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Os Mutantes Biography

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Birth Place: São Paulo, Brazil
Years Active: 1966-1978, 2006-present
Genres: Psychedelic Rock, Tropicalismo, Experimental

Os Mutantes are an influential Brazilian psychedelic rock band that was linked with the Tropicália movement of the late 1960s. Although the original line-up made the most notorious breakthrough for the group, it has gone through numerous personnel changes throughout its existence. After a hiatus from the late 1970s to the early 2000s the band reunited for a tour in 2006.

Os Mutantes were formed in São Paulo, Brazil, in 1966 by brothers Arnaldo Baptista (bass, keyboards and vocals) and Sérgio Dias Baptista (guitar and vocals), and lead singer Rita Lee. They were originally named Six Sided Rockers. Their current name was settled upon immediately before a performance on a Brazilian television program.

Through other TV performances, the band was able to meet Gilberto Gil, an influential musician in the Tropicália movement, who brought them into the movement's circle. Os Mutantes first two albums 1968’s “Os Mutantes” and 1969’s “Mutantes” were heavily influenced by Tropicália, which blended psychedelic rock with Brazilian styling. They played with many artists of this period, including Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, prior to their arrest and subsequent exile.

Their third album, “A Divina Comédia ou Ando Meio Desligado,” was released in 1970. The album as a whole was characterized by a mix of psychedelic and religious imagery. It was the first album by the band to break away from the Tropicália aesthetic, and move towards more of a pure rock sound. Except for a tongue-in-cheek version of the ballad “Chão de Estrelas,” the record showed little Brazilian music influence. This shift in direction is speculated to be because their helpers and influences, Tropicalismo stars Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil were exiled by the Brazilian military dictatorship. Os Mutantes was also threatened by the military government of Brazil of that time.

They retreated to Paris in 1970 and recorded the “Technicolor” album. Intended to be their introduction in the English-speaking world and included English versions of songs from the albums “Os Mutantes” and “A Divina Comédia ou Ando Meio Desligado,” the tapes of the recordings were subsequently lost and the album shelved.

In 1971, bassist Arnolpho Lima Filho (“Liminha”) and drummer Ronaldo Leme (“Dinho”) officially joined the band. They then released their fourth album, “Jardim Elétrico” which was produced by Arnaldo Baptista. Five of the songs from this album were originally intended to be released on “Tecnicolor.”

What would be their fifth released album, “Mutantes e Seus Cometas no País do Baurets” was issued in 1972. It was the last LP to feature all three founding members. The album's cover art was done by comic artist Alain Voss.

Rita Lee departed in 1972 to start a solo career. Lee's 1972 album “Hoje É o Primeiro Dia do Resto da Sua Vida” was actually recorded with Os Mutantes but credited to Lee due to record company disagreements.

Subsequently the band moved in a progressive rock direction with the album “O A e o Z,” recorded in 1973 but due to disagreement with the record company was not released.

Arnaldo soon left the band to pursue a solo career citing differences with other band members and problems with the abuse of LSD, Dinho followed shortly after, and a year later, Liminha left as well. Sérgio Dias, the only remaining original member, led the band until its dissolution in 1978. During this time, they released one more studio album, 1974’s “Tudo Foi Feito Pelo Sol.”

In 1992 their album “O A e o Z” was released by Polydor Records. “Tecnicolor” was finally released featuring artwork by Sean Lennon through Universal Records in 2000.

Os Mutantes (Arnaldo, Sérgio and Dinho, sans Rita Lee and Liminha) played live for the first time since 1978 at the Tropicalia exhibition at London's Barbican Arts Centre on May 22, 2006. This performance was followed by shows in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Denver, Chicago and Miami. Following this, the band recorded their first new album in 35 years, “Haih Or Amortecedor,” which was released in 2009 on ANTI- Records.