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Radio 3's featured artist: Os Tropies

Louise Burns

Radio 3’s first featured artist of 2017 is Toronto’s Os Tropies, who meld Brazilian Tropicália music with psychedelic rock sensibilities. Their music is rich with polyrhythmic grooves, sultry percussion and fuzzed out guitar, offering a bright sonic explosion during the year’s most dismal time.

Os Tropies is made up of six members of the Toronto music scene who met while attending university for music. Bonded by a love of the 1960s Tropicália movement from Brazil (Gilberto Gil, Os Mutantes, Caetano Veloso), they built their reputation by tipping their hat to the genre, but keeping their feet firmly planted in the now, as heard on last year's full length album The Soil.

"A lot of this music came out of a period when I was asking questions about how our society got to the point it is now." says vocalist Amy Medvick in a press release. "Previously, there hadn't been any overarching theme to my writing other than that I wanted to write songs that responded to the Tropicália movement of Brazil. But I was also thinking about colonialism, the legacy of slavery, about patriarchy and the human destruction of the environment, and this was beginning to affect my interests and my songwriting."

The Soil is a joyful, mystical exploration of genres lead by Medvick. Singing in both English and Portuguese, she can sound breezy and coy, a la Gal Costa, or powerful and mighty, like a wave of colour across a kaleidoscopic sea. The band come together with lush, equatorial arrangements using everything from bongos and berimbaus to theramins and church organs.

“...the genre of Tropicália, which incorporated global musical sounds in wacky and interesting ways, naturally perpetuates the Canadian melting-pot mentality,” explains bassist Carlie Howell in an email to Radio 3. “While we are fortunate not to be living in the political turmoil of the 1960s or contemporary Brazil, as young adults and artists we are most definitely exploring our personal and generational identities, values and issues of our time through our music."

Here "Vir Me Amar" below, which is also one of Radio 3's top 103 songs of 2016.