What Is True/Slant?
275+ knowledgeable contributors.
Reporting and insight on news of the moment.
Follow them and join the news conversation.

Aug. 4 2009 - 6:31 am | 67 views | 0 recommendations | 3 comments

Brazil’s Secret Musical Weapon: Jards Macalé (includes exclusive photos)

Jards Macalé (left) With Waly Salomão

Jards Macalé (right) With Waly Salomão

This month, I published a long feature about Brazilian musician Jards Macalé in one of my favorite American magazines, Wax Poetics. Jards Macalé is an overlooked musical genius, and one I bet will be discovered and rediscovered hundreds of times before gaining recognition as one of the most influential creators (I purposefully use a broader term than the simple musician) of the artistically rich 1970s in Brazil. Wax Poetics magazine’s summer issue focuses all its attention on Brazil, and includes takeouts on Gilberto Gil, Tim Maia, and others. I interviewed Macalé via phone, and though I knew how immersed he had been in the wider artistic, literary and design work of Brazil’s counterculture, he surprised me by talking almost exclusively about interdisciplinary cooperation. Our conversation, reflected in my piece, touched on a mind-boggling quantity of names. 1248375172-waxpoetics__issue36ju_101bMacalé, and his long-haired, bohemian friends, helped turn Brazil, despite its military dictatorship, into a cultural engine. Macalé, in a way, ties them all together: psychedelic poet Waly Salomão, maverick artist Helio Oiticica (who lived for a stint in New York); columnist, lyricist and poet Torquato Neto who wrote in a sort of coded slang in the newspapers in order to avoid censorship, but killed himself in 1972; sculptor Lygia Clark, famous for her bichos or ‘critters’; not to mention the musicians Macalé collaborated with– Caetano Veloso of Tropicália fame, Maria Bethania (Veloso’s sister), Gal Costa, Clara Nunes, and Nara Leão, to name only a few. Real Grandeza, Macalé’s 2005 double album featuring his collaborations with poet Salomão, is available on Amazon as an import. Wax Poetics magazine #36 can also be ordered online. Below are exclusive photos of Jards and friends provided by his agent Maria Braga, including a few not included in the Wax Poetics article (click to enlarge):


3 Total Comments
Post your comment »
  1. collapse expand

    Awesome. I will check this man out. I’ve been meaning to post something about the (too) slow discovery of cumbia I’ve been living since I got to Mexico. I need more music in my life. Thanks.

Log in for notification options
Comments RSS

Post Your Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment

Log in with your True/Slant account.

Previously logged in with Facebook?

Create an account to join True/Slant now.

Facebook users:
Create T/S account with Facebook

My T/S Activity Feed


    About Me

    Readers, thanks for your eyeball time, please send tips, corrections, complaints, rants, etc. My email is ballve [at] gmail.com. I was born in Buenos Aires and raised there and in Atlanta, Mexico City and Caracas. I've written and reported on Latin America for almost a dozen years. I started out as an Associated Press reporter and editor in the agency’s Brazil and Caribbean bureaus. In 2007 I co-founded El Sol de San Telmo, a community newspaper in Buenos Aires. I am now a contributing editor for the nonprofit New America Media, Americas correspondent for Amsterdam-based Research World magazine (publication of the international association of market and public opinion researchers), and a 2010-2011 Lemann Fellow at the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA).

    See my profile »
    Followers: 43
    Contributor Since: June 2009

    What I'm Up To

    • For longer pieces, and a portfolio of published work please see my web page.


    • nam

      Since 2002 I have been a contributing editor at New America Media, where I write about Latin America and the politics of immigration in the United States.

    • 1248375172-waxpoetics__issue36ju_101b

      Wax Poetics issue #36, with my essay on Brazilian singer-songwriter Jards Macalé.

    • +O
    • +O
    • +O