Bento Araujo’s book Lindo Sonho Delirante documents the psychedelic music movement in Brazil, during the '60s and 70s with reviews of “the 100 trippiest Brazilian records you must own!” Each review also features a reproduction of the cover artwork. The title, which translates as a “beautiful delirious dream,” is apt for this beautiful book, as is the inherent “LSD” in the title.
In the must-read introduction, Araujo acknowledges that Brazil (like the rest of the world) was influenced by “Swinging London” and Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, but that his country is “a psychedelic country by nature,” with it’s own hypnotic-sounding traditional instruments helping to inform the Tropicalia movement that swept through the country in the late 1960s.
Araujo is both a journalist and a record collector, and he wisely provides some historical background and cultural context instead of simply a record review. That’s smart, because a lot of these artists were unknown to me. Since it is organized chronologically, readers will notice musicians and groups popping in and out, collaborating and influencing musical movements. Most world music fans know at least the names Gilberto Gil or Caetano Veloso, but how about Os Mutantes, whom the author calls the country’s most popular rock band. Or that Veloso, Gilberto Gil, and Tom Zé would all collaborate with Os Mutantes.
The full page repros of the album cover art certainly help tell this tale as well, and the quality is amazing. Echoes of Fillmore-style posters, Blue Note album covers, Parliament Funkadelic, progressive rock and a dash of punk rock illustrate this period of Brazilian music. I particularly liked the covers of Blow Up’s debut album, Pedro Santos Krishnanda, and Mutantes A Divina Comédia. Manduka’s debut album eerily foreshadows Ben Harper’s Welcome To the Cruel World, and Gal Costa’s debut cover could easily sit aside any funk, soul or disco classic
If all you know of Brazilian music is samba and bossa nova, this book and a streaming app will open up a whole new world to explore. With LSD on my lap (the book, silly), and Spotify at the ready, I entered a truly brave new world, albeit 45+ years down the road. Some of the music is indeed trapped in its time and some was simply not my cup of tea, but Bento Araujo’s books provides a fascinating “signpost to a new space, “ as Jerry Garcia might have said.
UPDATE: Lindo Sonho Delirante is currently unavailable from Amazon, but can be purchased directly here.
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