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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Música Popular Brasileira

Brazilian rock refers to rock music produced in Brazil and usually sung in Portuguese. Brazilian rock has one of the most important histories. Rock entered the Brazilian scene in 1956, with the screening of the film The Blackboard Jungle, featuring Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock", which would later be covered by the singer Nora Ney and have a Portuguese version. In 1957 Miguel Gustavo wrote the first original rock 'n' roll song "Rock and roll em Copacabana", recorded by Cauby Peixoto. Other rock artists of the 1950s were Celly Campelo and Sergio Murilo, singing covers and versions from the United States and Italy.



The electric guitar already was used in Brazil in 1948, in Bahia State, Salvador city, by Dodô e Osmar: they invented the famous "pau elétrico" - the first electric guitar without microphonic feedback, with its typical acute color characteristic and sustained sound, no more similar to the previous jazzistic electric guitar models (then they developed another with two arms) and in 1949 they played carnival songs with this guitar at the first time in an open car named then "Trio Elétrico" on the Salvador streets (today in the big trucks with a very robust sound).

Throughout the 1960s rock music was marginalized as crude and imperialistic. This stance led several MPB artists to participate in a protest that would later be called the passeata contra a guitarra elétrica ("demonstration against the electric guitar"). Thanks to the combined influence of Tropicália, The Beatles and the increasing acceptance of electric guitars, this position diminished to the point that Clube da Esquina could produce Beatles-influenced songs and still be regarded as "serious music".

During the 1980s, a new generation of rockers influenced by punk, post-punk and new wave, positioning themselves against MPB (much as punk did against progressive rock) achieved mainstream success, even producing the best selling album in Brazilian history: Rádio Pirata ao vivo by RPM sold about 2,200,000 copies. The initial antagonism turned to cross-pollination when MPB musicians (João Gilberto, Caetano Veloso, Ney Matogrosso) recorded songs by the new bands, while the latter experimented with fusions between Rock, Forró, Samba, Reggae and Bossa nova.

Actually the most popular artists from the early times are Roberto Carlos and Raul Seixas. From the recent times names like Angra, Sepultura and Legião Urbana are the most liked.


In 1957 Miguel Gustavo wrote the first original rock 'n' roll song "Rock and roll em Copacabana", recorded by Cauby Peixoto and #52 on the year's charts.

In Brazil many bands continued to perform translations of English lyrics, though many avoided this problem by playing instrumental rock. Inspired by such instrumental bands Duane Eddy and The Champs, 1958 saw the release of the first Brazilian instrumental rock song, "Here's the Blue Jean Rockers" by The Blue Jean Rockers. Later that year, Bolão & His Rockettes recorded the first purely instrumental LP. This helped make rock the most popular style of Brazilian youth music. More bands, like The Avalons, The Clevers, The Rebels (brazilian band), The Jordans, The Jet Blacks, The Pops, Os Populares, The Bells (brazilian band), The Lions (band) and The Youngs, arose.

1959 was a breakthrough year for Brazilian rock and roll as its pioneers emerged and became true stars. Out of thousands of performers, Nora Ney, Nick Savoia, Celly Campelo, Tony Campelo, Lana Bittencourt, Demetrius (brazilian rocker), Cinderella, Regiane, Ronnie Cord and Hamilton de Giorgio climbed to success seemingly overnight. A number of instrumental bands like The Avalons, The Rebels (brazilian band), The Jordans and "Os incríveis" became girls´ heart-throbs. They enjoyed the same success in Brazil as the Beatles did in Europe and America years later.

The Jackson do Pandeiro hit, "Chiclete com Banana" (Gum with Banana) (music by Gordurinha and Almira Castilho), was the first song that try to make a cross between Brazilian music with North American Rock and roll or Boogie Woogie.


Right after rock'n'roll took America by storm, Bill Haley and Elvis Presley also became liberating icons for Brazilian youth. The youth of Brazil felt that they were under sexual and educational oppression, as Brazilian society had been based on the standards and rules of the Catholic church colonization. For example, looking at a strange boy or girl in public meant falling into public disgrace. With the advent of rock'n'roll, the Brazilian world began to change. Teenagers were not "only to be seen but not heard" anymore. However, the youth's first reaction was violent. Many movie theaters were totally wrecked during the showing of rock'n'roll movies. This went on for a couple of years until finally the young people decided that if American kids could do it, why couldn't they? So, some radio disc-jockeys and recording companies set out to find new talents that could not only sing but who would also do it in perfect English.

