The ability to be innovative and popular at the same time is a quality very few musicians possess. Few – if anyone – have made great art about the so-called little man to the extent of Lou Reed, but the Brazilian multi-artist Arnaldo Antunes follows not far behind.
As frontman of the legendary rock band Titãs – from their foundation in 1982 until he went solo ten years later – Antunes was at the forefront of a new musical movement in the country. At its best, Titãs is welcoming, due to their flirtation with pop and dance music, meanwhile engaging in an intellectual critique of both the sphere of art and the state apparatus. This is what Antunes has continued to do on his own.
“I want to make pop music to reach people but also worry about aesthetics,” the 55-year-old explained in an interview with music magazine Sound and Colour. The tradition of uniting so-called high and low culture was particularily present during the Brazilian tropicalismo movement in the 60s and 70s, with eccentric Tom Zé as the prime example. In many ways Antunes feels like his successor.
So perhaps it’s no surprise that Arnaldo Antunes has become an icon of the progressive voices in South America: Recently, during a concert in Buenos Aires, the audience started to wave posters that stated “Fora Temer” (translation: “Out with [Michel] Temer”, Brazil’s new president, who seems to bringing the country in a more neoliberal direction.).
Finally he will visit Norway for the very first time.
Text: Kim Klev