Chico Buarque – MPB Especial TV Cultura 1973 (2010)


Chico Buarque
MPB Especial
produced by TV Cultura 1973
Released on DVD via Biscioto Fino 2010
Este MPB Especial foi gravado em 1973, poucos anos depois do retorno de Chico Buarque do auto-exílio na Itália, ainda na Ditadura Militar. E, por meio de um relato sobre sua produção artística da época, registrou-se um documento significativo não somente para a compreensão da obra do autor, mas também por expor faces e nuances de seu processo de criação.

Meu Refrão – Citação
Amanhã Ninguém Sabe – Citação
Deus Lhe Pague
Ela Desatinou / Construção – Citação
Samba De Orly
Ilmo Sr. Ciro Monteiro – Citação
Hino Do Politheama
Cuidado Com A Outra
Bom Conselho
Soneto – Citação
Olê, Olá
Boi Voador Não Pode – Citação
Flor Da Idade

What a wonderful surprise and delight when I walked into my favorite record/bookstore and saw this DVD on the shelf. It is a brand new release of an old classic program — MPB Especial on TV Cultura, the program where you never hear the questions, just the answers. I don’t know why they did it that way, and it kind of drives me insane, but that was their “thing” and there is nothing we can do about it now… In fact the result in the case of this particular program is that we get to watch Chico smoke a lot of cigarettes while he listens to the long-winded questions of the interviewer that the audience never hears…

This interview/performance sees Chico at a fascinating point in his career. Recently returned from his self-imposed exile in Europe, he is recently or currently involved in some of his most important albums — the pivotal masterwork, Construção (1971), the soundtrack for Caça Dieges’s film ‘Quando o Carnaval Chegar’ (1972), and the album Chico Canta (1973) which would contain a great deal of songs from the theatrical piece ‘Calabar’ written with Ruy Guerra, and which would have been its soundtrack album. “Calabar” was banned by the military government from opening as a theatre piece — and not only that, but it was prohibited to TELL anybody that it had been censured and banned!! At the time of this filming, Chico is still working on the play with Guerra and none of the bad stuff as happened yet… Or, perhaps I am wrong and it has — three of the songs that suffered the most from censorship, “Cala Boca Bárbara”, “Anna de Amisterdam” e “Vence na Vida Quem Diz Sim” (these last two were treated like Milton Nascimento had done with Milagre dos Peixas — removing the lyrics entirely and making them into instrumentals..) — do not appear at all in this interview. Of course, they could have been edited out subsequently to the filming. In between these two albums Chico had also issued collaborative efforts for the soundtrack to the Carlos Diegues film “Quando o Carnaval Chegar” and a live album shared with Caetano Veloso.

Some of the more revelatory things about the interview is the fact that, a) Chico doesn”t remember a lot of his own songs.. In something that might be called the stance of a ‘true artist’, he focuses all his energy on a piece until it is done being written and recorded, and then he lets it go and moves on to the next thing. The result here is seeing him start playing a lot of tunes (at the request of the invisible interviewer) and stopping saying, ‘I don’t remember the rest” or “I don’t remember anything.” I find this fascinating because, unlike, say, Alice Cooper being too drunk to remember his own songs, this is Chico f’ing Buarque, the sober intellectual, and his fans probably remember these songs better than he does. Other wonderful moments are b) listening to him talk about the writing process, and the fact that he didn’t write lyrics before the music — which is contrary to what I had always thought about him. In fact he claims he *can’t* write the words until the music is there — and I am not sure if I believe him about this! He is also asked to give an opinion about his friend and partner Vinicius de Moraes, to which he gives kind of a hilarious response beginning with “A gente não tem opinão do Vinicius…”, which along with what follows amounts to saying in English, “You don’t have an’opinion’ about Vinicius. Vinicius just IS.” He goes on to talk about their ‘confused but beautiful’ relationship, having known each other via Vinicius’ friendship with his father, famed historian and intellectual Sergio Buarque de Hollanda (whose book ‘Raizes do Brazil’ is still required reading, by the way). Later, we learn that c) Chico spent a fair amount of his time in Italy bored out of his mind and occupying his time by designing imaginary cities and inventing a board game based on Monopoly but involving football (soccer).

More reflections about the bizarre format of the invisible and unheard interviewer… It appears that the working method of TV Cultura was to have the interviewer in another room and giving his questions via a feedback monitor speaker, probably placed on the ground or on a wall. This is deduced by the fact that Chico frequently can’t hear the questions very well and has to ask them to be repeated (O que??), something that I have noticed in other interviews for this program. I guess they didn’t want anybody else in the camera shot, or disturbing the intimate performances? There is also a really beautiful woman hanging around inside the room taking photos of him, so perhaps he simply gets distracted. Also the absence of the questions can really and truly be frustrating — towards the end of the program the subject matter seems to veer from Chico’s opinions on God, literature, and Ruy Barbosa, with little for us (the audience) to hang onto in terms of a thread of continuity. I have a new theory about this weird way of presenting the material: because of the fact that everything had to be passed before draconic Brazilian censors during the dictatorship — song lyrics, television scripts, jouranlistm — perhaps TV Cultura was deliberately protecting itself by making the QUESTIONS unavailable? Thus, since it was anybody’s guess what Chico was responding to, there is no chance for a censor to say “You can’t ask that question.” … This is pure speculation on my part, perhaps someone who actually knows things can fill me in.