This new social era led to a total transformation of customs, and outlived many other attempts to keep Brazil's social structure rooted in the older traditions and religious dogmas.

Raul Seixas still in Salvador, Bahia - where he began to play rock'n'roll influenced by Elvis Presley music already by the final 1950s but with the incentive of the regional Luiz Gonzaga music too - formed the first rock band from this city in 1965, The Panthers and then Raulzito e os Panteras.

In 1963, Roberto Carlos had two hits: "Splish Splash" (Portuguese lyrics by Erasmo Carlos for the Bobby Darin song) and Parei na contramão, the first Roberto Carlos/Erasmo Carlos collaboration. Roberto and Erasmo created a style that was named Jovem Guarda then. The beginning of the Jovem Guarda, with Roberto Carlos, Erasmo Carlos and Wanderlea (a woman singer), was as a kind of Brazilian version of the North American garage bands in the 60's but with a bit of Motown soul influence, from Otis Redding for example. Also Ronnie Von started his career with the garage influence of Jovem Guarda and his work uleashed on the psychedelic style and he was who suggested the name of the band Os Mutantes. Jerry Adriani is identified like Jovem Guarda too, but his influence on Brazilian rock is great with his Italian rock/pop style: he brought Raul Seixas from Salvador, Bahia, to success afterwards in Rio de Janeiro and influenced, for example, one of the best singers of B-rock in the 1980s, Renato Russo from Legião Urbana band. About Jovem Guarda see also Eduardo Araújo and his wife Sylvinha Araújo, Martinha, Os Incríveis, Golden Boys, Os Vips, The Fevers.

Jorge Benjor (then Jorge Ben) had several hits and transited between Jovem Guarda and a new form of playing guitar, with a rhythmic form that he invented. This new style was named Samba-rock. See also Banda Black Rio, Trio Mocotó, Luiz Wagner, Bebeto (musician), Orlandivo and Wilson Simonal.

The band The Bubbles, arose in 1965 from Rio de Janeiro, was the link between the garage rock of Jovem Guarda and the Psychedelia. In São Paulo there was the band Os Baobás that recorded songs of the Kinks, Love (band), Turtles (band) and Rolling Stones when this bands were still in the beginning of their activities. From the 1960s is also Os Primitivos with a mix of Byrds style with Brazilian northeast folk music.

In the legendary show named Opinião from 1964, the first Brazilian genuine musical, Zé Kéti represented the black people, João do Vale the northeast guy and Nara Leão (then substituted by Maria Bethânia) represents the woman from the Brazilian high society. The inovattive proposal of this show changed the Brazilian music forever from that post Bossa Nova period because introduced other Brazilian genres in the pop music. Sometimes with the protest characteristic the MPB (Música Popular Brasileira) base was formed: Chico Buarque, Edu Lobo, Geraldo Vandré, Sérgio Ricardo, João Donato, Eumir Deodato, Roberto Menescal, MPB4, Quarteto em Cy, Francis Hime, and Joyce (singer), arising from Bossa Nova, in spite of the music is not rock, their collaboration is important on almost all popular urban genres, including the rock. In 1969, Marcos Valle, that belonged to the second generation of the Bossa Nova, change his style to a Psychedelic rock and Soul music Brazilian concept, and his brother Paulo Sérgio Valle went in a similar way. Sidney Miller is a very important musician for the MPB transformation process because he included the rock and the 60s and 70s international pop in his music.

The Tropicália movement turned the psychedelic rock and the use of electric instruments more popular in the Brazilian music. Some "tropicalistas" were: Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, Tom Zé, Gal Costa, Rogério Duprat, Torquato Neto, Nara Leão, etc... The seminal "tropicalista" Os Mutantes influenced and tended for the psychedelic rock'n'roll and is one reference for several relevant bands and musicians in the world.

