa Nova's artist João Gilberto's version, is from a famous samba song, recognized in Brazil as an definitive manifesto of a true samba admirer. It means that a good samba admirer is a person can be dance and feel emotions relationed to the samba rhythm and melodies.

But the samba music, recognized by IPHAN's patrimony brazilian intitution as a cultural patrimony, is threaten by a violent dillution, which is formally identified to this rhythm, but it works to eliminate its essence as music and culture.

Called by the entertainment brazilian market as "pagode romântico" ou "samba pop", this rhythm can be called "sambrega", because this samba dillution makes the rhythm near to the musical mediocrity from the "brega" music, specially from the Odair José's songs influences.

The sambrega music was rised guided by the breganejo assemption (Chitãozinho & Xororó - aka José & Durval - , Leandro & Leonardo and others), as an sambist equivalent of the rural music dillution. It happened in early 1990s, when groups as Raça Negra got the radio playlist success.


But its origins refers to the first samba dillution made in Brazil. The "Sambão-Joia" was released in the late 1960s by singers and musicians who resemble as a samba version from well-behaved teen stars from the 50s and 60s like Paul Anka, Bobby Darin and Neil Sedaka.

The Sambão-Joia stars were Benito di Paula, Luís Ayrão, Luís Américo and Wando, and their music sounds like a quite corny version of the Sambalanço music. The Sambalanço was a mixture of samba, early rock'n'roll music, rhythm and blues and soul, and its main artists were Jorge Ben Jor, Orlandivo, Ed Lincoln, Banda Black Rio, Originais do Samba and Elza Soares.

By other way, the Sambão-Joia music derived from the Jovem Guarda success, specially for the influence of the second brega music generation rised on late 60s: Odair José, Paulo Sérgio, Reginaldo Rossi, Evaldo Braga and others. Luiz Ayrão also was a late Jovem Guarda songwriter, with songs recorded by Roberto Carlos and other artists from JG.

The sambrega first popular group, Raça Negra, was also derived from Jovem Guarda because the group had as a member a former The Jordans (brazilian guitar instrumental band) saxophonist. And Raça Negra
clearly took its influence from the sound of the Jovem Guarda sound, recording an entire album with JG greatest hits and covering Luiz Ayrão's "Ciúme de Você" song.


The sambrega sound was known for the precarious mix of the worst of the US commercial soul ballads and banal clichês of the samba music, specially garbling sound elements from Sambalanço and Gafieira Samba (a mixture of samba and swing jazz).

Lots of groups and singers appeared since the late 80s: Elson do Forrogode, Raça Negra, Negritude Júnior, Karametade, Katinguelê, Só Pra Contrariar, Exaltasamba, Pixote, Grupo Revelação, Os Morenos, Os Travessos, Grupo Soweto and others. Só Pra Contrariar revealed the singer Alexandre Pires and Grupo Soweto revealed the singer Belo (Marcelo Pires Vieira, not Alexandre Pires' relative).

The sambrega success followed the breganejo success. At the apex of popularity, some breganejo and sambrega stars sang together cover songs or their own success. And an acoustic album by Só Pra Contrariar, announcing the Alexandre Pires' departure to his solo career, he song the breganejo hit "Solidão", originally recorded by Leandro & Leonardo, with Leonardo on second vocals, some years after his brother Leandro's death.

Alexandre Pires - who also sang with Zezé di Camargo & Luciano, Daniel and Chitãozinho & Xororó - tried a foreign career managed by cuban singer Gloria Estefan and her husband, producer Emilio Estefan Jr. Alexandre Pires made a duet with Gloria Estefan, when he is on Só Pra Contrariar group, by the song called "Santo".

Pires was invited to sing to a Spanish-American institution, in 2003, and he was greeted by then US presidente, George W. Bush, and both was portrayed together. But Bush was so very unpopular worldwide and Alexandre Pires left the bad repercussion with it. Musically, however, Alexandre Pires failed because he merely sounds as a mixture of Alejandro Sanz and R-Kelly, being not important to the american pop music.


