Tomorrow will be another day

Banksy, grandmas, 2006
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By FRANCISCO DE OLIVEIRA BARROS JUNIOR*

Considerations on the song “Apesar de você”, by Chico Buarque de Holanda

Construction. Despite You. Cup. Orly samba. Wake up love. My dear friend. Good advice. Drop of Water. What It Will Be (To the Flower of the Earth). Tropical Fado. Both Sea. Angelica. Cord. God bless you. Titles of 14 compositions from the repertoire of “Chico, the politician”. A unique dimension of the artistic work of one of the great names in the history of Brazilian Popular Music. Of the aforementioned songs, I highlight despite you, for a particular reason: its harmony with the expression Fora Bolsonaro, made explicit by those dissatisfied and indignant with a precarious government, with setbacks and threatening democratic values.

Criticism of Bolsonarism, negatively globalized, in polyglot viralizations: in the “reflections on the great threats to human existence”, Noam Chomsky alludes to “sociopathic clowns”, harbingers of the “neoliberal plague” and cites the serious threat, called Jair Bolsonaro, “ …the most extreme, the most abhorrent of the right-wing ultranationalists now plaguing the hemisphere” (CHOMSKY, 2020, p.108). In French, in the necropolitical context of a “pandemic capitalism”, Edgar Morin warns that it is “time for us to change course” and makes reference to Brazil “... p.2020). In the restlessness of Portuguese with a Lusitanian accent, Boaventura de Sousa Santos asks: “Brazil: genocidal policy?” A critical situation “…caused by an irresponsible, coup-mongering and ultra-right president, …” (SANTOS, 30, p.2021).

despite you, conceived in another historical conjuncture, does not lose its relevance for being in tune with the fight against all authoritarianism and fascist tendencies in their attempts to reach power. “Despite you/Tomorrow has to be/A new day”, an excerpt from the focused musical text, could receive another version, in tune with the historical moment in which we are inserted. Here is the possible exchange: “Despite Bolsonaro, tomorrow will be another day”. From 1970 to the present day, changes have occurred, but progress, in ambivalent movements, goes hand in hand with regressions. The “despite you”, sung today, gains a conjunctural update. I ask permission from Chico Buarque to make a temporary change of “you” to the name of the current holder of the office of President of the Republic of Brazil.

focusing on the song despite you, in its political tones, we see that it is referenced in several historical texts on Brazilian Popular Music. She censors in the “lead years of the dictatorship” (1970-1978). Rodrigo Faour clarifies who the “you” of the focused composition is. In an attempt to circumvent the censors, in his interrogations, he was not singing about “a very bossy and authoritarian woman”, “but General Médici, then president of Brazil” (FAOUR, 2021). In the company of the stories and songs of Buarqui’s lyrics, the writing unmasks “the dirty work in the cellars” of the “years of lead” (BUARQUE, 2021).

From “the generation that established modern Brazilian song”, Chico Buarque experienced “the anti-Buarquian censorship rage”. In the historical perspective of Jairo Severiano, we think with music through the writing of “...an intellectual, author of diverse musical-literary work, especially committed to social issues, never, however, pamphleteering” (SEVERIANO, 2017, p.366). the samba despite you is included among the “101 songs that touched Brazil”. A sound discourse of “democratic resistance”, “a protest anthem against the military dictatorship” (MOTTA, 2016). In his crooked and cutting corner, Chico sambista bothered the dictators and included another one of his musical works in the Dictionary of the Social History of Samba (LOPES & SIMAS, 2021).

despite you was one of the highlights of 1970. In “an unabused message to the dictatorship”, Francisco Buarque de Hollanda out of tune with the choir of the happy and went so far as to appeal to the use of pseudonyms as a form of disguise and thus manage to escape the censors of the authoritarian regime. Julinho da Adelaide and Leonel Paiva were the names chosen for the disguised signature. It is “the song in time” in which the artists drank a bitter calase (SEVERIANO & MELLO, 2015). “Dribbling with a pen in hand”, Chico faced the military and has a chapter reserved for him in the book that exposes about the “Modaça”, in which the “stories of music and censorship in authoritarian times” are recorded (PIMENTEL & McGILL, 2021). In the censored repertoire, despite you have their listening devices turned off.

Producing art “in a time of storm”. A hostile context for those who toned down the painful woes emitted by the “blood of repression” and by the “social tragedy” of a historic moment of a red light. In his creative boldness, the artist, in his poetic dribbles, becomes “a symbol of resistance to military governments”. Chico is “the crevice poet” (MIRANDA, 2001). In the relationship “between the poetic text and the melodic-harmonic construction of the musical work”, the “social and historical aspects” of the composition tone the “recurrent syntagms in Buarque's works” to criticize the dictatorial pitches. “The music of words”, in a semiotic study of Chico Buarque's songs, points to the various possibilities of reading them (TORRES, 2014). In the connection “popular music and modern Brazilian poetry”, Chico Buarque represents “music against silence” (SANT'ANNA, 2004).

Despite the Ayatollahs, historical swamps, the Brazilian, a profession of hope, listening to Chico Buarque, says: “it will pass”. In the “song of relief” and “salute to democracy”, the objective is to turn the unfortunate pages of our history. The thing here is gloomy, indelicate, rough, coarse. Agreed, we issue a down at the time of shut up. No more suffering for the Angelicas who searched for their missing children. In the construction of a more just and democratic country, the good advice is to vote for those who sing the samba “freedom, freedom, spread your wings over us”.

Chico – Brazilian artist (2015), a film by Miguel Faria Jr., presents images of the multidimensional Chico Buarque. The political Chico is just one of the dimensions of a complex man. In the scenes in which he speaks about the stones placed in his path by dictatorial censorship, he highlights what happened to his child. despite you: “It was a big success, like, immediate, and then a light came on and people realized that they had approved the wrong animal, they could not have approved that lyric. And then the record was pulled from stores. That was the beginning of a series of problems I had with the censorship, because there was also a desire for revenge on the other side, because they felt deceived, right?”.

Chico recounts the backstage of the violence suffered by the artist in the pressure exerted to change the content of his musical creations: “I had no dialogue with the censorship, but the record company did, there was a lawyer who went to Brasília, appealed, there was a certain negotiation. I remember that a lot, I was at home and the guy called from Brasilia, that long-distance call, kind of difficult, then he said: if you change that verse, the song goes away”. Then I: okay, then call me, give me about 15 minutes to try to fix that pineapple over there”.

What is the subjective impact of being “banned” on your production process? What feelings and emotions are triggered? Between losses and damages, the situational discomfort of creating at the risk of being muzzled is unveiled by Chico: “In this fight, we all lost, I also lost. I think the artistic quality, there are things that I did at that time that I like, but there are many things that I did even when I was angry, you know, and you start creating, under pressure, under pressure and you start to respond to that pressure and starts to I don't know what. And that yes, you get angry and write angry songs and things that later lose their meaning, which passes the reason for anger and that song is loose, without ground. With anger you don't create anything well”.

Attentive to the signs of the historical time in which he is situated, the artist experiences his particular commitment. An activism in which his art thinks and responds to the provocations of the historical context in which he asserts his presence: “The newspapers called me an activist: the activist Chico Buarque. “I participated in a lot of movements and allied myself with a lot of people from all areas who were opposed to the dictatorship. In some way, whatever I could do, other than taking up arms, if I could contribute, I would contribute”.

*Francisco de Oliveira Barros Junior He is a professor at the Department of Social Sciences at the Federal University of Piauí.

 

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