The already mentioned "Clube da Esquina", a group of friends from Minas Gerais, one of the most culturally prolific regions from Brazil, was joined with the Tropicália responsible for the diffusion on bigger scale by the electrification of the pop and rock music, with a universal, but Brazilian proposal. Some musicians from this group are: Milton Nascimento, Lô Borges, Toninho Horta, Beto Guedes, Novelli, Nelson Ângelo, Tavinho Moura and the band Som Imaginário.


Brazilian progressive rock

The 70's started with the Progressive rock, the Hard rock and Glam rock, but is the period of the construction of the mutual interference between Brazilian pop music, "Música Popular Brasileira", and the rock.

Rita Lee (ex-Mutantes) started her own work with her band Tutti Frutti like a Brazilian Glam rock aesthetic. See also Casa das Máquinas with its music between Glam-hard-rock and Progressive, Patrulha do Espaço between Progressive and Hard rock, Made in Brazil (band) with its Hard rock (but in some songs already with the minimal characteristic of Punk rock), the pure Hard rock of Bixo de Sêda, and Edy Star, with his pure Glam rock.

The "carioca" (from Rio de Janeiro city) Azymuth, was formed in 1969 and is the Jazz rock side of this generation, but is responsible of the Brazilian pop music development too. There are great musicians that can add up here - Jazz rock influence: Airto Moreira, Raul de Souza, Flora Purim, Hermeto Paschoal, Naná Vasconcelos, André Geraissati, Egberto Gismonti, Grupo D'Alma and Sérgio Mendes (with Funk influence too).

Other bands and musicians of the period mixed rock with Brazilian pop music: Secos & Molhados (identified as glam rock too), Raul Seixas, Novos Baianos, A Cor do Som, Robertinho do Recife and a union of Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa, Maria Bethânia and Gilberto Gil in the show named Doces Bárbaros. After the end of Secos & Molhados João Ricardo (musician) continued his career and his first album was all glam, Ney Matogrosso was a pop hit and Gérson Conrad was constructing an alternative career. Other musicians - that helped to turn the traditional Brazilian music more flexible, with powerful rock or pop influences - were a relative hit too, like Elis Regina, Alceu Valença, Geraldo Azevedo, Belchior, Gonzaguinha, Zé Ramalho, Raimundo Fagner, Luiz Melodia, Boca Livre, Maria Alcina, Luli e Lucina and after the end of Novos Baianos, Baby Consuelo (then Baby do Brasil), Pepeu Gomes and Moraes Moreira, but there were musicians that made a more experimental mix, who didn't have the same good luck in their careers and access to the media, and because of this are known as "malditos", the darns, but at a later time they will be an important reference for the second Brazilian alternative scene - they are: Ednardo, Walter Franco, Jorge Mautner, Jards Macalé, Taiguara, Arnaldo Baptista (Mutantes) and Sérgio Sampaio. Marku Ribas is the side more Black music of this group and was Bob Marley's friend in the 1970s, Jamaica, where he lived. On the other hand, Tim Maia, directly influenced by Soul music side of the Jovem Guarda, made several hits and his style influenced bands like Placa Luminosa and Skowa e a Máfia in the 80s.

From that time a genre named Rock Rural had in the Brazilian folk music and the rock its influence and some expressive artists are Zé Rodrix, Sá & Guarabira, Ruy Maurity Trio, Almôndegas and others... A more radical Brazilian folk (that can get muddled with the rock), a weighty influence in the Brazilian rock then, is found in Dércio Marques, Elomar, Xangai, Sérgio Reis, the singer Diana Pequeno, and afterward, already in the beginning of the 1980s, Almir Sater and Renato Teixeira. Even more radical is Marlui Miranda, an expert in the Brazilian indian music and despite her music isn't rock in the classic form, the creative folk music that she makes is a great contribution to the alternative aesthetic, at a later time.

There were some efforts to realize festivals in Brazil in the 1970s. In 1971 the "Festival de Verão de Guarapari" (Guarapari Summer Festival), a beach city in the Espírito Santo State, tried to be a great counterculture meeting but with mistakes in the organization of the event - however is historic, with the shows of Milton Nascimento and Som Imaginário, A Bolha, Novos Baianos, Luiz Gonzaga and Tony Tornado. A fresh attempt was the "Primeiro Festival de Iacanga" (First Iacanga Festival - São Paulo State - 1975), in a big farm, with a better structure, a milestone of the Brazilian underground, with the bands: Jazzco, Apokalypsis (band), Som Nosso de Cada Dia, Moto Perpétuo, Ursa Maior (band), Rock da Mortalha, Orquestra Azul, and others. The first Hollywood Rock happened in Rio, 1975 too, with the shows of Raul Seixas, Rita Lee, O Terço, Vímana and others. There were two great international shows in Brazil in the 1970s: Alice Cooper (1974) and Genesis (1977).

