Many sided and always on the go - Arnaldo Antunes
“Tropicalia” denotes the reaction of Brazil’s pop culture to the second wave of rock music washing over the world from the mid-60s on. The well nigh mythical magnitude of that reaction, which did not so much imitate Anglo-American music as reinterpret it, turned out to be a hindrance to further development. Certainly there was the great Raoul Seixas and the boogie rock of the later solo works of the former Os Mutante’s singer Rita Lee, but only at the start of the 80s did an independent rock scene in Brazil really get going. This involved a quick re-hash of derivative rock music, so a lot in Brazilian rock got no further than plagiarism. It was at this point that Arnaldo Antunes began his career in music as well as in other fields. Born in São Paulo in 1960 he is also a visual artist and an author with eight books to his credit.
Already in his teens Antunes was drawn to various modes of expression. As a pupil at the Colégio Equipe he heard Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso and all kinds of Brazilian music, but he first made his mark with a novel brought out by his school. He then made an experimental super 8 film and took part in the music project Banda Performática. This was launched by the painter José Roberto Aguilar, whose house in São Paulo he shared in 1980. For the band’s album he not only performed but also composed, and a song jointly composed by him and Paulo Miklos won the 1980 prize for the best text at the FAAP music festival.
A year later they gathered further musicians around them. It was the time when Brazil’s rock scene was crystallizing out. Antunes, Miklos and seven other musicians founded the band Titãs do Ieiê. When their first album appeared in 1984, they called themselves Titãs and became the main force in Brazil’s young scene. With eight composers, five of whom were also lead singers, it was more a collective than a closely knit band, so they were able to try out many of the pop options in the early 80s, including punk, new wave, reggae and funk. To some extent they became Brazil’s answer to The Clash but were never an integral part of Brazil’s punk-wave underground of the period. At the same time, they never became a colourless commercial band. In 1985 Antunes was jailed for having heroin. This experience and the growing fragility of Brazil’s young democracy led to the band’s masterpiece “Cabeça Dinossauro” (1986). The Titãs’ career culminated in 1988 in a wild show at the Hollywood Rock Festival in Rio, which drew international attention and led to their appearance in Montreux a year later.
At the same time Antunes carried on writing lyrics, painting pictures, staging exhibitions and publishing art magazines. In 1989 he was the curator of the exhibition “The Artist’s Look” in the MAC, the Museum of Contemporary Art in São Paulo. With 300 other artists he took part in the performance “d´A Revolução Francesa”, a presentation of Marat’s life. His interest in visual poetry brought him and his works into the forward-looking exhibitions “Transfutur, Visuelle Poesie/Transfuture, visual poetry” in Kassel and "p0es1e — digitale dichtkunst/p0es1e – digital poetry" in the Am Market gallery in Annaberg-Burchholz. In his spare time Antunes also wrote songs with Jorge Ben and Marina Lima and sang on Marisa Monte’s second LP “Mais”.
The confines of a band were not enough to constrain this active individualist, so he left the band. His solo debut "Nome" appeared in 1993, the year when Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil set his poem “As coisas” to music for their album “Tropicalia 2”. In 1994 his visual works were shown at several important national exhibitions, and he brought his various artistic activities together under the title of his debut album “Nome” in working with Zaba Moreau at the important Graz avant-garde art festival Steirischer Herbst. “Nome” was then performed in various places in Brazil, and a video was made and issued under the same title and shown abroad in various lands.
In 1995 his album “Ninguém” was published. Produced by Liminha, it revealed Antunes borrowing from US alternative styles and the plethora of Brazilian sounds. In 1996 he appeared Marisa Monte’s home-movie “Barulhinho Bom” together with Carlinhos Brown, and his poetry gained more acclaim, as shown for instance by its inclusion in the anthology “Norte y Sur de la Poesia Iberoamericana - Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Spain, Mexico, Venezuela”. But though his art too was continually on show, music led him back to the Titãs for recordings for the DVD “Titãs Acoustic”. Till 2001 there appeared further solo albums: “O Silêncio” (1996), “Um Som” (1998) and “Paradeiro” (2001), the third of which was produced by Carlinhos Brown.
