Brazilian monsters of music

Caetano-Veloso-and-Gilber-006

When Mário Soveral turned up in London his idea might have been to stay there. Breathing democracy and freedom is what most 17 year olds like to experience. His mother Laura kept a close eye on him. Life in those days was a daily adventure and everything was more or less possible. I had to earn my living and had a fixed job in the City. On our free time we would look for more adventures.

When in London Laura visited friends that she had known previously. Some of these were Brazilian. We were invited to a Guilherme Araújo in Chelsea that had an open house to other Brazilians. I remember being invited to a Beans lunch (Feijoada Brasileira) there, together with the Soveral mother and son.

Araújo was often on the phone on long distance calls. I really had no idea who these people were but it became clear to me that our host worked as an agent for two of the other tenants Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil.They had spent some months in prison in 1968 after being arrested by the military led government for subversive activism.

Below is what anyone might read on Wikipedia. There’s nothing there about our Beans lunch!!

“Thereafter, Gil and Veloso were exiled to London, England after being offered to leave Brazil.[16] The two played a last Brazilian concert together in Salvador in July 1969, then left to Portugal, Paris, and finally London.[1] He and Veloso took a house in Chelsea, sharing it with their manager and wives.”

Gil and Caetano were political refugees in England. They had arrived there under the influence of The Beatles latest work. Tropicalismo developed and made Brazilian pop more international and social aware. Velos’s and Gil´s political ideas on the left made them enemies of the Brazilian military dictatorship. Their songs were often censored and some were banned.