In today's session of my Latin American geography course, we are discussing a few aspects of the military period in Brazil -- and artistic resistance to it. The discussion will include my 1996 visit with the artist Anka, which is detailed in the Folha da Fronteira newsletter I sent to friends at the time. In that account, I mention a small joke he shared. It was more than 20 years later that I realized he was not joking, and that the obscurity of his existence was almost certainly connected to the precarious position artists had been in only a few years before I visited his hermitage.
We will also explore the unbelievable but true story of Calice, a song title whose two meanings provide deep insight into artistic resistance. The story of musical resistance throughout the region is told in more detail in the 2020 Netflix limited series Break it All.
But we will begin today's class with something a bit more relaxed -- former Minister of Culture Gilberto Gil performing Rio Eu Te Amo (Rio I Love You). I had the great privilege of hearing an entire evening of such work when he visited the Zeiterion Theater in New Bedford in 2007. He is the only performer I have seen there who was traveling with a Secret Service detail, because the concert was during a break in his attendance of the U.N. General Assembly.
I have spoken of that encounter often -- even with these students -- without realizing the true importance of his career. Fortunately, this morning's installment of BBC Forum was a deep exploration of Tropicalia -- his two-person group that had a profound impact on the military regime.
We also discussed the 1985 British farce Brazil, which makes no direct mention of the country, but is clearly all about the regime.
We rounded out class with three vocabulary words: jeito, palanca, and mordida!