What then happened seems almost inevitable but took place quietly. Monte, Brown and Antunes met in Marina Monte’s house for spontaneous sessions, wrote songs and produced the album “Tribalistas”. Its appearance in Brazil in 2002 was sensational. This project from an anti-supergroup finally won a platinum and topped the charts in Italy and Portugal. The album reminded many critics of the tropicalistas and gained a Latin Grammy in 2003. The next year Arnaldo Antunes issued “Saiba”, his first solo disc on his own label, Rosa Celeste, which showed him still exploiting the variegated maverick freedom of the tribalistas. In 2005 the tour in the album’s wake led him to Europe but not before one of his dreams had come true. On the CD he sang “Hinos do Placar” the hymn of the Santos Futebol Club, of which he has been a fan since childhood.
His works continue to show his versatility and willingness to change. As a performance artist, author and musician, he remains unforeseeable and is quick to exploit new opportunities in and between the arts, ensuring him a unique status in more than Brazil’s current music scene.
Arnaldo Augusto Nora Antunes was born on 2nd September, 1960, in São Paulo as the fourth of seven children. After going to primary school he went to the high school run by the catholic university in São Domingos, Perdizes. At this time he began painting and writing his first poems. On changing to the Equipe High School in 1975 he found his artistic leanings encouraged, got to know most of the later members of the band Titãs and wrote his first novel, “Camaleão”.
In 1979 his family moved to Rio de Janeiro, where Antunes began making his first experimental film “Jimi Gogh”, a Super 8 film about van Gogh and Jimi Hendrix.
In 1980 went back without his family to São Paulo and married Go, his first wife. They spent the first two years of their marriage in the house of the artist José Roberto Aguilar, with whom they then founded Banda Performática. Antunes also published the magazine Almanak 80 and shared with Paulo Miklos the first prize for their lyrics at the FAAP Music Festival.
In 1981 he published a new magazine, Kataloki (Almanak 81), together with Beto Borges, Sergio Papi and Nuno Ramos then in 1982 he performed for the first time in the band Titãs do Ieiê, whose first album, “Titãs” appeared in 1984. The band’s masterpiece “Cabeça Dinossauro” appeared two years later. While continuing his career as a musician, Arnaldo remained active as an author, and his first collection of poems “Ou e” appeared in 1983. In 1989 he was the curator of the exhibition “The Artist Look” in the Museum of Contemporary Art (MAC) in São Paulo. There followed many albums, exhibitions and books, of which he has now written eight. In 2003 the album “Tribalistas” won the triple platinum award in Brazil as well as platinum awards in Italy and Portugal.
Iê iê iê
Ao vivo no estúdio
Nome - relançamento
CD and DVD. BMG
ET Eu Tu
Cosac & Naify: São Paulo
Iluminuras: São Paulo
Published by João Bandeira. Iluminuras: São Paulo
Zona de Obras / Tan: Barcelona
2 ou + corpos no mesmo espaço
Perspectiva: São Paulo
Part of the project "Nome" with video and CD. BMG.
Iluminuras: São Paulo
Iluminuras: São Paulo
Iluminuras: São Paulo
Edition of the artist: São Paulo
Tudo ao Mesmo Tempo Agora
WEA – 1991
Õ Blesq Blom
WEA – 1989
WEA – 1988
Jesus Não Tem Dentes no País dos Banguelas
WEA – 1987
WEA – 1986
WEA – 1985
WEA - 1984
Exhibition / Installation
MOSTRA GRÁFICA BRASIL 89
Instituto Nacional de Artes Gráficas - Rio de Janeiro / RJ
Museu de Arte Contemporânea da Universidade de São
PUC - São Paulo / SP
Galeria Jamile Helou Frontini - São Paulo / SP, Brazil
Galeria Cultura - São Paulo, Brazil
This artist took part in the following project(s) organized/funded by the culturebase.net partner institutions.
(14 June 06 - 14 June 08)