Filmed at Brazil's massive carnival celebrations, in the lawless favelas, the extraordinary maracatu ceremonies of the northern countryside, and in the music clubs of Salvador and Rio, these three, hour-long films chronicle Brazilian music from the birth of samba right through to the hip-hop, baile and funk scenes.
Part 1: Samba To Bossa
The series starts in the days of slavery, when an estimated 4 million Africans were forcibly moved to Brazil, and traces the development of samba from the poor black areas of Salvador and Rio, where it was initially banned, to its fusion with European styles and its move to the mainstream.
The programme follows the career of samba's most successful and glamorous international star, Carmen Miranda, and the growth of the samba schools that dominate the Rio carnival. It traces the fight-back by musicians from the poor Northeast, who used a rival style, forro, to sing about the harsh realities of their lives, and shows how politics helped the development of a sophistcated new samba-jazz fusion, bossanova, from the Fifties, that was to bring international success to Joao Gilberto and Tom Jobim.
The programme ends with the military coup that ended the optimistic, easy-going bossa era.
Part 2: Tropicalia Revolution
The second programme in the series covers the military era in Brazil, from 1964-85, and discusses the role that musicians played in leading the fight-back – and how they suffered as a result. The era began with the left-wing protest movement headed by singers like Nara Leao, that was matched against rival styles that ranged from the passionate singing of Elis Regina to the rousing pop songs of Jorge Ben – with television song contests developing into a battle-ground between supporters of different styles.
All this changed in the late Sixties, with the emergence of the experimental tropicalia movement, determined to shake up Brazil just as military hardliners took control of the government. The programme chronicles the careers of the tropicalia stars, from Os Mutantes to Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso, who were both jailed and exiled to Britain (and includes never shown footage of them both performing at the Isle of Wight festival). It describes the military censorship campaign against such leading musicians as Chico Buarque, Milton Nascimento, and even Jorge Ben. And it shows how black musicians in Bahia state responded by developing new, and often militant black styles like samba-reggae.
Part 3: A Tale of Four Cities
It shows how musicians like Chico Science in the northern city of Recide reacted against the American-influenced rock scene of the Eighties, to create their own new fusion, in which rock and hip-hop were mixed with local traditional styles like maracatu.
In Sao Paulo, it examines how Racionais MCs created a new, Brazilian form of hip-hop that made them heroes of the poor, predominantly black suburbs, the favelas. Meanwhile in the smart down-town area, producer Suba created a new style of electronica and achieved international success through his work with Bebel Gilberto.
In Rio de Janeiro, there were similar divisions: here, the city’s funk clubs were closed after disturbances, and the music moved to the rough favelas, now often a battle-ground between police and drug gangs. The programme examines how funk and hip-hop have developed in the favelas, and how bands like AfroReggae have tried to bring social change in the most lawless parts of the city.
It shows, too, how samba has continued to develop in Rio, developing a new following both through hip-hop fusions and the return to fashion of old-style big band samba. The programme ends in a fourth city, Salvador, where the axe pop style dominates the spectacular carnival, but black musicians complain they are being left out.
Video Codec: XviD
Video Bitrate: 1579 kbps
Video Resolution: 672x384
Video Aspect Ratio: 1.750:1
Audio Codec: MP3
Audio Bitrate: 164kb/s VBR 48000 Hz
Audio Languages: English
RunTime Per Part: 59 mins
Number Of Parts: 3
Part Size: 746mb
Capped by by: Adam Cook