Can a festival kickstart a movement? On October 21, 1967, the third edition of the Festival de Música Popular Brasileira shook Brazil to the core, trailblazing new musical paths in a country about to endure a military dictatorship.
At the time, Brazilian popular music was fragmenting: there was the traditional MPB, with touches of Bossa and a thorough revisitation of the Jobim catalog; the Jovem Guarda, catering to audiences that simply wanted to do the twist or the French yé-yé; and the emerging Tropicália, which would eventually become Brazilian music’s most celebrated export. The birth of Tropicália is often said to have happened that very October evening.
Two moments in A Night in 67 are key to understanding this turning point: one is Caetano Veloso’s exhilarating performance of “Alegria Alegria” (as the lyrics go, “without handkerchief and without documents”); the other is Os Mutantes backing Gilberto Gil’s “Domingo no Parque,” which must have landed like the uncanniest of musical UFOs. They would all meet again the following year for Tropicália Ou Panis et Circencis, the movement’s breakthrough moment.