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Protest Song Of The Week: ‘Odeio’ by Caetano Veloso

Following the impeachment of Brazil president Dilma Rousseff, vice president Michel Temer took power. He pledged to dissolve the Ministry of Culture and combine parts of it with the Ministry of Education. Although Temer eventually backtracked, the initial call drew the ire of artists.

AFP reported filmmakers, musicians, and individuals from various cultural organizations in Brazil occupied buildings in Brasilia, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Belo Horizonte.

Brazilian composer, guitarist, and political activist Caetano Veloso joined protesters in occupying the Gustavo Capanema Palace in Rio de Janeiro. He largely refrained from political speeches. The music he performed was not necessarily political. However, he transformed a song that is apolitical into a protest anthem by attaching “Temer” to the chorus.

The chorus is “odeio você, odeio você, odeio você odeio.” In English, it means “I hate you.” He had protesters singing, “I hate Temer.”

Veloso declared at one point that the Culture Ministry belonged to Brazilians. He said it was an accomplishment of the Brazilian state and did not belong to a single administration.

For five decades, Veloso has been making music. He is part of a group of Brazilian musicians, which pioneered tropicalismo or tropicalia. It encouraged musicians to take styles in music from other countries and combine those styles with the kinds of music native to Brazil. He has performed with such acts as the legendary psychedelic band, Os Mutantes.

Veloso was targeted by the military dictatorship in 1969. He was arrested, along with musician Gilberto Gil, and jailed for three months before they were put on house arrest. Police flew Veloso and Gil to an unknown location, and they were exiled. Veloso and Gil lived in London until they could return in 1972. (Gil was at the occupation with Veloso, and he served in the Ministry of Culture under Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.)

“Odeio,” according to El Pais, was sung in December when it was adapted by fans, who included the name of the name of Eduardo Cunha. He made the decision to launch impeachment proceedings against Rousseff.

Watch the performance by Caetano Veloso of “Odeio” at the occupation in Rio de Janeiro:

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof Press. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."