Multi-instrumentalist Marco Antonio Araujo (1949-1986) recorded only a handful albums before his untimely death in 1986, but in his brief career he established himself as one of Brazil's preeminent prog-rock musicians, shaping lyrical, grandiose sonic epics, often with a folkie musical tint. Before emerging as a solo artist, Araujo was a veteran of the 1970s musical and theatrical scenes -- he had gone abroad to England and fell under the spell of British rock music, which became an integral part of his own compositions and improvisations. Here's a quick look at his work...
Vox Populi "Vox Populi" (Musidisc, 1969)
Cool stuff! Swinging samba-pop, very much in the same mode as Sergio Mendes and his various bands. And the connection isn't just stylistic: Vox Populi's female singer Gracinho Leporace, who used to be in Grupo Manifesto, later married Mendes, and lived with him in the States. This is bouncy, giddy, goofy, and pretty enjoyable pop, with big, bright vocal choruses and sweeping, lush melodies. Loungecore and MPB fans alike should enjoy this album, as should prog fans interested in the career of guitarist Marco Antonio Araujo, who apparently made his debut here. Two other members wet on to form the challenging psychedelic/proto-prog band Som Imaginario... quite a lineage here!
Marco Antonio Araujo "Influencias" (1981)
Flowery but for-real folky prog from Brazil, with expansive electric guitars, shimmering keyboards and a lot of tootly flute. It's like Mike Oldfield, Stevie Vai, George Harrison and Edu Lobo prancing through a field of flowers together, with that guy from Jethro Tull playing Pied Piper under the shade of an apple tree... Yeah, it's pretty goofy, but I think for prog fans, this is definitely an artist to have on your radar. Araujo builds on huge, epic jam sessions, particularly the two ten-minute long pieces that bookend this album, "Panoramica" and "Folk Song," but all the songs are over five minutes and share a similarly grandiose vibe. This is considered by many to be a touchstone of Brazilian prog... and it certainly is a solid album for the genre.
Marco Antonio Araujo "Quando A Sorte Te Solta Um Cisne Na Noite" (1982)
Marco Antonio Araujo "Entre Um Silencio E Outro" (1983) (LP)
Marco Antonio Araujo "Lucas" (1984)
Marco Antonio Araujo "Animal Racional" (1984) (LP)
Main Brazil Index