The sambrega had three stages. In its first years, the sound was a precarious mixture of soul music and samba, based on the commercial radio informations. In late 90s, the sambrega received the pressure from its detractors, who claimed that their singers and musicians don't made true samba, and the sambrega stars decided to cover MPB songs and original samba classics to try to convince the society.

The second stage shows the sambrega stars making an precarious imitation of samba popular artists, as Jorge Ben Jor, Zeca Pagodinho, Fundo de Quintal and Jorge Aragão, copying their sound without being creative, but to keep up the appearances. Alexandre Pires, Exaltasamba, Grupo Revelação and Belo carried their success on 2000 years making this job.

The third stage is very pretentious, and push sambrega to imitate bolf influences, as Wilson Simonal. Poses and other clichés, like to use a horn section, are used by the sambrega stars to make believe they also do Sambalanço. Alexandre Pires tried this tendence, but Thiaguinho, a former Exaltasamba's singer, is the more typical representative.

The sambrega receives complaints by the brazilian music specialists because it's never true samba. Sambrega was made for the radio playlists and TV studios, but it says nothing to the real samba music. Worst than Bossa Nova, accused to be a samba's dillution but became to be a genre by part, the sambrega is just a precarious imitation, which adds nothing to the samba culture and to the brazilian popular culture at all.

Sunday, 9 December 2012



By Alexandre Figueiredo

The brazilian rural music is in danger. The original "música caipira", a brazilian folk music, is threaten from a long time by commercial dilutions leaded by the music industry. The alleged "música sertaneja", or "breganejo", dominates all Brazil states distorting the original lessons left by original singers and acoustic guitar players from brazilian music countryside.

The dillution is worked by label rules imposed since the 70's, inspired by the success of the brega stars like Waldick Soriano and Lindomar Castilho. The old times of the wonderful music of Inezita Barroso, Pena Branca & Xavantinho, Tonico & Tinoco and, in a longer past, Cornélio Pires, had replaced by the imposition to assimilate influences of foreign music like Bee Gees, or genres like country music, boleros and mariachis.

In the 80's, duos like Chitãozinho & Xororó, Gian & Giovani and Christian & Ralf were the first generation of the perverted formulas inserted on brazilian rural music. From Christian & Ralf, is better to remember that Christian was one of the artists that chased the success of Morris Albert's "Feelings" in the late 70's, recording ballad songs with english lyrics. Afterwards, Christian started a duo with Ralf, which continues currently, recording songs with portuguese lyrics.

After the relative success in folksy audience's TV and radio stations, the pretended "música sertaneja" movement, officially called "sertanejo" and critically denominated "breganejo" (for the strong influence of brega songs and idols), the new generation from the late 80's raised from a particular party of the elected president of Brazil, Fernando Collor de Mello, in 1989.

Chitãozinho & Xororó played at this party on Casa da Dinda, Collor's presidential residence, with other breganejo duos as Zezé di Camargo & Luciano and Leandro & Leonardo. The duo Leandro & Leonardo, known by the success "Entre Tapas e Beijos", was ended in 1998, when Leandro, Leonardo's brother, died after figthing a serious disease that comoved their fans and friends.

The 1990 decade started with the ascension of these commercial idols, which sound resemblance from a cliche mixture of bolero, mariachi and country music elements, starting an era of the pretending popular music worked by "media barons", the name related to the media executives who makes absolute power to form public opinions and popular tastes.

The success of the brothers Chitãozinho & Xororó - a duo who was less know for the self-created repertory than the covers tendentiously recorded, as Lamartine Babo and Ary Barroso's "No Rancho Fundo" song - animated the two brothers to try a international career, using the nickname José and Durval (based on their respective birth names) and stablishing contact to country stars as Reba McEntire and Billy Ray Cyrus.

Chitãozinho & Xororó recorded a version of Billy Ray Cyrus song, "She's Not Crying Anymore", converted as a portuguese version titled "Ela Não Vai Mais Chorar". It was in 1994, when Billy was not a great worldwide star and his famous daughter, Destiny Hope Cyrus (currently known as a teen star Miley Cyrus), is just a baby with one year old and some months of life.

