"Os Doces Bárbaros"

Gilberto Gil joined Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa, and Maria Bethânia on stage to celebrate the first 10 years of their careers.

By Instituto Gilberto Gil

Text: Chris Fuscaldo, journalist and music researcher

Gilberto Gil no filme O Demiurgo, gravado durante seu exílio em Londres (1972)Instituto Gilberto Gil

Early 1970s

The 1970s were a time of great anxiety for Brazilian artists. The military dictatorship seemed a little weaker than in the previous decade. Censorship, however, still controlled all artistic output in Brazil. Many songwriters, playwrights, and screenwriters persevered and carried on with their careers as best as they could.

When Gilberto Gil returned from exile in 1972, he released his album Expresso 2222. The first single from the album was Cada Macaco no Seu Galho (Chô Chuá) and it featured Caetano Veloso—his lifelong friend and partner, in prison, in exile in London, and in their music.

Gilberto Gil e Gal Costa na época do exílio do músico baiano em Londres (1971)Instituto Gilberto Gil

Back in Bahia

The song Back in Bahia clearly describes the homesickness the Bahian singer-songwriter had felt during his three years in Europe. While Gil was touring Expresso 2222, the album Barra 69—recorded during his last concert with Caetano before they went into exile—was released.

Gilberto Gil em ensaio fotográfico durante o exílio (1972)Instituto Gilberto Gil

In 1973, Gilberto Gil recorded an album called Cidade de Salvador, which would not be released until 1999. In the same year, he appeared at the censored festival Phono 73 and had his microphone cut while he was singing the song Cálice with Chico Buarque.

Gilberto Gil em ensaio para o álbum Refazenda (1975)Instituto Gilberto Gil

In 1974, he did a concert with Caetano, which would become the album Temporada de Verão. That same year, he stopped working with the manager Guilherme Araújo and started to manage his own career. In 1975, he recorded his album Refazenda and released another one, Gil & Jorge: Ogum, Xangô, with Jorge Ben.

Os Doces Bárbaros: Gal Costa, Gilberto Gil, Maria Bethânia e Caetano Veloso (Década de 1970)Instituto Gilberto Gil

10 Years of Sound

The year 1976 began with Gilberto Gil celebrating 10 years in music along with his friends Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa, and Maria Bethânia. Like him, they had all left Bahia to make a living in São Paulo. 

To celebrate this milestone, the quartet—who, with the exception of Bethânia, had all been part of the Tropicália movement—decided to get together and put on a concert.

Maria BethâniaInstituto Gilberto Gil

Os Mais Doces Bárbaros por Gilberto Gil e Maria Bethânia no Porto

The project, which Bethânia christened Doces Bárbaros (Sweet Barbarians), was to be a concert tour with songs that Gil and Caetano wrote exclusively for these shows, plus a few covers. The four performers would take it in turns to sing songs together on stage.

Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil e Maria Bethânia em estreia do show Doces Bárbaros no Canecão (1976-04-08)Instituto Gilberto Gil

A cantora Maria Bethânia durante show dos Doces Bárbaros, grupo criado ao lado de Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso e Gal CostaInstituto Gilberto Gil

Esotérico por Gilberto Gil em show da turnê Unplugged no Canecão

The Show

The first Doces Bárbaros (Sweet Barbarians) show took place on June 24, 1976 at São Paulo's Anhembi convention center. When the group moved on to Rio de Janeiro, the show ended up having an extended two-month run at the classic Canecão concert venue, beating the box-office record at the time. 

Gilberto Gil, Maria Bethânia, Gal Costa e Caetano Veloso no show Doces Bárbaros (Julho de 1976)Instituto Gilberto Gil

Their set list included: Gênesis, Um Índio, Eu Te Amo, Peixe, Os Mais Doces Bárbaros, and Pássaro Proibido (all written by Caetano Veloso, and the last one with Bethânia); São João Xangô Menino and Quando (both written by Caetano and Gil, and the second also with Gal Costa)...

Gilberto Gil, Maria Bethânia, Caetano Veloso e Gal Costa na estreia do show Doces Bárbaros no Canecão (1976-04-08)Instituto Gilberto Gil

...Chuckberry Fields Forever, Eu e Ela Estávamos Ali Encostados na Parede, Esotérico, O Seu Amor, Pé Quente Cabeça Fria, and Nós, Por Exemplo (all written by Gil).

Gilberto Gil e Caetano Veloso em show da turnê Doces Bárbaros (1976)Instituto Gilberto Gil

With Caetano and Gil acting as general and musical directors respectively, the show was a mix of regionalism and innovation, with the four hippie performers exuding a sense of freedom on stage.

