Sunday, 9 December 2012
BREGANEJO: THE COUNTRY MUSIC PASTICHE
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 SECOND GENERATION AND CAETANO VELOSO'S PROBLEMATIC SUPPORT
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.
THE "SERTANEJO UNIVERSITÁRIO" AND THE ALLEGED MICHEL TELÓ'S WORLD SUCCESS
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.