Along the nineties, several breganejo duos rised on stardom, as Rick & Renner, João Paulo & Daniel - duo ended up when a car crash killed João Paulo, remaining Daniel, a crooner who currently is a member of a judge crew from The Voice Brazil, a TV Globo franchising from the reality show The Voice - , Rio Negro & Solimões, the singer Marcelo Costa and others.


The great problem about the brega music is the support of Caetano Veloso, a well-recognized artist from the MPB cast. The support sounds tendentious and utopic, because Caetano, although being a great performer and composer, had so much illusions about "mass culture", believing that it will bring the social revolutions in Brazil.

Caetano approved the success of Chitãozinho & Xororó, as he approved, several years ago, the success of brega stars like Odair José, who sung with Caetano in 1973, at Phono 73 festival (organized by brazilian Phonogram label, then Polygram Discos and currently Universal Music Brasil).

The late 80's and 90's duos and solo singers from the first generation were followed by the late 90's and 2000's generation, the second ones. They brought names like Bruno & Marrone and César Menotti & Fabiano and they were committed not specially for the romantic songs from their predecessors, but in dancing songs and themes like parties and rodeos.


But the worst thing became at the end of 2000 decade, with a lot of new singers and duos doing the officially called "sertanejo universitário". But it's not really a rural college song. It emulates the folk rock sound, but in a false and non-creative form.

Their singers are to The Byrds as the foolish-acknownledged "emocore" (a type of brazilian bubblegum emulating punk rock sounds, like Restart) is to Ramones. Is a very ridiculous pastiche, going to the point of extreme parody and a typical caricature of an original sound imitated.

Stars like Victor & Léo, João Bosco & Vinícius - a duo that causes problems for his name sounds like two MPB composers, João Bosco (from the song "O Bebado e o Equilibrista" and others) and the very famous poet Vinícius de Moraes, "Garota de Ipanema" original lyricist - , Jorge & Mateus, Fernando & Sorocaba and the solo singers Luan Santana, Michel Teló and Gusttavo Lima.

From a twist to fate about brazilian payola practice, one of these singers, Michel Teló, had a sort to be successful on factoids involving soccer players and israeli soldiers playing his major hit "Ai Se Eu Te Pego" (which had an english version recorded by Teló, "Oh If I Catch You") and bought places in european radio charts, median nightclubs and second category TV shows.

Michel Teló was described by brazilian press as a "worldwide successful singer", but the success was not too great than brazilian media could believe. Teló was so successful like any semi-obscure european dance pop entertainers. He didn't became to be an artist to really face great artists like Bono Vox and Mick Jagger, and the "Ai Se Eu Te Pego" song is not a great music, but a merely dancing pop with no artistic importance.

Moreover, the "sertanejo universitário" is only an extreme form of breganejo music. It is a whitewash to original brazilian rural music, lost in a few places the brazilian folk music can be appreciated. The breganejo, being the veteran names as Chitãozinho & Xororó, and recent names as Michel Teló, doesn't represent the authentic brazilian rural music, but a pastiche of the country music in very commercial forms in United States.

The memorabilia of our brazilian rural culture is very threatened by the violent storm of breganejo. But the market must go on, says the media barons and the associated intelectuals. But the culture will go bad, because market is just Economy, and Economy is just money. 

Culture is a process of social values expression, and market only can made popular culture get arrested at captivity. Market does not make popular culture free, because money corrupts the natural culture process, for the several reasons everyone can know so easily.

Sunday, 2 December 2012



By Alexandre Figueiredo - Originally published at the Mingau de Aço's blog - Translated by the author.

How to make the "mass culture" turning to be an alleged social activism? May we make the social movement as merchandise? What the point can make the boundaries between the commercial and artistic concepts? Why the alleged "popular" rhythms cannot trouble the great media companies?

There are questions, so much questions. Questions that show how cultural industry from nowadays bring unusual situations which there's no sense to the old approaches and to the old conflict between the old rich people protectionism and the popular spontaneity.

