One of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s top officials for culture is declaring a war on rock and roll. In an article from CNN, Dante Mantovani the newly-appointed head of the National Arts Foundation (Funarte) shared in a post on his personal YouTube page. He says, “Rock music leads to drugs, which leads to sex, which leads to abortions. At the same time, the abortion industry feeds into something much more serious which is Satanism.”
On December 2, Mantovani was appointed to run Funarte, a Brazilian government agency with a mission to “promote and incentivize the production, practice, development and diffusion of the arts throughout the country.” Founded in 1975, it fell under the Ministry of Culture until that ministry was dissolved by Bolsonaro’s government, and became a subdivision of the Ministry of Citizenship.
In an eleven-minute video, posted on October 30, Mantovani criticizes rock icons Elvis Presley and John Lennon. “Lennon openly said, more than once, that he made a pact with the devil, with Satan, in order to be famous and successful. In the 1950’s this so-called Elvis Presley emerges with rock music that makes everyone bounce and shake their hips,” Mantovani adds. “This is when certain behaviors start being introduced, Elvis Presley, for instance, died of an overdose.”
It is unclear whether Mantovani’s views could affect any projects that might finance initiatives for rock music events. But as a government entity responsible for determining public policy and federal funding for music and arts initiatives, the foundation’s support can be critical. Mantovani tends toward classical styles and identifies himself as a “maestro” with a master’s degree in linguistics, according to his personal website. He studied the violin, trumpet, piano and led choirs and orchestras in different cities throughout Brazil.
Mantovani also blames rock music for destroying the fabric of the American “moral” family in the 1960s and indulges “certain theories” that the CIA distributed the hallucinogenic drug LSD at the 1969 Woodstock festival. “Woodstock, that festival from the 1960s that gather a bunch of people, where hippies took drugs and LSD, there are certain theories that suggest that the large scale distribution of the drug was actually carried out by the CIA,” Mantovani said.”What happens with rock is that the rhythm is always very repetitive. When a musical genre is more based on rhythm is speaks more to the body than the soul.”
Angra bassist Felipe Andreoli responded that he was “embarrassed” to have his band associated with Mantovani, in a post on his personal Instagram account.”So much ignorance, so much disinformation, so embarrassed to have my band associated in any way with this guy. I’m not going to waste my time attacking his comments because, those of us who live off of and know about rock music know that he is delirious. It scares me to see such a retrograde, fanatical person in such an important position for our country’s culture.”