Chico Buarque, the legendary 67 year-old Brazilian singer-songwriter, has released some 60 albums since his first record in 1966. In the last five years, however, the prolific sexagenarian has been relatively quiet, that is until last month when he suddenly went viral.
"Today with this Internet thing, people speak what comes to their mind," Buarque said in a video clip featured on a website created specifically to promote "Chico" his new album. "I didn't really know what the game was yet but I was really amazed by it."
Throughout the years Buarque has become one of the most recognizable figures of MPB (Música Popular Brasileira), a term that loosely designates a music style that debuted in the mid-1960's and encompasses a constellation of contemporary urban music styles. Buarque is also known for his strong stance against censorship in the late 1960s and early-70s when Brazil was under military dictatorship.
In these viral snippets, this living legend opens up to the public through a medium that is rather unfamiliar to him. In one clip, for example, entitled "Commentarios na Internet" ("Internet Comments"), that has already collected more than 100,000 views on his website, Buarque humorously relates how an artist could live quite happily in his self-satisfied bubble if he just didn't interact with the internet.
"Generally, artists think they are very well liked," Buarque says. "They walk in the street and say 'hello, hello' and people seem nice. He does his show, he is applauded and he thinks that he's really good. But then he goes on the Internet and finds out he is hated."
On June 20, Buarque put his new album, "Chico," on pre-sale for R$29.00 (about $18.60) on the site www.chicobastidores.com.br (Chico Backstage.) Upon purchase, buyers receive a password that gives them access to exclusive content such as videos, interviews with Buarque and personnel involved in the making of his record. Buyers also gets access to backstage photos, are able to stream the first track of the album and get to preview the rest of his new album.
Mario Canivello, Buarque's publicist, confirmed that more than 7,500 CDs had been pre-sold, and around 45,000 CDs have shipped to retail.
The site has been slowly revealing details (title, cover, songs) about his forthcoming disc to the general public to help promote the album. As a result, over the last month, there's been a constant buzz around this record and Buarque's name has remained in the press.
The idea for an extensive video campaign came from journalist and filmmaker, Bruno Natal, who previously worked with Buarque in 2006 during the making of the documentary "Desconstrução" that followed the making of his CD " Carioca" "The campaign has been successful in preparing the terrain for the release of the CD," Natal says. All the video material will be edited into a documentary entitled "Dia Voa" directed by Natal and will be made available to the public on YouTube next week (see trailer below).
In the "Internet Comments" video, Buarque jokes about all the angry comments individuals write and how astonished he is by some of these remarks: "The first time I saw these comments saying, 'Look at this old guy. Look at what liquor does to a person…' Which is unfair because I don't even drink anymore!"
The new record, in which he flirts with a variety of genres -- blues, waltz, blues, baião, samba -- will be available to retail this Friday (July 22.) On Wednesday (July 20) at 4 p.m. (3:00 EST) from his house in Rio with João Bosco (a singer- songwriter known for his distinct guitar style), Buarque will present the last track on his album "Sinhá" live through his website.
As for what to expect next from Buarque with this and upcoming performances, Natal sums it up best: "Everything that involves Chico," Natal says, "always generates huge reactions - even some we haven't even seen yet…"