Disco influence

The Disco music, that arrived in Brazil in the half of the 1970s, influenced some rockers like Rita Lee and Zé Rodrix. As Fenéticas (women band) were an instant phenomenon with its mix of Brazilian rock and disco.

In the final 70's, the progressive influence still was felt in Guilherme Arantes and 14 Bis (band).

Punk influence

The Brazilian punk rock scene was born in the middle 70's in São Paulo and Brasília with Joelho de Porco, AI-5 (band), Condutores de Cadáveres, Restos do Nada, Aborto Elétrico. The first show was in 1978 in São Paulo and the punk "boom" was when the 80's began, with Inocentes, Cólera, Ratos de Porão, Garotos Podres, Plebe Rude, Ignoze, Olho Sêco, Mercenárias (an all women band), Lobotomia, M-19 (Band), Fogo Cruzado, a representavive of the State of Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro city, Coquetel Molotov (band), a representative of the State of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre city, Os Replicantes, a representative of the State of Pernambuco, Recife city, Devotos (or Devotos do Ódio), a representative of the Curitiba city, State of Paraná, Beijo AA Força, and many others, most from São Paulo city.

The first records from the end of 1970's to the 1980s were issued by dint of the demo-tapes because Brazil was living a dictatorial regime (until 1985) and there was the rebuke. Since the beginning, the Brazilian punk music style was more for Jello Biafra than Sex Pistols, that is, it was more for Hardcore punk. An independent label was created in the beginning of the 1980s, Punk Rock Discos, and the Lixomania single was the first record of an individual band of a Brazilian punk band, in 1982, with six songs; from the same independent label, in the same year, a first Brazilian LP of punk bands appeared, Grito Suburbano album, with three bands from São Paulo city: Cólera, Olho Sêco and Inocentes. Some of these first registers are rarities and well paid by the collectors in Europe and Japan. The Brazilian punk rock gained visibility in the international media also in 1982 with "O Começo do Fim do Mundo", a festival that gathered peacefully the rival gangs for the first time, and it is one of the biggest punk festivals of the world until today. Tokyo, the Supla's band, in 1985 released its first LP in one big label, and then, Inocentes and Replicantes recorded with a big label too, in 1986, when the Brazilian punk scene was already growing colder. In 1986 Cólera was the first Brazilian punk band to make international shows, and then, Ratos de Porão. In the 90's the punk returned to the scene. Some examples of bands: Flicts, Zumbis do Espaço, Pastel de Miolos (from Lauro de Freitas/Ba, formed in 1995), Ludovic (band), Mukeka di Rato, Blind Pigs (today Porcos Cegos), Carbona (band), Ação Direta (band), Ack (brazilian band), Gritando HC, Nitrominds, Tequila Baby, Dominatrix (feminist band), Motores, Sweet Suburbia, Hellsakura.

Wander Wildner, that passed by one of the more influential Rio Grande do Sul Punk rock bands, Os Replicantes, released his solo debut in 1996 with a creative punk fusion that he named "Punk-brega".

The early Brazilian punk scene was immortalized on the documentary "Botinada: A Origem do Punk no Brasil" directed by Gastão Moreira.

Brazilian progressive rock

There were many Progressive rock bands in Brazil, such as O Terço, Mutantes (without Rita Lee), A Bolha (Hard rock with Progressive mix), Módulo 1000, A Barca do Sol, Som Nosso de Cada Dia, Vímana and Bacamarte, which were very well-known in Europe and the US by progressive fans. The Progressive rock band Som Imaginário had an experimental characteristic: Jazz, Bossa nova, Contemporary music, Impressionist music with the traditional Folk and Baroque from Minas Gerais State resulting in a kind of a Brazilian Art rock version, and with renowned musicians: Wagner Tiso, Zé Rodrix, Tavito, Luiz Alves, Frederyko (Fredera).


