"Vem Pra Rua" and the Soundtrack of Brazil Protests

A car commercial turned protest anthem and other songs of Brazil's uprising.

ByABC News
June 21, 2013, 11:27 AM

June 22, 2013— -- Brazilian authorities may have backpedaled on the 20 centavo bus fare raise, but that doesn't mean the country's protest movement plans to slow down anytime soon. Large-scale protests are expected to continue as demonstrators seek to use their momentum to request broader reforms from the government.

See Also: 5 Reasons Why Brazil Is Protesting

As everybody knows, a protest isn't worth anything without a good soundtrack – people need something to sing and yell in the streets, after all. Below, you'll find a guide to some of the major songs that of the movement: the dressing to Brazil's "Salad Uprising", as it were.

1. A Fiat Commercial Gets Flipped Upside Down

You could call it a sign of the times: the central anthem to the protests isn't by a folk singer or lefty rock band. It's the jingle to a Fiat commercial with the title "Vem Pra Rua" ("Come To The Streets"), and it's everywhere you look: scrawled on signs, topping Facebook memes, synced up to footage of the protests on YouTube and chanted on repeat in the streets.

The song features vocals from Marcelo Falcão, singer for the radio rockers O Rappa, and was written by a jingle-house for Fiat for a campaign centered around the Confederations Cup soccer competition currently taking place in Brazil . The lyrics, which open "Come, let's go to the streets/ Come, this is your party/ Brazil is going to be a giant/ Big like you've never seen before", were intended to pump people up to support the Brazilian national team, with the coded message of driving around the streets in a Fiat.

In an ironic twist for Fiat, the lyrics resonated with protestors who were flooding into the streets not by car, but on foot. Meanwhile the Confederations Cup has actually become a target of the protests, as a symbol of the expensive infrastructure projects untaken for next year's now-controversial World Cup.

"From time to time some jingles transcend the universe of advertising and become part of people's everyday life, and once that happens, the song has no owners anymore, it's everybody's," says Henrique Ruiz Nicolau, the song's composer. "When you're in the advertising music business, you try not to get too attached to your work, but of course I'm happy to see people singing the song. It's good to see it has transcended and people are using it to help them get what they are fighting for."

The Brazilian newspaper Estadão reported on Monday that Fiat would take the commercial off the air this week, allegedly on their original timetable for its run. In a statement, Fiat of Brazil said that the slogan "Vem Pra Rua" was made "with an exclusive focus on the Cup and on the happiness and passion that football awakens in Brazilians."

Watch Video of "Vem Pra Rua" Here

2. Old-School Rocker Goes Viral

On June 16, a song appeared on YouTube called "As coisas não caem do céu" ("Things Don't Fall From The Sky") by an artist named Leoni. Over a gentle guitar strum, a voice sings wistfully, "Why does everybody complain about what they read in the morning newspaper?... /Forget about wishing, and enter the dance/ Things don't fall from the sky." The song came alongside a video made up of clips from the early days of the protest – young Brazilians with signs moving through the nighttime streets.