Produced by Samba Society
Artistic Director: Beto González
Co-Producers: Simon Carroll / Bobby Easton

Special thanks to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for their continuing support of the John Anson Ford Theatres. The Ford Theatres are owned by the County of Los Angeles and operated in partnership with the Ford Theatre Foundation and the Department of Parks and Recreation.

ACT I - Os Anos de Chumbo (The Years of Lead)

Fado Tropical

Chico Buarque
Ruy Guerra

Born to an elite family of intellectuals, Chico Buarque is a brilliant songwriter, playwright, and author, and was one of the most censored artists of his generation. 

"Fado Tropical" is a fado with spoken word by the Portuguese poet and writer Roy Guerra. Fado is a popular Portuguese musical genre, and the song narrates a fictitious first-person experience of a colonist in the Portuguese colony of Brazil. The song makes references to the April 1964 military coup of Brazil, and Guerra's poem metaphorically highlights the military regime's casual use of torture. 


Maurício Tapajós
Paulo César Pinheiro

Prolific composers, Tapajós and Pinheiro, purportedly were able to get this song past censors by submitting this composition into a stack of silly songs and love ballads submitted all together at one time. The song mocks the regime's repression and censorship.

"You cut one verse, and I just write another...
You imprison me alive, I escape dead...
Oh, how you fear us..."

Comportamento Geral
(General Behavior)

Luiz Gonzaga Jr. 


The Rio-born Luiz Gonzaga Jr., popularly known as "Gonzaguinha", was the son of the legendary King of Baião, Luiz Gonzaga. He had a troubled relationship with his famous father, due in part to their political differences. Gonzaguinha's compositions were very overtly critical of the government, and often referenced the plight of the working class.

This song mocks the idea of putting the nation above one's own interests and well-being in the name of patriotism.

Deixa Eu Dizer
(Let Me Say)

Ivan Lins

Ivan Lins, like many of his peers including Gonzaguinha, was part of the university student movement that protested for Brazil's return to democracy. This song basically demands that one be allowed to "speak freely" and is a condemnation of censorship.


Chico da Silva
Antônio José

A slow samba love ballad about a bad relationship made famous by the great samba singer, Alcione. Though not overtly political in its lyrics, the song title can be seen as a metaphor for the repressive regime. Alcione's albums of the time included a number of suggestive references in song and album titles.

Amanhã ou depois / Achados e Perdidos / Pequena Memória Para um Tempo Sem Memória (A Legião dos Esquecidos)
(Tomorrow or After / Found and Lost / Small Memory for a Time Without Memory (The Legion of the Forgotten)

Luiz Gonzaga Jr.

A medley of Gonzaguinha compositions, the songs reference the many disappearances, torture, and death of dissidents. Released after the political abertura (opening) of the late 1970s, when the regime began to relax its censorship and brutality and to allow exiles to return without prosecution, the songs also seem to criticize the lack of punishment for the perpetrators of torture, which was famously swept under the rug in the name of "moving forward."

"There are crosses, with no names, with no bodies, no dates
Memory of a time when fighting for your rights was a 'problem" that got you killed..."

ACT II part 1 - Resistência (Resistence) 

Baião da Garoa
(Rain Baião)

Luiz Gonzaga
Hervé Cordovil


Luiz Gonzaga Jr.


Luiz Gonzaga

This set of tunes is dedicated to the great accordionist and performer, Luiz Gonzaga, who single-handedly popularized the rural styles of forró to mainstream audiences beginning in the 1940s, earning him the title of King of Baião. Gonzaga's compositions, many with lyrics by songwriting partners (as is quite customary in Brazilian popular music) often reflected the plight of the northeastern migrant to the big cities in the south. His immense body of work is a songbook of the struggle and quotidian life of the poor and working class Brazil.


ACT II part 2 - Resistência

Mosca na Sopa
(Fly in Your Soup)

Raul Seixas

Raul Seixas was a rock singer and composer from the state of Bahia. His longtime songwriting partner was the author Paulo Coelho of The Alchemist fame. His outlandish compositions blended rock with regional genres, Afro-Brazilian and psychedelic grooves. He was likely a thorn in the side of the military regime, and was supposedly tortured before going into exile in the US.

This song suggests that protestors are like "flies" in the soup of oppression. You can swat, spray, and kill one, but there will always be another one to take its place...

Mané João

Erasmo Carlos
Roberto Carlos

The songwriting partners of no relation, despite the common surname, were the biggest stars of the Jovem Guarda (Young Guard) movement, which embraced the American and British rock and roll invasion of the 1960s. Jovem Guarda artists were often criticized for a lack of social and political engagement in favor of pop fame and television celebrity. 


Bobby Easton

This is an original tune by Os Zagueiros, part of the Samba Society collective. It is a reflection of the current political climate of Brazil. 

O Bêbado e a Equilibrista
(The Drunkard and the Tightrope Walker)

João Bosco
Aldir Blanc

Samba de Roda
(Circle Samba)

traditional / public domain

The songwriting duo of Bosco and Blanc composed some of the decade's biggest anthems. Blanc's lyrics brilliantly employed extremely complex themes and metaphor, with cynical social commentary. This song, a great samba recorded by the guitarist Bosco, makes numerous oblique references to famous characters that were tortured, killed, exiled, or disappeared during the peak of the regime's repression.



The traditional samba de roda is a percussion-based folkloric music and accompanying social dance that originated in the state of Bahia. It is the precursor to the popular urban samba. The Samba de Roda of the Recôncavo of Bahia was inscribed by UNESCO in 2008 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity (originally proclaimed in 2005).

ACT III - Abertura (Opening)

Não Chore Mais
(Cry No More)

No Woman No Cry

Vincent Ford
Portuguese lyrics by Gilberto Gil

Former Minister of Culture (2003-08) Gilberto Gil, was one of the major figures of the short-lived Tropicália movement of the late 60s, along with his lifelong songwriting partner Caetano Veloso, and Tom Zé, among others. Gil and Veloso were both jailed in 1969 and subsequently exiled, both settling in London for several years. 

This version of the famous Bob Marley song reflects on the healing of the country after the brutal years of the dictatorship, paralleling the song's original connotation of a Jamaica free from British rule. It also highlights the enormous influence that reggae music had on Brazil, especially on the blocos afros of Salvador da Bahia.

Energia Racional / Batata Frita, O Ladrão de Bicicleta / Guiné Bissau, Moçambique e Angola
(Rational Energy / Fried Potato, the Bicycle Thief / Guinea Bissau, Mozambique and Angola)


Tim Maia

This set of tunes is our tribute to the great Tim Maia and his enormous influence on our band Os Zagueiros, and to the "Black Soul" movement of 1970s Brazil. Tim Maia is the Godfather of Brazilian funk and soul music. Having lived in the US for several years in his youth before being deported, Maia was heavily influenced by American Black Music. He was originally a part of the Jovem Guarda cohort before they were famous, but was left behind when his peers began to achieve commercial success. He eventually caught up and became a major star in his own right.

Energia Racional and Guiné Bissau were recorded during an unusual phase in which Tim Maia joined the Universo em Desencanto (Universe in Disenchantment) cult. He self-released two albums (plus a third unfinished volume) of the Racional series, which was completely devoted to his newfound religion. Unable to distribute his records due to their bizarre preaching, Tim Maia eventually came to his senses a few years later, and disavowed the cult. He then destroyed his copies of the album along with the master tapes. Today, Racional Volume 1 and Volume 2 vinyl records are extremely rare and worth hundreds of dollars by collectors and are considered to be masterpieces of Brazilian funk.