DétournementEventsTopicsUrban VoicesVoices

Crystallised Art

To good observers one thing is a fact: the past isn’t disconnected from the present, and at the same time will never be disconnected from the future. 

We live in cycles. Sometimes these cycles are more intense, sometimes slower. Slow cycles make us believe that history has crystallised.

And often this is the impression I get regarding art in Brazil. Especially art as a manifest. 

Just as in the past, rupture movements keep happening in some societies. The ruptures are many, and lots of them arise through art. 

In Brazil the activist movement that shook the environment of popular music and Brazilian culture started between 1967 and 1968, happening under the name of Tropicalism and fitting into the post-war context, the development of the cultural industry and the introduction and consolidation of the media (radio and television). One of the most influential singers of the movement was Caetano Veloso with the song Alegria, Alegria.


As Caetano later explained, the song is a report, in the first person, of a young man walking through the city. During a time of stagnation and lack of freedom, the song proposed movement and resistance. Caetano spoke of walking “against the wind”, that is, against the direction in which he was being pushed.

No scarf, no document

Nothing in my pocket or in my hands

I want to keep on living, love

I’m going

Why not, why not

Currently, the activist movement gained new actors,fighting against racism and privilege mainly represented through the favelas. Some examples are:

Criolo – Boca de Lobo (Manhole)


The manhole, also known as a hollowed out curb, is inserted in intervals of the curb. It is a piece with holes that allows water to drain into the drainage network. Its application is absolutely essential to prevent flooding. But that will not depend only on its application, and the song talks about how much durtness we have “under the ground”.

Emicida – Boa Esperança  (Good Hope) –  He also got a documentary on Netflix


Emicida’s documentary is divided into three acts: Planting, Watering and Harvesting. To rewrite history, the rapper shows the need to reconnect with the land, so that it is possible to rescue his roots. In the current times, this movement is necessary for society and politics, and also for Brazilian hip-hop.

Djonga – Nós (We)

About compliance, struggle against elites and inequalities, how this has made them aggressive and unfeeling after so many years dealing with compliance.


The country – nowadays under the command of  Bolsonaro’s politics of hate, is caracterized as an homophobic government, once again dictatorial and fascist – still  trying to follow the activist movement. The artists of the vanguard strengthen the current movement, which also gave voice to an activist festival (Ninja Festival), that surprisingly ended up with an unexpected ending: a kiss on the mouth between the tropicalist activist Caetano Veloso and the rapper Criolo

Caetano and Criolo, Photo by Webert da Cruz

Between unexpected actions without great gains for the population, one thing is a fact; in the Brazil of today as in many other countries represented by debilitated movements, if we try to see movements of ruptures, we can not find. They are mere appearances. 

And what is worse, the more we try to rescue history, the more we kill it.

It would be more relevant to join ourselves together as humanity, in an attempt to save us from the history of an holocaust determined by a dozen of countries, to the misery of all the others.

The proposal then is that we can assume a new kind of artistic attitude,  rescuing through voluntary work the Histories of all the countries that have been crushed by the crises: let us start with the musician Chico César and his song Mama Africa.


(The music was inspired by the African continent as a mother, from where so many children left/were taken for the Americas, Europe, the Caribbean, etc. Thinking of the African diaspora and how many times this movement turned its back on its mother, exploited until today by the colonizers, and to whom no retribution was given).


Leave a Reply