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Morning Song – Aquele Abraco

August 10, 2016

So, you’re a young artist living under a military dictatorship that censors your work, arrests you without charges and forces you into exile. How do you resist?

If you’re Gilberto Gil in 1969 Brazil, you write “Aquele Abraco” (“That Embrace”), a lovely, lyrical samba embracing all that is good and beautiful about Brazil (a favorite neighborhood in Rio, a popular soccer team, Carnival, Gil’s home state of Bahia, a beloved television host).

It’s an uncensorable song. How do you ban a song that has only good things to say about your country?

And yet the subversive subtext is there from the opening line: “O Rio de Janeiro continua linda” (“Rio de Janeiro is still beautiful”).  “Continua linda“, still beautiful…still, despite the junta; still, despite the censorship; still, despite my imprisonment; still, despite my impending exile. None of it said…but all of it understood by the people who made it a #1 hit and by the generals powerless to stop it.

 

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