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Gal Costa - Índia

Drift Sunday Classic

Gal Costa - Índia

This Sunday we take you back to Ipanema in 1973 and one of the Tropicália movements defining releases.

Originally released in 1973 on the Philips record label, Índia is very much a Tropicália masterpiece, with iconic Brazilian singer Gal Costa moving into experimental spaces and outside of the samba staples that had very much made her a star. The period's lightness of musical tone and sandblasted beach imagery were actually quite at odds to life in Rio de Janeiro at the time. However, the opposition to the repressive and brutal military regime had caused the counterculture to flourish and Costa was very much the right person in the right place at the right time to become the movement's figurehead.
Gal Costa
Índia is an album of defiance. Costa’s breezy nonchalance was the perfect collaboration with musicians Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil, both having recently returned to Brazil having been exiled for several years in the late sixties. Although rooted in traditional tones (including a lush cover of Antônio Carlos Jobim’s bossa nova classic ‘Desafinado’), it is also an album looking far beyond Rio de Janeiro’s glorious shores, with hypnotic grooves and psychedelic rock making this album so unique and influential. Costa’s place as provocateur was also firmly established with the album's infamous cover, a defiant image of sexuality that remains as iconic and provocative as any sleeve image in the last fifty odd years. In his biography, Caetano Veloso wrote that “Gal was the queen of this scene”, with the scenesters even naming a stretch of the Ipanema beach dunes ‘Monte da Gal’ in tribute.

But like all great albums (and it really is one), Índia wasn’t just a cultural outlier, it is creatively an inspiring record.

Her voice is rousing (in particular in the closing moments of the album’s opening title track) and also full of seductive cool; yearning high notes and long held low coos. There are laid back funk grooves, traditional Brazilian pop swing and richly cinematic swoons, all knitted into a new era of psychedelia. Although it is a hugely collaborative affair (including a stellar line-up of musicians with Arthur Verocai, Dominguinhos, Rogerio Duprat and Tenorio Jr. amongst others alongside Costa, Gil and Veloso), Índia is Gal Costa.

An album that inspired change and one that still drips with effortless cool.

Mr Bongo have done a great job on this fiftieth anniversary edition, enlisting the sensational mastering and lacquer-cutting engineer Miles Showell from Abbey Road to cut a half-speed master for a beautiful, spacious sound. The album is housed in its original (banned) replica gatefold cover with an obi strip. There is also an insert with an interview, and an A2 poster exclusive to this release.