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Caetano Veloso And Gilberto Gil: Living History

Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil.
Marcos Hermes
Courtesy of the artist
Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil.

Very rarely do we get to celebrate history with some of the people who made it. But that's exactly the place Jasmine Garsd and I found ourselves in this week's episode of Alt.Latino, when we interviewed legendary musicians Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil.

In the late 1960s, the Tropicalia movement stood up to Brazil's military dictatorship by fusing Brazil's rich musical traditions with influences like rock 'n' roll (considered imperialist) The Beatles (colonialist), jazz (encourages free thinking) and artistic wackiness (uncontrollable). The movement became a social force and was enough of a threat to get many musicians jailed.

History, of course, has a way of smiling on such movements, and many of those Tropicalistas can look back on long, prolific careers as exemplars of Brazil's creative vanguard. This week, we spoke with two of them as they gave firsthand accounts of those heady days of Tropicalia — including a story about writing a song while in prison.

As we say on the show this week, this was a bucket-list interview for both of us, so listen in and enjoy.

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Felix Contreras is co-creator and host of Alt.Latino, NPR's pioneering radio show and podcast celebrating Latin music and culture since 2010.