Song of the Day: Marcos Valle “Democústico”
Brazillian samba king, Marcos Valle, had already enjoyed a long career performing tasteful bossa and samba prior to the birth of the Tropicalia artistic movement. Eager to change with the times and becoming more political in the face of the military dictatorship that seized power in Brazil from 1964 to 1985, Valle jumped in with both feat. He embraced elements of funk, art rock and psychedelia as well as crafting anti-Authoritarian lyrics for his new songs. By the time his Ventu Sol LP was released in 1972, he had already become fully radicalized and was counted among the vanguard of Tropicalia/MPB musicians. “Democústico” is a tropical funk-driven, bass-heavy piece that is based around a repeated vocal motif (hint: words that sound like “democracy”) carefully calibrated to get around the censors of the era. The song includes a number of breaks for flutes and a groovy, acid-inflected harpsichord. The whole record is a blast of radical politics and tasteful, psych-inflected Brazilian funk.
Marcos Valle was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1943. Valle‘s talents as a singer and songwriter were evident from his high school years, which coincided with the explosion of the bossa nova movement. After his composition “Sonho de Maria” was included on the Avanco album by the influential Tamba Trio in 1963, Valle was swiftly signed to Odeon records (a subsidiary of EMI). Throughout his career, Valle worked with his brother, Paulo Sergio Valle, who served his lyricist and had a hand in pushing Marcos into his subsequent more radical direction. Marcos recorded duets with a number of other prominent Brazilian singers throughout his career, including Astrud Gilberto, Milton Nascimento and others. Valle has continued to be engaged in both music and politics, continuing to perform live and frequently helping to spearhead numerous HIV prevention and other campaigns throughout his native Brazil.