¡Cubanismo! at The Exit/In, Caetano Veloso, Café Tacuba & Music of The Americas



The Americas  –  Music by Caetano Veloso, ¡Cubanismo!, Café Tacuba  –  Copyrightable Intros

When I was growing up and loving and learning geography, there were three places called “America.”  The  globes, atlases and maps were mostly but not always in agreement.  The three (3) Americas:

1.  North America

2.  Central America

3.  South America

North America had the three (3) most powerful countries of the hemisphere  –  the United States of America, Canada and Mexico.

Central America sometimes had Mexico and those smaller countries.  Other times, Central America had just those smaller countries  –  Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama –  and Mexico was considered part of North America.  One of the Latin America nations (oh yeah – just what was “Latin America” – Central America?) we “imperialists” in the U. S. really noticed was Panama as every ship had to go through the Isthmus of Panama’s Panama Canal that linked the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean.

South America had Brazil (the world’s largest Portuguese-speaking country) and a lot of other countries whose official language was Spanish.  Brazil had Carmen Miranda, samba, bossa nova and carnival, and the other countries (all Spanish speaking) had coffee, tin or llamas.  (Just a bit North American-centric!)

And then there were those islands – a petite floating continent  – known as The Caribbean and even the definition of Caribbean was odd as vacationers and cruise ship lines identified Bermuda as part of the Caribbean even though Bermuda was as far north as North Carolina, a decidedly non-tropical and non-Caribbean.

In terms of U. S. federal courts, geography becomes more confusing as Puerto Rico is part of the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals.  That means Puerto Rico and its natural adjacent neighbors (I am joking) –  Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island (which isn’t an island)  –  are part of the same appellate court, the First Circuit.  As if this isn’t nonsensical enough, Montana and Hawaii, non-natural neighbors, are part of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.  (No matter how these divisions are viewed, I’ll someday teach my “Music of The Caribbean” course again and still think of the Caribbean as its own entity, and not a part of North, South or Central America.)

Perhaps it is best that in 2012 the entire hemisphere is called THE AMERICAS, mostly to make things less messy when it comes to division via land mass.

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To the simple point of this post  –  three (3) great songs from The Americas (the Americas situated south of continental U.S.) that feature * copyrightable introductions. *


I know of no other career like Caetano Veloso’s  –  it is astonishing to simply look at his album covers.  Caetano Veloso’s career, artistic and musical influences and output are enormous   –  samba, Antonio Carlos Jobim, bossa nova,  torch songs, Tropicálismo, Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Arnold Schoenberg, minimalism, musique concrete, hip hop, experimental music, filmmaker, singer, songwriter, composer, soundtrack composer, political activist, political activist expelled from country, political activist welcomed back to country, etc.

I’ve plunked one song from his more than half-century output, and only to demonstrate a copyrightable introduction.

Caetano Veloso  –  Cada Macano No Seu (Cho Chuã) is from Tropicália 2, an album that pairs two of Brazil’s musical giants  –  Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso.  Tropicália 2 was one the best Brazilian albums of the 1990’s.


¡Cubanismo!  –  Ibiono Utereran   ¡Cubanismo! is the superstar band of Afro-Cuba (Afro-Cuba is my name for the island of “Cuba.”).  The best musicians of the island coming together to show others how it’s done.  I’ve been most fortunate to see ¡Cubanismo! in Boston, New York and Nashville.  Yes.  That Nashville.  Tennessee.  Music City.  ¡Cubanismo! played the famous Exit/In.  To this day, it is the best concert and musicians I’ve seen in Nashville.

Ibiono Utereran begins as if a square, dull waltz is imminent.  The “one TWO AND three” waltz figure introduced by the tres gets beaten back quickly by the rhythm section and then the loud brass.  The tres pattern is then re-understood as one of several rhythms coexisting in complexity.

This is one of those ultimate “how do I dance to this” dilemmas.

“Ibiono Utereran” is from Cubanismo’s brilliant, Reencarnacion album.  Reencarnacion needs to be on your Must-Have Cuban album list.


Café Tacuba  –  Camino Y Vereda    Café Tacuba has been in existence since 1989.  Their  frequently-changing musical styles have left them with passionate fans and music critics.  (The New York Times has praised Café Tacuba more than almost any other band.)

Intros to many of Café Tacuba’s songs feature copyrightable introductions.  I chose “Camino Y Vereda” because of its fun “how do I dance to this” metric deception dilemma intro, and to introduce any reader to their vital Cuatro Caminos album.

I hope to return to Caetano Veloso, ¡Cubanismo! and Café Tacuba in the future, as well as the music of Brazil, Cuba and Mexico.

