belchior, “a palo seco”

I thought a lot about which song I should upload first but in the end I just decided to stick to whatever I was listening at the moment. It turned out to be Belchior’s “A Palo Seco”, which is a great song from an incredibly underrated artist. Belchior is a singer-songwriter who was pretty big back in the seventies, though now he’s the epitome of ‘uncool’ and unfashionable. “A Palo Seco” is one of his more political songs – there’s the somewhat silly dream of an united Latin American – and certainly is his biggest hit to date.

But none of that matters. “A Palo Seco” is a very 70’s songs, lyrics and music-wise. It perfectly captures the hazy decadency of Brazil around that time; there’s a very subtle melancholy underlining it. Belchior’s vocals are delightfully sluggish, as in a lazy sunday afternoon. There’s hope there, but it’s very feeble; the whole deal is about the restrained feeling of hopelessness Belchior conveys. The arrangement – which could be a backing track for a Sinatra song, albeit the pervasive mariachi feel to it – also plods along lazily, in no hurry, merging perfectly with Belchior vocals. Tough times those were: Brazilian military dictatorship was more strict than ever, civil rights were all but revoked, economic growth started to stall, the resistance to the regime was crushed…Tough times indeed.

So, rejoice with this song. Download “A Palo Seco” and buy Belchior’s records.


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