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In the early ’60s, Caetano Veloso was a philosophy student, riding the waves of Brazil’s cultural changes, writing about film, acting in avant-garde theater, and singing bossa nova at night. By the end of the decade, Brazil had a right-wing government, and Veloso had helped found the radical musical movement Tropicalia, performing politically charged songs like “E Proibid Proibir” (“It Is Prohibited to Prohibit”). He took on sexual hypocrisy and racism, embraced technological change, and was inspired by not only bossa nova and Carmen Miranda, but also the Beatles and Andy Warhol. In those wild and dangerous days, Veloso was so influential he was once pressured by the government to write a song praising the Trans-Amazonic Highway—and eventually forced into a three-year political exile in London. His latest release, Livro, is as wild as you could hope for from the 56-year-old innovator; it combines thumping Afro-Brazilian rhythms with sophisticated orchestration, modernist aesthetics, and elements from tango, fado, and rock. And Veloso still takes on a variety of lyrical topics with equal parts romantic enthusiasm and dadaist irreverence, one moment praising the power of “Livros” (“Books”), the next telling a harpy to “N’Tao Enche” (“Piss Off”). Veloso is studied in universities for both his contributions to Musica Popular Brasileira and his cultural criticism (Verdade Tropical, a volume of his polemics and memories, will published later this year); tonight’s performance, his first in Washington, is a cultural history lesson you shouldn’t skip. At 8 p.m. Thursday, July 15, at the Warner Theatre, 513 13th St. NW. $25-$45. (202) 783-4000. (John Dugan)