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CD HERÓI DO MEDO (2002) - Carlos Lyra


No one can guess what would have happened to this record, if it had been released normally as anticipated (in vinyl) in 1974. But it wasn’t. And now, on the occasion of its re-release in CD, it has more of the character and the importance of a historical record than that merely marking a musical career.

I had just returned from Mexico, after a self exile of seven years, returning to Brazil in mid- Garrasatzu Medici After other phonographic attempts impaired by the market trends and the censorship in force at the time, I opted to audaciously sound off in an energetic and political reply to the uncertainties of the time. This resulted in a record that today could even been considered “dark”.

At the time, prior to release, the LP was prohibited by the censorship offices, due inclusively to its title, Hero of Fear. I addressed a letter to Brasilia justifying (deceitfully) the lyrics of the songs (all with my own music and lyrics) that had provoked the fury of the censorship office. Namely, the title song HERÓI DO MEDO and, in addition, O SEGREDO, O MUTILADO, SUPERAMOR and ERA UMA VEZ A HISTÓRIA. The letter fell into the hands of some liberal in Brasília who authorized the release of the record two years later. Except that it was too late, since I was now to be found in a new self-exile of yet another two years, not even being present to promote the record that, in my absence, resulted in “No one knew, no one saw” -- and no one heard.

In addition to the inflammatory songs, the record included, however, very lyrical songs such as CARA BONITA (mine alone), CANAÃ (with Ruy Guerra), RANCHO EM BRANCO E PRETO (with Ronaldo Bôscoli), AMANDA (with Jésus Rocha) and “PULSARS” (instrumental). Even the inflammatory lyrics are set to lyrical melodies in contrast.

At the time of the record, I was so far from home, in other words, far from the spirit of “love, smiles and flowers” of Bossa Nova, that when, on my return from my second self-exile in 1976, I showed the LP to a few people, they responded in unusual ways. Marcos Valle, for example, thought I had gone insane. On the other hand, Sergio Mendes and my wife Kate (both, each in their own way, Brazilians made in the United States) adored it all. An intimate group for whom I made a private audition were so indignant that I ended up feeling the way Stravinsky must have felt during the fiasco of the first presentation in Paris of Rites of Spring. The best reaction was that of my friend Cartola who, on telling him of the record’s prohibition, went into a store near the bar we were chatting at, courageously bought it and asked that they put it on the record player so it could be heard on the street. I’ll never forget the look of perplexity on his face when the first song began to play: ERA UMA VEZ A HISTÓRIA.

In spite of all the drawbacks (including the arrangements underlined by electronic keyboards, very much in vogue at the time) the record gives an account of a phase of my life and career where I, in turn, found myself incensed by those who used, without limit, despotism and intolerance, in addition to those who, through the complicity of opportunism and self-indulgence, were in collusion with the state of things at that time. To them was dedicated and addressed the HEROI DO MEDO.

Carlos Lyra

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