Filhos de João, O Admirável Mundo Novo Baiano / Sons of João, The Admirable New Baiano World

By - 30 August, 2011

Being a huge fan of Os Novos Baianos I was always going to enjoy Filhos de João, O Admirável Mundo Novo Baiano, the story of the group. The film, which has been retitled Sons of João, The Admirable New Baiano World in English, tells the story of Os Novos Baianos from their initial beginnings in Bahia to the fame they reached in the early 70s, especially around the time they released Acabou Chorare.

The film is driven by interviews with all of the group, which included three main singers, songwriter and a countless number of musicians, as well as Tom Zé, who had a role in the forming of the group and continued to champion them thereafter. All members tell of how they met in Bahia before relocating to Rio de Janeiro and eventually deciding to find a communal home outside of the city. This leads them to Jacarepaguá and is where the story gets really interesting.

However, there was one important development that happened before they relocated to the countryside and that was a chance meeting with João Gilberto, something which we detailed in another story on Sounds and Colours: How João Gilberto Turned Os Novos Baianos From Hendrix Worship to Recording the Greatest Brazilian Album of All Time. It was through their meetings with João that they realised that they needed to embrace traditional Brazilian music and instrumentation as well as experiment with new developments such as amplification and to take great passion in their lyrics, something they’d always done anyway.

So, when the group moved to Jacarepaguá they already had a very good idea of their sound. The rest was all about a way of life. Living in a communal house with new babies arriving they set themselves a number of rules which involved doing everything together, always eating together, keeping all their money together, and always playing music and football together every day. It was from this environment that Acabou Choraré arose and became a huge hit in Brazil, where it is still regarded as a classic to this day. In fact, the Brazilian people are so in love with Os Novos Baianos that this documentary on it’s release in Brazil this summer became the first completely-Bahian production to be released simultaneously in cinemas across the country since 1961, interest sparked by the popularity of the group.

Filhos de João, O Admirável Mundo Novo Baiano was directed by Henrique Dantas and he does an excellent job in documenting the early-70s period with the group at the peak of their powers. The film ends quite abruptly after this period with very little of what happened to the group in the late-70s or any mention of their reunion in the 90s, but ultimately the most interesting period is that around the early-70s when the group essentially redefined Brazilian music and, in the process, showed a new way of life.

We can’t find any trailers for the film with English subtitles, so here is one in Portuguese:

Filhos de João, O Admirável Mundo Novo Baiano / Sons of João, The Admirable New Baiano World is showing as part of the 3rd Brazilian Film Festival of London. Find out more about the festival here.


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