Time to get political: Mercenárias & Brazilian post-punk

Merecenerias Brazilian Post Punkby Aiko Masubuchi

So much of the world is vibrating with politics everyday but being a Japanese living in America who went to an elementary school run by British ex-pats, I can’t help but feel the high tension of the rising right and the shattering effects it is having to so much of my world view.

As with many things when you’re open to it, influences pour into your life. Right now, for me, it’s Brazil and Brazilian music. I had forgotten until recently, but I grew up listening to this one radio show in Japan called Saúde! Saudade without even knowing what those two Brazilian words meant. My friend recently told me that Saudade has a very significant importance in the Brazilian language and points towards a deep sense of nostalgia and missing people and bygone innocence (you know, one of those words that essentially cannot be translated and you just have to live it and feel it and use it).

One of my recent discoveries through a friend (thanks Alexandre da Silva) that I’m only starting to explore is Brazilian post-punk and it has begun with Mercenárias. The band was formed in 1982 in São Paolo, Brazil by Sandra Coutinho, Rosália Munhoz and Ana Machado who were all college students at the time either studying Psychology or Journalism. Their first drummer was Edgard Scandurra but he left to concentrate on his band Ira! (another Brazilian punk band from the 80s) and was replaced by Lourdes “Lou” Moreira by the time the band released their first album. So by the time Cadê as Armas? came out, they were a quartet of badass females singing about the patriarchy, criticizing the government and putting on extremely powerful shows. Here are two videos I’ve been obsessing over.

First up is Scandurra on drums

and here’s one with Lou on the drums

In 2015, their demo EP was re-issued by Dama Da Noite Discos, a record label in São Paolo. If anybody has this reissue – let’s be friends – or please blast it loud enough so I can hear it here in Brooklyn and the world can hear it. But for those of us who were not lucky enough to get a copy before it sold out, you can stream it here.

If you’re feeling politically charged like me today, maybe the Mercenárias will speak to you, for you and with you.


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