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Francisco, el Hombre Revive Chico Buarque’s Classic Song of Resistance, ‘Roda Viva’

By | 08 June, 2022

Brazilian-Mexican rock band Francisco, el Hombre present “Roda Viva”, their modernised version of Chico Buarque’s iconic resistance piece from 1967. The rendition comes about as part of the documentary soundtrack for The Coup D’état Factory, which uncovers the role of the media in Brazil’s long history of coup d’états. The group’s revival of “Roda Viva” serves as a wake-up call across Brazil, as they show how Brazil’s political climate isn’t so different today as it was during the coup of 1964, which spurred on the song’s initial creation. 

The song’s title, translating to ‘wheel of life’ in English, references the cyclical nature of Brazilian history, which is repeated to tragic effect. The lyrics ‘we want to have a voice…but behold, the living wheel arrives,’ uncover a more individualistic loop, that being the crippling cycles Brazilian individuals go through in their daily lives, as they face stifling monitoring and repression. The wheel is therefore a force of destruction, interrupting any attempts at social development from the Brazilian public in resistance to the regime. 

Buarque’s original mourns the death of expression, and his hopelessness at not being able to do more than what has already been done to activate change. El Hombre’s rendition maintains the same political urgency, yet tailors itself to an arguably more empowered generation, encouraging the continued resistance of the people of Brazil. The band increases the song’s pace, layering vocals, and introducing an addictive trill that infuses El Hombre’s raging personality into the lyrics. The song is musically complex, just like the content of the lyrics, and the context in which they were written.

In his original, Buarque laments that freedom of expression through art has been destroyed; El Hombre’s rendition in itself challenges this sentiment, both being a call to action to their fellow Brazilians, and a display of unapologetic artistic rebellion which sets the tone that Brazil’s war against its authoritarian leaders is far from over. 

Francisco, El Hombre performed, and Coup d’Etat Factory was screened, as part of The Week Of Fake News


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