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Chico Buarque (born Francisco Buarque de Hollanda, 19 Jun 1944, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - also known as Chico Buarque de Hollanda), is a singer, composer, dramatist, and writer, although he is best known for his music, which often comments on Brazilian social, economic & cultural issues.
Chico came from an intellectual and privileged family background. Sérgio Buarque de Hollanda, his father, was a well-known historian and sociologist. Aurélio Buarque de Hollanda, his lexicographer uncle, is as strongly associated with Brazilian
dictionaries as Webster is with American English
He was a studious child, precocious in music & writing, and was heavily impressed by bossa nova
- specifically, João Gilberto
Chico made his public debut as musician and composer in 1964, rapidly building his reputation at music festivals and television variety shows. His self-titled debut album exemplified the work to come, with catchy sambas characterized by inventive wordplay and an undercurrent of nostalgic tragedy.
Chico's increasing political activity against the Brazilian military dictatorship resulted in his arrest in 1968, and eventual self-exile to Italy in 1969. Other important musicians like Caetano Veloso
and Gilberto Gil
experienced the same fate. Chico returned to Brazil in 1970, using his fame and song-writing skills to protest against the dictatorship. At this time his lightly-veiled protest single Apesar de você
(Despite you) somehow passed by the gaze of military censors, becoming the democracy movement's anthem. After selling over 100,000 copies, the single was eventually repressed, and all copies were removed from the market. Despite the censorship, songs such as Samba De Orly
(Samba of Orly; 1970), Acorda Amor
(Wake Up, Darling; 1974), and Vai Passar
(It Will Pass; 1983) made Chico's continuing opposition blatant.
During the 1970s and 1980s, Chico collaborated with filmmakers, playwriters, and musicians in further protest works against the dictatorship.
In 1998, the carnival samba school Mangueira took Chico as its annual theme, winning first prize.
His latest book, Budapeste, achieved great critical acclaim and won the Prêmio Jabuti, a Brazilian literary award similar to The Booker Prize Award.
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