Even though the 1960s witnessed the phenomenon of Jovem Guarda and the 1970s saw the appearance of many prolific artists, like Raul Seixas, and bands like Os Mutantes, Brazilian rock's explosion began in 1981 with the first expressions of the Brazilian New Wave, later renamed the New Jovem Guarda by the media. The Punk rock already was incorporated but the Ska was the news. The alterations of the English New Wave movement, with its surprising variety of styles, arrived in Brazil through groups and personalities such as the Gang 90, Blitz, Camisa de Vênus, Barão Vermelho, Kid Abelha, Paralamas do Sucesso, Ritchie (musician), Kid Vinil, Fausto Fawcett, Lulu Santos, Radio Taxi, Sempre Livre, Magazine (brazilian band), Marina Lima, Dr. Silvana & Cia., Absyntho, Eduardo Dusek, Kiko Zambianchi, Hanói Hanói, Hojerizah, Engenheiros do Hawaii, RPM, Metrô (band), Uns e Outros, Graffiti (band), Picassos Falsos, ALvin L, Ultraje a Rigor, Legião Urbana, Ira!, Titãs, Capital Inicial, Nenhum de Nós, Dulce Quental, Laura Finocchiaro, Biquini Cavadão, Lobão & Os Ronaldos, Heróis da Resistência, Neusinha Brizola, Léo Jaime and João Penca & Miquinhos Amestrados. The Rock in Rio took over a million people to "Cidade do Rock" (where the event was held) during the ten days of the event, and established Brazil as a venue for international artists - some artists, like Santana and Queen, had come before this event, but the number of international attractions rose abruptly after Rock In Rio.

From Minas Gerais State, the instrumental group Uakti (band) was sprouting and despite their music is not rock in the classic meaning, their experimental music with the instruments built by the group itself (Anton Walter Smetak's influence) started a new era in the brazilian popular music.

The underground scene had - Post-punk with Jazz, Funk, Folk, Rap, Reggae, Art rock, Dodecaphonic and Atonal experience - experimental bands and musicians such as Arrigo Barnabé, Itamar Assumpção, Robson Borba, Zero (brazilian band), Violeta de Outono, Grupo Rumo, Tetê Espíndola, Eliete Negreiros, Bocato, Patife Band, Fellini (band), Tiago Araripe, Akira S & as Garotas que Erraram, Vzyadoc Moe, Voluntários da Pátria, Gueto (band), Os Mulheres Negras, Hermelino Nader - this group was identified as São Paulo Vanguard or "Vanguarda Paulistana", from the beginning of the 1980s. Some "cariocas" (from Rio de Janeiro) representantives of this style are Tim Rescala and Letícia Garcia.

On the other hand had Hard rock, Punk rock and Heavy metal bands such as Golpe de Estado, Viper, Korsus, Ratos de Porão, Mammoth (Band) and Karisma from São Paulo State, De Falla (band) (pioneer in the funk-rock mix too) from Rio Grande do Sul State, Sepultura from Minas Gerais State, Trucidator first Grind Noise Core band from Bahia and Dorsal Atlântica, Rio de Janeiro State, from the mid to late 1980s - this last, the pioneer in the unification of this three styles of hard music. But the one of the first bands of extreme metal from Brazil is the "mineira" (from Minas Gerais) Sarcófago that arose in 1985. The female Thrash metal band Volkana founded in 1987, from Brasília, could compete with a lot of much more known all girl bands in other countries.

This movement is seen as a reflection of the worldview of urban youth who had grown up under a dictatorial regime and faced such processes as industrial expansion, and family deterioration. This is the same generation that enjoyed the democratic abertura (opening) and began to absorb rather quickly an infinite amount of new information, previously inaccessible. The universe of that generation appeared rich in diversity, implying a desire to enjoy the present.

In the 1980s and beginning of the 1990s another group that mixes electronic music scene up appeared - in Santos (São Paulo), Campinas, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro cities - Electronic post-punk, Industrial, EBM, Technopop, and the similar genres - and some bands and artists are well-known in Europe: Loop B, Harry (band), Sicilian Unit, Individual Industry, Biopsy (band), Simbolo, City Limits (band), Inhumanoids (band), Morgue (band), Suba (his album "São Paulo Confessions" is a worldwide milestone to the Electronic music), etc... .

