Regarded as the "Bob Dylan of Brazil," Caetano Veloso has made an illustrious career as a creative and poetic musician and composer, transcending several genres while producing numerous hit songs. Born in 1942 in the state of Bahia, Veloso (along with his sister, renowned singer Maria Bethânia), went on to become a leading pioneer in the tropicália (or tropicalismo) movement of the 1960s, forging new musical paths while introducing international elements into Brazilian popular music.
Caetano's first successes were as a songwriter, and his early works were inspired by the bossa nova era sound of icons such as João Gilberto and Dori Caymmi. As he emerged as a performer, Veloso was influenced not only by the popular music of Brazil, but also began exploring the blending of Western rock and pop music sounds of The Beatles and other artists. Following the release of his debut album Domingo in 1967 (with singer Gal Costa), Veloso went on to spearhead the new tropicália movement along with cohort Gilberto Gil, and quickly became representative of Brazil's new socially aware and anarchic genre, irritating government officials with his erratic stage antics and prompting his arrest in 1969.
Following a two-year exile in London, Caetano returned to Brazil in 1972 but maintained his unconventional style, preferring ambient noise, psychedelic moods, spoken word and obscure folkloric sounds to the more popular MPB genres. Often viewed as provocative and poetically turbulent, Veloso unabashedly continued to carve his own path, and by the 80s began to explore the fusion of Brazilian folk music styles with modern and politically-charged lyrics and sensibilities. His celebrity status rose when he co-hosted a television show with renowned artist Chico Buarque, and other popular artists began recording his compositions.
Into the 90s, Caetano's performing and recording career continued to blossom, including high profile international collaborations with David Byrne and the inclusion of several of his songs in the soundtracks of Spanish director Pedro Almodovar's films. With over fifty albums to his credit, Veloso is also a published author, and continues to tour internationally. His smooth vocal style combined with his unpredictable musical fusion has made him one of Brazil's most important and innovative musicians of the modern age. Rebeca Mauleon