The musical performances and part-performances are wonderful, charming, and make me understand how even heterosexual men would make an exception for Chico. The guy is just too cool and beautiful. At one point he is asked (something?) about Nelson Cavaquinho, who had apparently claimed to be Chico’s godfather (in jest or symbolically, it seems), and Chico refuses to single out any favorite composition from Nelson, saying he loves them all, and then begins to play “Cuidado com a outra” only to stumble after the second phrase and end it. He says to the camera, smiling, “vou aprender… na próxima vez vou aprender as músicas para tocar no seu programa” (L’ll learn it. Next time, I’ll learn the songs to play on your show..” Who else but Chico Buarque could say this and not appear aloof or arrogant but rather candid and utterly sincere? “Show business” or even “performing” were never what it was all about for this guy. Shortly therafter, he rips into an incredible reading of one of his most evocative songs, “Cotidiano” from the album Construção. Hearing him play it here, just violão and voice, once again leaves me with only clichés to describe my reaction: goosebumps. A tingling down my spine to hear such a perfect matching of word, timbre, voice, and guitar, all of it acting together in complete unity, a unity inclusive of the dissonant guitar chords that he drops in the progression belying the ‘normality’ of life during the ‘Brazilian Miracle’ of the early 70s…

As proven by at least two recent boxsets which include DVDs and also Chico’s massive multi-DVD project from a few years ago, there is a lot of video available about Chico Buarque. And it is only fitting — he is the most important living songwriter in Brazil, period. But the ‘vintage’ of this performance, and the fact of it only being released now after so many years, makes this a must for any fan of Chico, and for historians or scholars of Brazilian intellectual history, music, or popular culture.

MKV file (playable in any media player worth its salt) missing the main menus but including subtitles in Portuguese and English

*note: this file seems to make some media players freak out. I highly recommend VLC Media Player, the open-source Swiss Army Nice of video, which plays it fine. Meanwhile, another format is on its way here, stay tuned

Full DVD in ISO format: part 1 // part 2 // part 3 // part 4

note: you MUST have all 3 files present on the same drive in order to unzip these

password in comments

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  1. password:


  2. free users are not allowed to download files larger than
    1 GByte. Sorry to report that.

  3. no Anon, I am glad you did — I can fix this. check back later

  4. That would be pretty cool! Many thanks in advance, stay tuned and a lot of thanks for all the other music here. This is a service to mankind!

  5. I swear, I thought the limit was 2GB. Maybe I`m wrong or maybe they changed it. Either way, keep your eyes open

  6. Looks great. I've heard the audio and it is indeed wonderful.

  7. Thanks a lot FV! Frequent visitor of your blog and love your taste, but now you have simply outdone yourself!

    I fell in love with this program ever since I saw the now classic "Elis Regina – MPB Especial" from '73. Do you know of any other available episodes? I know Nara Leao and Novos Baianos both appeared on the show… Is there any way to get my hands on them?

    Anyway, thanks a ton for this show. Chico is always class.

  8. Wow!! I love your blog, but this one… been looking for this since i saw it was out. Thanks so much! And i aree – Chico is THE greatest living songwriter.

  9. AV, there were a TON of people featured on this program. Elis and Nara were probably the first to be released on DVD, Cartola recently had his program released (you can find it broken into clips on YouTube, and who knows.. you may even find it here sometime). It seems that TV Cultura has opened up their vaults and that together with Trama they are released a mountain of stuff at the same time, so who knows what we will see soon. As far as people who have participated – Adoniran Barbosa, Domiguinhos, MPB-4, Nelson Cavaquinho, Nelson Sargento.. the list goes on and on. The comment above yours from pawlyshyn mentioned that they had heard the audio — I am guessing this person heard it on one of the rare boxsets issues by SESC in São Paulo, who released the audio portion of a bunch of these programs on CD. I would love to see the Novos Baianos installment released on DVD…

  10. Yes, Flabbergast, SESC São Paulo issued 8 boxsets containing a total of 100 CDs of the audio of these programs. I have four of them. The really amazing thing is that each comes with a book with a full transcription — great for learning Portuguese! Some of them have been edited to fit on a CD, though. They still seem to be for sale at, although shipping is likely to be an issue. Many of these have also been issued on DVD, and there are bootleg versions of many others out there.

