Thursday, May 27, 2010


Tony "Toni" Tornado is an actor and Brazilian singer, born in Sao Paolo in 1930.

Toni Tornado is associated with the Black Power movement in Brazil. Along with people like Tim Maia, Cassiano, Hyldon, Jorge Ben, and Banda Black Rio, Tornado was just one of a group of artists in Brazil that were taking cues from black music in the US, which made them rather polemical at the time, culturally speaking. Embracing black music from North America was one way of shaking up this attitude and asserting a black identity in a place where people had always tended to aspire towards the ideal of whiteness, which is where and how social mobility happened. This musical community, like others in West Africa and elsewhere, was building an aesthetic of its own, embraced and celebrated by the DJs of the big parties of the favelas.

In 1970, Tornado won the national phase of the V International Song Festival with the socially conscious song "BR-3". One year after Toni won the Festival, Tornado released a very rare funk and soul-influenced self-titled album, accompanied instrumentally by the Tender Trio. deon Records/EMI re-released a CD of this landmark Brazilian album back in 2002, but original copies of the LP remain nearly impossible to locate. With heavy, sample-ready tracks like "Me Libertei," it's easy to see why this Brazilian record has remained a must-have for crate diggers.

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