Cannes Lions

The Unsilenced Samba

ALMAPBBDO, Sao Paulo / AB INBEV / 2019

Presentation Image
Supporting Content
Demo Film






Antarctica is a beer with a robust presence in Rio de Janeiro, the city where samba was born, and has always sought to support the genre in its communications. With that in mind, the brand was looking for an initiative that would create awareness and connect to people – especially those from Rio – through music. And all this came against a backdrop of extreme political polarization and tension.


The Unsilenced Samba is a project that resurrected “Céu-País,” a composition by Gonzaguinha, one of the most important musicians in the history of Brazilian samba. The song had lyrics critical of the military dictatorship, and was censored by the authorities before it could be recorded. Years later Gonzaguinha died, and the song never saw the light of day. Now, for the first time, it’s been brought to life in a musical style faithful to Gonzaguinha’s own. The singer’s voice was recreated as closely as possible so that it could finally ring out across Brazil, nearly 30 years after his death.


Samba is particularly cherished in Rio de Janeiro, Antarctica’s main market. That’s why the brand has adopted the strategy of using the genre to build an affinity with their public. To lend the campaign even more awareness, the brand opted to take an approach that would touch on both samba and an extremely relevant discussion in Brazil today, by way of a historical fact that was already part of the public consciousness: censorship under the dictatorship.


Bringing “Céu-País” back to life entailed an intense research process, from the search for the banned lyrics amongst the thousands of documents produced by censorship agencies during Brazil’s dictatorship to an exhaustive study of Gonzaguinha’s scores, compositional style, and vocal timbre. All that was crucial for the final execution, where we used the lyrics to construct the melody and sound quality of the song as faithfully as possible. With a mixture of vocal reconstruction software programs and techniques, Gonzaguinha’s voice was remade, virtually identical to the original. The song, which was played on radios across the country, was also released with a film and a lyric video.


The initiative brought attention to a discussion that’s become common on social media in Brazil, where a vocal minority is expressing support for a return to military rule. Online, the belated launch of “Céu-País” sparked debates about the consequences of these sorts of regimes. Moreover, the song – which had been silenced for nearly 40 years – has now been played for over 13 million minutes online and on radio stations across the country, with more than 8 million views and 292.2 million impressions. Gonzaguinha’s voice, silent for so long, was able to ring out all over Brazil.

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