  11. caramba pawlyshyn, I never knew SESC had an online store (and I have even been to see a show there in Sampa…)

    I got my hands on one of the boxes, from which I took this post of Domiguinhos

    I live in Brazil, at least for the time being, and so shipping is no big deal (although, like many unequal things about this country, it costs more to ship to the region I live in than just about anywhere besides Amazonas and Pará…) And yeah, those books they come with are really cool.

    Thanks so much for that link, I had no idea!

  12. pawlyshyn, you don't happen to have Vol.1 among those 4 boxes, do you? that one is totally gone forever (along with a famous Itamar Assumpão box..). I am getting all the rest

  13. ISO file is now in four parts

  14. pawlyshyn, I spoke with SESC on the phone. Buying everything they have. Incredible price, but the books don't exist any longer, totally esgotados. Still, the CDs are pretty precious too.

  15. Thank you for resplitting this gem. Many Thanks and merry Christmas.

  16. Is anyone else having trouble playing this? The iso version keeps crashing at about the 12-minute mark, and with the AVI version, I get a message that the file is broken. Only the first 3 1/2 minutes will play. Any ideas?

  17. hi pawlyshyn, I haven`t heard of anyone else having problems but if they are, I hope they speak up and report them here. For reasons I`ve rambled on about elsewhere, it would be more difficult for me to DL all those pieces of the ISO than it would be to upload them over again. And the original pieces are all gone off the drive now. Same with the AVI. ALTHOUGH, I did watch a fair bit of the AVI out of curiosity on how it looked, and it played fine for me. Sorry 🙁

  18. I have the exact same problem as pawlyshyn… 🙁

  19. thanks xxxbra.

    Not sure what happened but I will fix it!
    Turning off file encryption may be a start in the right direction.

    This is an .mkv video file, superior to AVI and only slightly larger. And it definitely works

    the rest will be fixed soon, maybe as early as this evening

  20. Obrigada, gostei muito!
    Fiquei conhecendo a música "Caçada", que eu desconheci totalmente…


  21. All the links are now updated, and the ISO file is playing just fine in VLC Player (open-source, the only one I use). Let me know if there is any further strangeness.

    Célia, left a message for your about that song "Caçada." It's from the Diegues film "Quando o Carnaval Chegar" and can be found on this blog, in fact…

  22. Thanks for fixing the ISO. Unfortunately, there are two part 4s, and no part 3!

  23. pawlyshyn I am sure I sound like an idiot, but not only was that a cut-and-pasting error but I also thought it had been fixed in a subsequent edit. Lately I have had some issues with Firefox not actually accepting my edits (or rather, the edit in question just doesn't appear as desired) and I have been using Chrome more and more, alas…

    it SHOULD be working now!

  24. Getting closer. I was able to open it with Unarchiver, but with a message that the file is corrupted. And with VLC, it will play till about the 30-minute mark, when it crashes. The saga continues!

  25. hey pawlyshyn, help me out and tell me whether you are trying to watch the AVI or the ISO? If it is the ISO, which part of the 4 parts is showing corruption? I actually tested them this time and they were fine, so possibly you got yourself an incomplete download? Also I have a friend halfway around the world who has been watching this with no problem (the AVI, I do believe)

  26. Just found your blog, and very happy to find all this great music, especially your collection of brazilian music which features almost all my favorite brazilian artists!

  27. Hi Flabb:
    Sorry for the delay. I''ve given up trying to get the ISO to work, but just to let you know, the first three parts download at 943.7MB, and part 4 is 600.7. When I try to expand the files, it seems to get to Part 4 before I get this message:

    The archive 'CB – MPBE73' could not be expanded, the file 'CHICO_BUARQUE.ISO' it contains seems to be broken.The password you entered may have been incorrect. Try again with the correct password.

    Any idea what might be wrong?

  28. you pawlyshyn, send me an email (to the flabbergasted blog address). This conversation is best taken offline, in my opinion. We'll figure it out together, hopefully

  29. thanks for your amazing blog, especially the brazilian music, really great rips and great and insight full introductions to them!

  30. thaaaankkk youuuu!!! thank you very mjuch!!
    muito obrigado mesmo…fazia muito tempo que eu estava procurando esse video…eu nao saibia que a biscoito fino tinha relançado esse programa…

    voce tem conhecimento do programa ensaio do jorge bem de 1972???
    muito obrigado mesmo
    voce faz trocas?? tenho alguns videos que te podiam interessar…
    meu e mail é
    um abraço
    e muito obrigado

  31. Thks a lot for sharing!

  32. Hi again Flabber,

    i can't find the download link in these post too. Any help?

    And i have a question: which is the best and safest free site to upload some audio and video files? I have some stuff that i would like to share, some of them are really hard to find.


  33. is it available yet?thanks in advance

  34. Flabber, could you please re-upload it? I'd really love to watch!!!

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