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To repeat the three (3) songs:

Caetano Veloso  –  Cada Macano No Seu (Cho Chuã)

¡Cubanismo!  –  Ibiono Utereran 

Café Tacuba  –  Camino Y Vereda

Talk Amongst Yourselves, Turn Me On, Beatles One Louder, the Buttocks Bowl

This week is beginning perfectly.  It is sunny up here on Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester.  Thanksgiving was a great one in Massachusetts as we New England Patriots fans owe gratitude to the New York Jets for their comic ineptness on Thanksgiving evening  –  I’m calling it the Butt Bowl  –  and projects of mine are getting completed.  And I’ve been invited to speak about my work in copyright and intellectual property at the Harvard Law School again.  All good things.

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How can you get one’s attention?  Play a Beatles recording.  Play something loud and very noticeable. Maybe the intro to a Beatles song.  If one wants to hear a loud, striking, very original opening of a Beatles song, one that will really hit the ear, there is one song that WILL not do it.  It would be the WORST BEATLES SONG, worst only in terms of making a listener notice.  What is the Beatles song LEAST likely to get one’s attention?  “Eight Days A Week.”  Remember how Eight Days A Week by The Beatles opens?  It can be heard here Eight Days A Week by The Beatles or back in the last sentence.

It……………….f  a  d  e  s…..i n……..

shhhhhhh….shh….sh… and now you HEAR IT!

That was an amazing stunt way back in 1964.  It was the first time I had heard a recording that faded in.  Songs fading out were common but this fade-in was really fun and another innovation (of many) by the Beatles.

But the subject of this post is getting someone’s attention loudly and at the opening, and a Beatles song that does both.  I want a song that is LOUD and NOTICEABLE and unlike any other Beatles song and I want the LOUD and NOTICEABLE and UNIQUE to happen immediately.  Right at the opening.

The Beatles’ She’s A Woman is a song that is loud, distinctive and original at the opening.  The song is notable for a few other reasons too.  Structurally it is often a 12-bar blues (0.10-0.42;  0.43-1.14;  1.20-1.52), with an instrumental 6-bar blues (1.53-2.09), and two (2) 2-bar bridges –  the first at 1.15-1.20, the second at 2.09-2.14.  A 2-bar bridge, you say?  And the 2-bar bridge contains the words, “she’s a woman.” !?!  If the 2-bar bridge contains the title, “She’s A Woman,” wouldn’t it be a chorus and not a 2-bar bridge?  In the words of Linda Richman… Talk amongst yourselves.

The opening of “She’s A Woman” features loud piano and guitar in unison playing the same staccato chords.  When the bass and drums enter, it becomes clear that what the guitar and piano had been playing, what seemed like downbeats, were really upbeats!  A very cool deceptive trick.  A deception as to where you count 1, 2, 3 and 4.  If you were dancing at the opening of the song, your dancing had to change a bit as your perception of the beat changed.

The opening chord  –  what one thought was the “tonic” chord, the most important, central chord, hierarchically, to all of the other chords – the “I chord” (pronounced, “One” chord)  –  was really the “V chord” (pronounced, “Five” chord), another fun deception.

I think that “She’s A Woman” was the first time the Beatles hinted at drug use.  Three times in “She’s A Woman”  Paul sings, “turn me on when I get lonely” –  at 0.32, at 1.42 and finally at 2.36.  It was not obvious in 1964-65 that “turn me on” referred to drug use, however.  Some people knew this but “turn me on” was not yet in the public lexicon.

She’s A Woman also contains the worst lyric the Beatles may have ever written –

“My love don’t give me presents.  I know that she’s no peasant.”  

Huh?  “Peasant?”  I wish Paul hadn’t pursued the giving “presents” line as then he wouldn’t need a rhyme, and wouldn’t have to relate that he knows his woman is not a “peasant.”  Of all the things I’ve ever heard ascribed to any woman, “peasant” has never  been one!

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The Beatles amped up the strong, loud and cutting intro with the song, “Getting Better” from Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.  The intro to The Beatles’ Getting Better features strong sforzando guitar and keyboard again but this time, in addition, the strings of the piano are struck with mallets to make it an even more brittle, piercing sound.  Because “Getting Better” has such a distinctive and unique intro, it could be used or imitated for special effect.

I heard (and saw) a commercial a few years ago that I knew immediately was a strong reference to the opening of The Beatles’ Getting Better.  This commercial is still running and can be heard frequently on U. S. television stations, and as of last week, I have finally been able to find it on YouTube.  Do you know the commercial to which I refer?

I’ll discuss it tomorrow.  To me, this commercial is the essence of “reference” and “referencing” music, an important practice in contemporary advertising.