Santa Cruz Good Times

Saturday
Jul 04th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

The Voice of Brazil

musicF_MiltonNascimentoMilton Nascimento speaks the universal language no matter what may be against him

Here in modern-day America, the music censors deal with controversial lyrical content by slapping warning labels on albums and/or axing swear words from the radio versions of songs. One memorable example of this came early this year, when U.S. radio stations made Britney Spears change the title of her single “If U Seek Amy” (which, not so coincidentally, sounds an awful lot like “F-U-C-K me” when sung) to the less inflammatory “If U See Amy.”

During the period of military dictatorship in Brazil from 1964 to 1985, the censors had slightly more drastic tactics. Just ask singer/guitarist/songwriter Milton Nascimento, often hailed as Brazil’s greatest musician: In 1973, just a few days before Nascimento’s deadline to get his new album, Milagre dos Peixes, to his record company, the musician received word from the Brazilian government that all of Peixes’ lyrics, which expressed outrage over the violence and injustice being perpetrated by the dictatorship, had been censored. Rather than rewriting the words, Nascimento responded by simply removing the lyrics from the album as a gesture of protest. “We decided to improvise with sounds imitating birds, my falsettos, sounds from the jungle, animals, percussion … everything,” he notes. “And it turned out great.” With these sounds, Nascimento unambiguously decried governmental corruption without singing a word. (The singer subsequently released a live version of the album called Milagre dos Peixes ao Vivo, which reintroduced some of Peixes’ original lyrics.)

The singer recalls that during the days of the Brazilian dictatorship, he was not allowed to sing for the larger crowds in major cities. Instead, he stayed afloat by playing at universities in smaller Brazilian cities. “I sang to the students, and they helped to pay my bills with the money we collected at these gatherings,” he explains. “To this day, I am very grateful to these people. I wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for them.”

Milagro Dos Peixes wasn’t the last of Nascimento’s works to attract unwanted attention from people in high places. In the early ’80s, he received bomb threats after releasing Missa dos Quilombos, a mass that endorsed racial equality by celebrating the resurrection of black people through the resurrection of Christ. (Quilombos were settlements founded by escaped slaves during the Portuguese Colonial Period.) At first the mass was banned by the Vatican, but as Nascimento explains, “That prohibition didn't sound good to modern theologists that had a broader view, so after a while the Church accepted it, thank God.” He adds that Missa dos Quilombos is “one of the first religious and artistic manifestations that was partly accepted by the Catholic Church since slavery was abolished.”

Nascimento will be permitted full range of expression here in Santa Cruz on Monday, Nov. 9, when he performs at The Rio Theatre, backed by keyboardist Kiko Continentino, bassist Gastão Franco Villeroy, drummer Lincoln Cheib and guitarist Wilson Lopes Cançado. Chilean singer/songwriter Claudia Acuña opens the show.

Don’t let your lack of Portuguese-speaking skills hold you back from attending Monday’s concert—Nascimento’s expansive vocal range and trademark falsetto speak to audiences of all cultures. “I think that the audience always knows best how to interpret lyrics that they cannot understand,” the vocalist comments. “Most of the time, when I get to talk to these people backstage after the concerts, they give me wonderful explanations to how the music and the lyrics touched them and what it meant to them. To listen and to respect this, coming from my audience, is a very important part of my job as an artist.”


Milton Nascimento plays at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 9 at The Rio Theatre, 1205 Soquel Ave., Santa Cruz. Claudia Acuña opens. Tickets are $52 Gold Circle, $37 General Admission. For more information, call 423-8209 or go to kuumbwajazz.org and pulseproductions.net.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

The Boards Are Back in Town

More than a century after a famed trio of Hawaiian princes first surfed in Santa Cruz, their redwood olo surfboards are returning to the Museum of Art & History

 

We Hold These Truths to Be Self-Evident

Saturday, July 4, is the 239th birthday of the United States, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence (the U.S. astrology chart has Aquarius moon—freedom for its people, by its people). Cancer, a liberating and initiating sign, is the “gate” where Spirit enters matter. Cancer receives and distributes Ray 3 (Divine Intelligence) and Ray 7 (new rules, new rhythms, new free nation under God). Cancer represents an intelligent freethinking humanity that can and must create right economics for the world. This means a policy of sharing, an opportunity for the U.S. when Venus (money, resources, possessions, etc.) retrogrades July and August in Leo (the heart of the matter). The United States has a unique spiritual task for the world: to lead humanity within and toward the light, accomplished by its people who must first awaken to this task, learn discrimination and be directed by the soul to assume the Herculean task of spiritual world leadership. Let us review the first words of our Constitution: “We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America.” Let us form that union together. The following is a review of the spiritual tasks for each sign. Read all the signs. They all apply to everyone.  

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of July 3

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Lunch is Packed

Picnic basket lunches from Your Place, plus smoked chili peppers, and new owners at Camellia Tea House

 

What would you like the Supreme Court to rule on next?

Raising the minimum wage so that those that are in poverty now can have a higher standard of life. Greanna Smith, Soquel, Nanny

 

Bruzzone Family Vineyards

Bruzzone Family Vineyards is a small operation run by Berna and John Bruzzone. Starting out a few years ago making only Chardonnay, they eventually planted Pinot Noir on their extensive property and now make this varietal as well.

 

Ty’s Eatery

Pop-up hooks up with Santa Cruz Food Lounge for healthy comfort food