Two musicians and singer songwriters, Renato Russo from Legião Urbana and Cazuza from Barão Vermelho, begun a brilliant solo career from the 1980s to the 1990s, but were HIV fatal victims.


The boundary between the MPB - "Música Popular Brasileira" - and the international pop and rock was largely broken in the 1990s The 1990s saw a resurgence in instrumental rock's popularity, and some of the classic bands from previous decades reformed. Surf music also became popular, especially The Argonauts, The Gasolines and Os Ostras. The Hard rock had in 1993 a new representative in Brazil, Dr. Sin, and the Heavy metal had two debuts: in 1990 Torture Squad and in 1991 Angra (band) - all from São Paulo. But none of these styles could keep up with the new bands who were a large success, like Raimundos (which was formed in the late 1980s, but only released its first album in 1994) with its Forrocore style, Skank and O Rappa with a kind of reggae-rock, Pato Fu the first band with the new alternative characteristic to arrive in the mainstream, and Charlie Brown Jr. in later years with its rock added to the rap. The band Mamonas Assassinas was a great hit with humour and rock and its members died in a tragic plane accident (1996). Also Jota Quest met with the success in the first album, 1996, and arrived with a pop-rock-funk and made several hits.

From the end of the 1980s to beginning of the 1990s names like Pelvs, Planet Hemp, Wry, Relespública, Killing Chainsaw, Pin Ups (band), Second Come, Okotô, Garage Fuzz, Brincando de deus, Virna Lisi (band), Boi Mamão and Karnak are prominent. This moment can be called the first Brazilian independent or alternative scene. It was the Grunge and Britpop times, the Hardcore development, distortion colors and the return to Punk. The independent festival Junta Tribo in Campinas city in 1993 and 1994 and M2000, a great beach festival in Santos (São Paulo), in 1994, were a milestone and turned the independent attitude a new option.

The MTV Brasil Unplugged format brought back bands whose career were considered over, like the Titãs in 1996, Capital Inicial in 2000 and, more recently, Ira! in 2004 and Lobão in 2007.

In the beginning of 90's there was the Manguebeat (or Mangue Bit) movement that put Recife city definitively as one of principal places that has an important modern rock scene. Its style is a cross between the local rhythms, like Maracatú, and Rock, Hip hop and Electronic music . From this movement are Chico Science & Nação Zumbi (with the death of Chico Science the name passed to be Nação Zumbi), Mundo Livre S/A, Fred 04, DJ Dolores, Stella Campos, Otto (musician) etc...

Kurt Cobain after his shows in Brazil with Nirvana (band) in 1993 helped spread the Brazilian rock in the world. David Byrne (Talking Heads member), Beck, Of Montreal, Devendra Banhart were influenced by the 1960s Tropicália and have divulged this musical style to the world. In the 1990s, Björk, Stereolab, Towa Tei, Amon Tobin and The High Llamas, increasingly in their style, were approaching to the "Música Popular Brasileira" - MPB - or Brazilian pop music.

Between final 90's and beginning of the current century are relevant Los Hermanos that is a noteworthy reference to the independent bands, Cássia Eller a woman that recorded several songs of the Brazilian rock musicians and suddenly died in 2001, Pitty that has a good woman bandleader and vocal, and Lobão (that in the 80's was mainstream) started his independent career and is obtaining a brilliant result, and the singer of Sepultura, Max Cavalera, left the band and started Soulfly with the same powerful Heavy metal.

The important hardcore scene from Brasília continued in this period with Raimundos and Rumbora. In the highlight of the Raimundos, Rodolfo Abrantes, the vocal, decided to go out and assembled a new band, Rodox, in 2002, but they continued with the typical creative explosion of hardcore into the end of the band, in 2004.

Melodic hardcore is currently one of the most popular rock genres of the country: bands like CPM 22, ForFun, Fresno, Detonautas and Hateen often hit high spots on the hit parade, thanks mostly to heavy airplay on Brazilian MTV.Ultimately in Brazilian rock scene the bands that most gained attention were NX Zero and Strike (brazilian band).

See also

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