Tuesday 26 August 2008

Killer Opening Songs (Chico Buarque & Milton Nascimento - 'O Que Sera (Flor da Pele)

Francisco Buarque de Hollanda, better known as Chico Buarque, has had a long and prolific career as a singer, composer and writer. His discography spans a good four decades during which this outstanding Brazilian musician has delighted audiences both in Latin America and Europe. Killer Opening Songs is, thus, thrilled to introduce such an extraordinary performer to its readers and fellow bloggers this week.

However there’s another reason why the track I am uploading this time around has a special significance to me. And here’s why:

In 1986 or ’87 (my memory fails me) a film opened in Havana and it became an overnight sensation. It was one of the movies competing at the Latin American Film Festival in the Cuban capital and I remember that most of my peers went to see it despite the fact that it was rated 16 (our film classifications vary from those in both the States and Europe). Because I have always looked ten years younger than I am (a bit of a drag at the time) I could not even come close to the box office without getting asked for my ID. The reason for the audience’s excitement was a 26-year-old Brazilian actress whose erotic scenes drove many male adolescents (and adults) wild. Sonia Braga became a by-word for sexiness and ‘Dona Flor e Seus Dos Maridos’ (Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands) became a hit in Cuba immediately.

Because of my age I was not able to see the film (which, although it had been released in 1976 in Brazil, had only seen the light in Cuba in the mid 80s) at the cinema and therefore had to wait until it was screened on the telly to confirm my crush on an actress I had never seen up to that moment. To say that the plot, performances and music took a back seat would be putting it mildly. All I remember from watching ‘Dona Flor…’ is Sonia Braga et al cavorting in the nude recklessly and blithely whilst a young Jose Wilker played the roost-ruler.

Luckily, by the time I was able to control my younger self’s hormones better I began to focus on other aspects of the film that I had missed out on first time around. Like the music, for instance. And it was with utmost pleasure that I found a little jewel in this film’s soundtrack. It is the Killer Opening Song to Chico Buarque’s 1976 album ‘Meus Caros Amigos' and the title is ‘O Que Será (Flor da Pele)’. This clip that I bring this week has both Chico and Milton Nascimento performing the song and the tempo differs massively from the original album track; it’s slower. However it is still a beautiful and haunting song that has become a relic of past times, especially for those born in Iberoamerica (I include both Portugal and Spain here). For readers and fellow bloggers from the English-speaking world who cannot speak Portuguese I will have you know that the song deals with the eternal theme of love and the search for it, hence the title ‘O Que Será’ (What Is It?). And I strongly advise you to look for a good translation on the net; you won’t be disappointed. Enjoy.

For earlier editions of Killer Opening Songs, click on any of the links below.

Killer Opening Songs (D'Angelo's Brown Sugar)

Killer Opening Songs (Sinéad O'Connor's 'Fire on Babylon')

Killer Opening Songs (Queen's Mustapha)

Killer Opening Songs (Caetano Veloso-Haiti)

Killer Opening Songs (Chopin 'Fantaisie-Impromptu in C sharp minor Op 66' & Etude in C minor 'Revolutionary' Op 10 No 12)

Killer Opening Songs (Ernesto Lecuona - 'La Comparsa & Malagueña)

Killer Opening Songs (David Gilmour - Shine On You Crazy Diamond)

Copyright 2008


  1. You share wonderful music that I am totally unfamiliar with! Thank you...it's fascinating. I also enjoy the background and your relationship to the music.

    Looking ten years younger than you are will ultimately pay off!

  2. Thanks, willow. Well, it certainly is paying off now. Chico is one of the most versatile musicians in Latin America.

    Greetings from London

  3. Que bueno esta eso. Me encanta la musica. Great post, I could picture you dying to get into the cinema. Isn't it amazing how smell and sound transport you?

  4. Smell and sound, two of my favourite senses. Yes, yoli, you're right, I was dying to get into the cinema and cor blimey, mate, I just couldn't! I had to wait fo a couple of years before setting my eyes on Sonia Braga.

    Greetings from London.

  5. Maybe it is not the best version but is always great.
    It reminded me of this other version by Omara y Maria Bethania.
    Great song!

  6. Very good versio, too, Al. Thanks for the link. It is amazing to see these two great performers together.

    Greetings from London.

  7. Right, great post! If you see how many pictures I got from them back in Cuba!

    Someday you will...

    Thank your very much for your comment! I am glad to hear about your friendship (socitos) with the Queen. LOL!

  8. Thanks for your visit! Well, Im a brazilian and I love Chico Buarque as well... Hope see you more times... cheers from Reading - UK


  9. Thanks, both eu and lara. Eu, I can;t wait to see those pictures, mate. You really do have a strong back catalogue.

    Lara, it's a pleasure. Brazil is always in my heart whenever I am uploading music. It is like my sister-land (alongside the UK, of course).

    Greetings from London.



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