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Chico Buarque


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Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1964 – present)

Chico Buarque (born Francisco Buarque de Hollanda, 19 Jun 1944, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - also known as Chico Buarque de Hollanda), is a singer, composer, dramatist, and writer, although he is best known for his music, which often comments on Brazilian social, economic & cultural issues.

Chico came from an intellectual and privileged family background. Sérgio Buarque de Hollanda, his father, was a well-known historian and sociologist. Aurélio Buarque de Hollanda, his lexicographer uncle, is as strongly associated with Brazilian dictionaries as Webster is with American English ones.

He was a studious child, precocious in music & writing, and was heavily impressed by - specifically, João Gilberto’s work.

Chico made his public debut as musician and composer in 1964, rapidly building his reputation at music festivals and television variety shows. His self-titled debut album exemplified the work to come, with catchy sambas characterized by inventive wordplay and an undercurrent of nostalgic tragedy.

Chico’s increasing political activity against the Brazilian military dictatorship resulted in his arrest in 1968, and eventual self-exile to Italy in 1969. Other important musicians like Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil experienced the same fate. Chico returned to Brazil in 1970, using his fame and song-writing skills to protest against the dictatorship. At this time his lightly-veiled protest single Apesar de você (Despite you) somehow passed by the gaze of military censors, becoming the democracy movement’s anthem. After selling over 100,000 copies, the single was eventually repressed, and all copies were removed from the market.


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