World Cup interview: Richard David Court

The English-born musician moved to Brazil in 1972 and became one of the country’s biggest pop stars

Musician Richard David Court was born in Kent and moved to Brazil in 1972 after meeting some Brazilian musicians in London. By the 1980s he was one of the country’s biggest pop stars after a string of hits.

Why did you move to Brazil?

I was studying at Oxford and recording with a London band when I met Rita Lee and Liminha of Os Mutantes and accepted their invitation to visit and perhaps play with them in Brazil. When I arrived, it was a huge contrast to the UK. I was fascinated by the sunlight, the weather, the friendly people, the wonderful music, the topography of Rio, the sound of the language . . . everything about Brazil was different, shiny and new to me. I just fell in love with the place.

What is the most striking change in the intervening decades?


I arrived at the height of the political repression. I wasn’t particularly interested in Brazilian politics, I just wanted to play music, but you couldn’t help but notice the military presence on the streets. My musician friends and I got frisked in the street quite often just because we had long hair. This all changed with the movement for direct presidential elections at the turn of the 1980s.

What was it like becoming an English pop star in Brazil?

A huge surprise! My original plans were to just get by as a musician. I spent many years teaching English and eating cheese sandwiches and oatmeal before I hit the big time. Then suddenly in the early 1980s, I was selling more records in Brazil than Michael Jackson. I toured all over the country playing towns that had never even heard live electric guitars before.

Will you be rooting for Brazil or England and what about if they meet at some stage?

I'll most likely be watching the World Cup on TV and will be cheering for England and for Brazil in equal measure. If they play each other I'll feel just fine whichever way the game goes.

What sort of reception can visiting fans expect in Brazil?

Brazilians are notoriously hospitable and friendly and really enjoy their football and are openly proud of their cultural heritage so visitors and soccer fans can expect to have the time of their lives.