Novos Baianos F.C. (1973)
Directed by Solano Ribeiro
co-produced with TV Bandeirantes with German TV (?)
Another Carnaval is over and I am free to write about non-Brazilian music but I’d been thinking of posting this for months and months now, so here it goes.
This 30-minute documentary filmed at Novos Baianos’ own commune in the western part of Rio de Janeiro, a place they called the ‘Sitio de Vovô’ in Jacarepaguá, is a riveting glimpse into this once-in-a-universe band at the peak of their creative and musical powers. A musical band deciding to ‘drop out’, go “off the grid” or whatnot, and live communally is not in itself unique. I refer the reader to any of the coveted albums of Father Yod and The Source Family. However while those albums are mind-blowing in their utter unworldliness, with some of them falling squarely in the ‘outsider artist’ category and verge on sheer unlistenable excruciating aural abuse, Novos Baianos made some of the most coherent, flexible, and just damn beautiful music you’re likely to ever hear. They were all top notch musicians with a profound knowledge of and respect for their musical predecessors in Brazil, but expanded on those roots with all the splendor of a sprawling jaqueira or pé de manga tree. Perhaps one that’s been injected with 1000 µg of LSD-25.
Although this documentary made the rounds at some film festivals a few years ago, I have yet to know about an official release of this valuable relic. So instead I am presenting here the full documentary in the same quality you can find on YouTube, sadly, but at least here it is all in one place for ease of viewing. And the sound is pretty decent as well.
There are some interested interview segments but the highlights are the musical performances. Even though the segue from futebol into an ‘impromptu’ performance of ‘Preta Pretinha’ seems utterly contrived and staged to me, I still think it’s cool as hell and some great film-making. Incidentally, the film ends (after the final credits) with a full-tilt acid rock jam that as far as I know never appeared on any albums and which I suspect may not even have a name. It wouldn’t sound out of place on an Amon Duul album. It’s pretty jarring, with some bizarre still shots of the band hanging around doing nothing particular besides sitting in window frames or behind potted plants or other oddities.
Oh yes, I have to mention that I find Baby Consuelo incredibly sexy throughout the entire thing. Even though she seems to have ingested a half pound of Psilocybin before filming, and I suspect I would probably have had a hard time finishing a conversation with her, I don’t really care. She was beautiful and completely unique, just totally charismatic in the way she seemingly just didn’t give a shit about how an MPB star or rock singer was supposed to comport themselves. Also, she is from another planet, which is always a turn on for me.
Novos Baianos continued to make great music during the rest of their existence as a band, but this is a truly special document of a time before egos and business got in the way of it all.
in AVI FORMAT
*note that some sources (including the overlay on this file itself) put the date at 1975. Perhaps that was the broadcast date but I have no doubt that was filmed around 1973.