The Rio 2016 Olympic Games kick off tomorrow, and even for those who don't give two craps about sports, there's still plenty of festivities and spectacle to look forward to. Most notably, the Opening Ceremony, which takes place tomorrow, always makes for a great show and gives the host country a chance to celebrate their history and culture for the rest of the world to see. So far, three major Brazilian artists have been announced to perform: Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, and Anitta. In order to educate myself a little bit on Brazils rich musical history, and since I know close to nothing on all three of these artists, I decided to check out their respective most popular songs (according to Spotify streams), and give my initial first impressions of each.
Gilberto Gil, O Pato
I never thought I'd ever enjoy a song about a duck this much. Even with the little background I know about Gilberto Gil, I at least know that he's easily one of the biggest and most beloved Brazilian artists in history, and this jazz standard is a good example of why thats the case. The song finds a good mix of traditional samba, jazz, and even rock influences, which makes for a pretty unique sound I didn't expect to hear. Theres some very impressive guitar-playing going on, and Gil's unique and warm voice is the last little gem that ties this song together. I could definitely see myself jamming to this track on a nice summer day, chilling in a hammock by the beach and letting the day roll by without a care in the world.
Caetano Veloso, Voc Linda
Funny enough, the version I listened to of this song also features Gilberto Gil, which makes sense considering both him and Veloso were leading figures of the Tropicalismo movement of the late 1960s. Quick run-down for those unfamiliar: Tropicalismo refers to the period where Brazilian artists took traditional art forms and combined them with modern, non-Brazilian influences like rock-n-roll and psychedelia. There's not much psychedelic characteristics in this particular song, but you can definitely hear the mainstream rock influence in its melody and form. It's a very pretty tune, largely thanks to Velosos extremely calming and warm vocals. I don't even speak Portuguese, and yet this song still makes me feel something. Love, longing, passionthe songs tone and overall sound is all that it takes to get these themes across, which are emotions anyone of any language can relate to. Also, I'm a sucker for whistling when it's done well.
I've never even heard of this artist, but holy crap she's a big deal. Just going off of her YouTube channel, THREE of her videos have well over 100 million views, with a ton more not too far behind. After hearing Bang (216+ million views), I can see why she's caught on so well. It's pretty poppy and actually similar to just about anything on mainstream American radio, but after hearing more traditional Brazilian artists like Gil and Veloso, I can also hear some of those influences playing into the overall sound. Again, I don't understand a word she's saying, but I dont care because the melody is catchy as hell. It sounds a lot like some of the better pop songs to come out of the 1990s, and I really like the horn part thrown in there at the choruses. The music video is also pretty cool, since it matches the song's upbeat and lively sound really welland the choreography is also pretty appealing, not gonna lie.