The Complicator Vol. 14 – Os Mutantes, America, and the Happy Genius

Hello music people!

The Play Listen Repeat banner is back again, with more stimulating and generally “aesthetical” musings for our collective discussion. If anyone noticed this blog’s hiatus, then thank you!

I saw Os Mutantes play yesterday, and Sergio Dias (also sometimes known as Sergio Baptista), singer and guitarist, is not only a personal hero, but a figure who raises some cool artistic challenges for me. I’m curious to hear peoples’ thoughts….


Live, Dias plays astounding, virtuosic guitar solos while exuding a kind of supernatural joyfulness. Looking for all the world like a cross between Paul McCartney and Bugs Bunny, he shreds and smiles. Meanwhile, the band is playing a fearless kind of psychedelic, omnivorous pop music which careens from a capella contrapuntal vocal choir sections to proggy riffs, to bossa ballads.

I’m fascinated by the image of the happy virtuoso, the happy genius that this band, and Sergio in particular, projects. Os Mutantes was formed in the late 60’s in Brazil, a few years after a military coup which instituted repressive censorship and even jailed artists like Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil.

Whatever your political leanings may be, it often seems that the world we live in is ever-darkening. I love the challenge presented by these artists, who show us a kind of triumph: human spirits in the form of artists, fighting the darkness with their joy and love, and not with anger or negativity.

Inspiring, don’t you think?

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