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Auto Retrato

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Album Review

Belchior always was at the margin of MPB. In 1976, Elis Regina recorded his "Como Nossos Pais" (as translated in English: "And now I know that the one who gave me the idea of a new conscience and youth/is at home, kept by God accounting his coins") and "Velha Roupa Colorida" (as translated: "What was youthful and new now is old") — projecting him to fame and success. It didn't have the effect of watering down his social criticism. "Apenas Um Rapaz Latino-Americano" censures the excessive ingenuity of Caetano Veloso — the lyrics talk about a certain "antigo compositor baiano" (old Bahian composer): "But I know that nothing is divine/nothing is marvelous."

In this double album, after one decade of releasing his records through independent labels (some owned by him), he returns to the mainstream market through BMG. It has a price, tough. Consisting exclusively of previously released material and his biggest hits up to the total of 25 tracks, the conception is "modernizing." Drum'n'bass, scratches, funk guitars, even if tastefully and musically operated, don't hide the commercial intentions, even if they can be plausible — to present his visceral poetry to newer generations. Other novelties are the orchestral arrangements by Ruriá Duprat (nephew of the conductor Rogério Duprat, who had a prominent role during Tropicália) and André Abujamra.

The album doesn't have the aggressive urge of those in the '70s, which were really a call to arms. But it remains as a document of Belchior's important and expressive contribution, and — as he wanted — is more palatable to newer audiences. The worst is that "Mucuripe" — a fundamental song in his career and in Fagner's — continues to be credited as having being written by both, when today is known that its true writer was Henrique Voegeler, some 70 years ago.


Genre: MPB

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

Belchior is a composer/singer with a successful career in Brazil. With more than 300 recorded compositions by himself on 15 solo albums, and artists such as Roberto Carlos, Elis Regina, Erasmo Carlos, Vanusa, Jair Rodrigues, Ney Matogrosso, Fagner, Ednardo, and Jessé, among others, his lyrics deal with social and existential problems while his music has very little of his northeast origins, being based mostly on pop/rock grooves. His father was a flutist and his mother, who taught his first musical...
Full Bio
Auto Retrato, Belchior
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