The musician Arnaldo Baptista, one of the founders of the group Os Mutantes alongside Rita Lee, manifested himself moments after the confirmation of the singer’s death, this Tuesday (9), with a tribute to his former partner on social networks.
“Rita Lee brought a circus side to Mutantes, which involved humour, clothes and instruments she played, like the Theremin. In addition to our partnerships, such as ‘Balada do Louco’, among many others. Rest in Peace”, wrote Arnaldo, with a photo of the singer and “her ocelot Ziggy Stardust”, according to the musician himself.
Shortly after, Arnaldo even published a story on Instagram with an art that says “Rita ‘n’ Roll”.
In addition to being Rita Lee’s musical partner in the Mutantes, Arnaldo was also married to Rita Lee in the group’s heyday. Despite this, the relationship between them suffered shocks that caused both the end of the marriage and the departure of the singer from the trio, in 1972.
The History of the Mutants
Years before becoming one of the biggest solo artists in Brazil, with hits ranging from hard rock to pop, including romantic ballads, Rita Lee was a founder and member of Mutantes, a rock pioneer in the country.
The band, which originated in São Paulo in the mid-1960s, started with Rita as vocalist and the brothers Sérgio Dias on guitar and Arnaldo Baptista on bass – both also sang in the band.
The first album, Os Mutantes (1968), was released in June 1968, shortly before the joint album Tropicália ou Panis et Circensis (1968), where the rookie trio shared the attention with Caetano Veloso, Gal Costa, Gilberto Gil, Nara Leão and Tom Zé in the work that launched the tropicalist movement – and where Mutantes appeared in the interpretation of “Panis et Circensis, composed by Caetano and Gil.
In total, there were five albums with this formation. In addition, Rita recorded her first solo album, Build Up (1970), with the participation of Arnaldo, and even had the whole band playing in Hoje é o Primeiro Dia do Resto de Sua Vida (1972) – an album by Mutantes that, due to contractual issues, it was released under the singer’s name only.
The group’s trajectory, which soon incorporated bassist Arnolpho Lima Filho (Liminha) and drummer Dinho Leme, while Arnaldo increasingly took over the keyboards, began based on the psychedelic rock of the 1960s, influenced by the Beatles and the tropicalism itself.
Over the years, however, the group took on a sound closer to the progressive rock of bands like Yes and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, which already permeates the latest releases with Rita Lee still in the band.
Rita’s tumultuous departure
It was this inclination of Mutantes towards the progressive that, according to the singer’s reports, stimulated Rita Lee’s expulsion from the group.
“I arrive at rehearsal and find myself in a tense/dense atmosphere. It was like one looking away, the other looking at the ceiling, fiddling with an instrument and such. Until Arnaldo broke the ice, took the floor and communicated to me, not in those words, but the meaning was the same, that at that wake the deceased was me”, said Rita Lee in her autobiography, released in 2016.
“We decided that from now on you are out of Mutantes because we decided to follow the progressive-virtuose line and you don’t have caliber as an instrumentalist”, she says.
“A spit in the face would be less humiliating. Instead of throwing myself on my knees crying and begging forgiveness for being born a woman, I played the elegant silent. I left the room in a dramatic mood, packed my bag, took [o cachorro] Danny and adiós”, she completes in the work.
Arnaldo Baptista confirmed, in an interview with the Whiplash website in 2007, that he was responsible for the dismissal of Rita Lee. At the time, he participated in a Mutantes meeting, which included Sérgio Dias, Dinho Leme and Zélia Duncan, as a guest, to replace Rita.
The troubled divorce was also addressed in Rita’s autobiography, amidst critical reports about her relationship with Arnaldo.
“At the premiere of the show Entrances and Flags [disco de Rita Lee com o Tutti Frutti de 1976] at the Aquarius theater, I saw him in the front row giving a thumbs-down and a disgusted face. Made a point of ostensibly getting up and leaving halfway through,” he recounted.
“We met again on the day of signing the divorce, or rather, the separation. Seeing my big pregnant belly, the judge got nervous: ‘Absolutely not, let’s deal with the reconciliation of the couple and this innocent child that will be born…’.Blah-blah-blah. In a minute I explained that the child was not my ‘husband’ and that his new ‘wife’ was also pregnant. He quickly signed the paperwork and dismissed us,” she reported.
Liminha also manifests
Another former companion of Rita Lee in the Mutantes who mourned the singer’s death was music producer Liminha, the band’s former bassist.
“My partner in music and humor. We had characters, she was “Anibal” (Niba the mechanic) and I was “Sidinêi”, Miria’s brother… we were always joking… Rita, besides her talent, her image, her name, was the one who brought the band a good mood. Dear Rita, we will miss her so much, rest in peace…”, she wrote.
*Contributed by Marina Toledo, from CNN
Source: CNN Brasil
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