Gilberto Gil, Maria Bethânia, Gal Costa e Caetano Veloso em ensaio para show no Teatro Castro Alves (1976)Instituto Gilberto Gil

Fé Cega, Faca Amolada por Gilberto Gil e Maria Bethânia ao vivo

They performed cover versions of Fé Cega, Faca Amolada by Milton Nascimento and Ronaldo Bastos, Atiraste Uma Pedra by Herivelto Martins and David Nassar, and Tarasca Guidon by Waly Salomão.

Gilberto Gil durante julgamento (1976)Instituto Gilberto Gil

The tour was interrupted in Florianópolis (the capital of Santa Catarina State) when Gilberto Gil and the drummer Chiquinho Azevedo were arrested for possessing cannabis on July 7, 1976.

The judge decided to admit them to the Instituto São José psychiatric center before having them transferred to the Botafogo Sanatorium (Sanatório Botafogo) in Rio two weeks later.

Cartaz do filme Os Doces Bárbaros (2004)Instituto Gilberto Gil

The Album and Film

The show was made into the live album Doces Bárbaros, which was released by the record company PolyGram in 1976. A documentary called Os Doces Bárbaros (The Sweet Barbarians) was also made about the tour. Directed by Jom Tob Azulay, it was shown later that same year.

Os Doces Bárbaros em entrevista coletiva (1976)Instituto Gilberto Gil

Partituras de trombone, trompete e saxofone tenor da música Chuck Berry Fields Forever, de Gilberto Gil Partituras de trombone, trompete e saxofone tenor da música Chuck Berry Fields Forever, de Gilberto Gil (1976)Instituto Gilberto Gil

Chuck Berry Fields Forever, ao vivo, durante a turnê do álbum Eletracústico, de Gilberto Gil

The album is now considered one of Brazilian music's greatest masterpieces, but it was criticized at the time because four of the songs (Esotérico, Chuckberry Fields Forever, São João Xangô Menino, and O Seu Amor) were studio recordings, despite it being released as a live album.

Resenha do documentário Doces Bárbaros Resenha do documentário Doces Bárbaros (1976)Instituto Gilberto Gil

As well as showing footage of Gil, Caetano, Bethânia, and Gal on stage, the film went behind-the-scenes on their tour, changing tone to cover the whole of Gil and Chiquinho's trial in Florianópolis.

Another highlight is the scene where a reporter asks Bethânia a question about her brother having launched her career, which Bethânia dismisses, saying she was the one who got him to leave Bahia.

Documents from Gilberto Gil's Private ArchiveInstituto Gilberto Gil

The documentary became a DVD in 2008, 30 years after its debut.

Rehearsals by Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa and Maria Bethânia for the Doces Bárbaros reunion (Novembro de 2002)Instituto Gilberto Gil

Eighteen years later, the quartet reunited for a series of concerts. Behind the scenes of Gilberto Gil, Gal Costa, Maria Bethânia and Caetano Veloso in the 2002 reunion of Doces Bárbaros.

Credits: Story

Exhibit credits

Text and research: Chris Fuscaldo
Assembly: Patrícia Sá Rêgo

General credits

Editing and curation: Chris Fuscaldo / Garota FM 
Research - music: Ceci Alves, Chris Fuscaldo, Laura Zandonadi and Ricardo Schott 
Research - Ministry of Culture: Carla Peixoto, Ceci Alves and Chris Fuscaldo 
Subtitles: Anna Durão, Carla Peixoto, Ceci Alves, Chris Fuscaldo, Daniel Malafaia, Fernanda Pimentel, Gilberto Porcidonio, Kamille Viola, Laura Zandonadi, Lucas Vieira, Luciana Azevedo, Patrícia Sá Rêgo, Pedro Felitte, Ricardo Schott, Roni Filgueiras e Tito Guedes 
Data editing: Isabela Marinho and Marco Konopacki
Gege Produções Review: Cristina Doria
Acknowledgements: Gege Produções, Gilberto Gil, Flora Gil, Gilda Mattoso, Fafá Giordano, Maria Gil, Meny Lopes, Nelci Frangipani, Cristina Doria, Daniella Bartolini e todos os autores das fotos e personagens da história
All media: Instituto Gilberto Gil 
*Every effort has been made to credit the images, audios and videos and correctly tell the story about the episodes narrated in the exhibitions. If you find errors and/or omissions, please contact us by email atendimentogil@gege.com.br

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Explore more
Related theme
Gilberto Gil
A musical journey into the sound of Brazilian icon, Gilberto Gil
View theme
Google apps