Reading the Le Monde Diplomatique brazilian publishing, in its november 2012 edition, a reportage originally published on the matrix edition from France, with the english translation at its english editions, called "Angola's defiant kuduro" and had the brazilian title "No ritmo do kuduro", shows this brand new situation about "mass culture".

The reportage also follows the biased way from the commercial pop rhythms widespreads. The journalist Alain Vicky, in this text written by him, he tries to vinculate the kuduro, a dancing pop rhythm made in Angola, to the popular rebellion happened in that country. Alan starts his text describing the african poet Arlindo Babeitos, who was student of the Communication Theory specialist, german philosopher Theodor Adorno, a member from the Frankfurt School, the intelectual german scene which, during the nazism rising, had popularized at the United State exile, in the college ambients.

The reportage made a brief historic from the MPLA (in english - People's Movement for the Liberation of Angola – Labour Party), that started as an activist guerilla movement and afterwards became a political party that won the Angola's presidential elections.

There's the point how kuduro is inserted in that context. The rhythm rised up in that time, the year of 2002, apparently from a mix with african traditional rhythms and hip hop and technopop, and the reportage assigned the kuduro as an "expression from Angola's yongster frustrations".

In practice, however, the kuduro is just a dancing pop rhythm, the one so next to the commercial interests typical in its tendences than any intention to create an alleged new folklore. Kuduro is very known by its commercial potential, but the social activism became a pretext to reinforce its marketing.

The same "activism" speech, at the time that, from the youngsters who consume the "mass culture" all over the world, "social activists" are Madonna and Lady Gaga, was done with the US miami bass, and, in Brazil, with Bahia's axé-music, Rio de Janeiro's "funk carioca" and Pará's tecnobrega.

You can though, for example, if a New York Post reporter writes in the 70s a reportage about the disco music starting with a testimony of the beatnik writer William Burroughs, describing the Counterculture american movement and also the Freedom Riders (a riding movement for the end of the bus stations segregation at the United States) and attributes the Disco Era to the context of the fall of US president Richard Nixon.

The kuduro is very comercial on this way that it made the Europa dance music market goes forward to this cause. In Brazil, entertainers associated as the most grotesque tacky music, as Rio de Janeiro's Latino singer and Bahia's Psirico group, also decided to play kuduro songs.

Musically, kuduro is not more than a mere mixture of european house music with caribbean beats and some african beat. It's just a junction of commercial dancing rhythms done in Angola, what's not any pretext to legitimize the "activist" speech. Also because kuduro is not a thing that Ricky Martin and Shakira are unable to do.

But it's necessary to sell these dancing waves as being "activism", because it makes them to get longer in popularity and to receive, from the government budgets, permanent investments. Even in Angola exists an "collective" organization, the Coletivo Batida, a DJ group vinculated to a local FM radio station.

The "activist" speech also supports from the "new media" tendences, as being to wish to disconnect themselves to the broadcasting media power, as the "brega" brazilian music tendences tried so, and still are trying. Even a citation of a Theodor Adorno's former student, getting sure that Adorno was done a severe media criticism, is supported by this idea.

So he watch the rearticulation of the old media structures and the economic power really works new strategies to the maintenance of the old social structures. The political-mediatic status quo wants that the true activist actions limit to happen in the rich countries, when the emergent and poor countries have to limit the "social activist" as a "entertainment" as and end in itself.

This speech uses the allegation of economic prosperity as a conquest made by popular rebellions. They must to confuse one thing and other, with a sophisticated retoric. Maybe the Bahia's É O Tchan group could have been better successful if they rised under this retoric, a worldwide tendence sponsored by George Soros and his Soros Open Society company, in circa ten years ago.

However, using the "mass culture" from the emergent and poor countries as being a "social activism" is a very biased thesis, which tries to create in those countries a social prosperity what is a very far finality. Moreover, the involved rhythms are merely commercial, and its success is made more from the financial profit, but Economy does not justify the Culture process.

The Alain Vicky's reportage is just a biased make up of a widespread, a way to create the narrative text to join a merely dancing rhythm with a social-politic reality from a country. This process we saw, with so less subtlety, in Rio de Janeiro's "funk carioca", and whose sense of social activism actually is purely false.