2013 Brazilian Music Roundup
As 2013 approaches its end, JungleDrums has once again teamed up with the Brazilian portal ElevenCulture and we are now ready to take you on a panoramic flight of Brazilian music. We will fly you through every corner of Brazil, revealing the current crops of all music sorts: samba, soul, rock’n roll, indie, folk, pop, dub , technobrega, arrocha, electro, rap, reggae and so many more.
We have highlighted the latest releases, the trends and the artists who left their footprint on the rich soil of Brazilian music. We have kept an eye on the emerging and promising talents, which are taking off both inside and outside Brazil. If you are out-of-touch with the latest Brazilian music, this is the right time to catch up.
Some of the names may ring a bell: Marcelo Jeneci (from the state of São Paulo) released his second album ‘De Graça’ (by label Som Livre) this year. Ellen Oleria (Distrito Federal), winner of Voice Brasil 2012, switched to Universal Music on her third and eponymous work. The ‘King of Arrocha’ Pablo (Bahia) became a pop phenomenon with ‘Fui Fiel’ (Som Livre). Emicida (São Paulo) beguiled critics with ‘O Glorioso Retorno de Quem Nunca Esteve Aqui (Laboratório Fantasma). Filipe Catto (Rio Grande do Sul) secured a firm place amongst Brazilian music stars with the live CD/DVD ‘Entre Cabelos, Olhos e Furacões (Universal Music). Vanguart (Mato Grosso) embraced her romantic side with ‘Muito Mais Que o Amor’(Deck Disc) and promptly became part of a soap opera soundtrack (a very important gauge of success in Brazil).
There are many more: Rodrigo Amarante (previously from the band Los Hermanos) released his debut album ‘Cavalo’ (Som Livre). Mallu Magalhães launched her greatest hits compilation Highly Sensitive, which is also available in the USA. Lucas Santtana (Bahia) toured his album ‘The God Who Devastates Also Cures’ (Mais um Discos) and was featured in the European press. The comedian Clarice Falcão (Rio de Janeiro) did her first music work ‘Monomania’ (Sony) and received a Latin Grammy nomination for the Best New Artist Award.
Artists long known to Brazilian audiences also helped to shake 2013. This includes BaianaSystem (Bahia) and the Orquestra Orquestra Contemporânea de Olinda (Pernambuco), who brought the Bahian electric guitar and Northeastern rhythms to WOMEX 2013, the largest world music fair on the planet (held in Wales in 2013). The rock bands Vespas Mandarinas, with the album ‘Animal Nacional’, and Nevilton (both from São Paulo), with ‘Sacode’, vied for the Best Brazilian Rock Album Grammy accolade.
New releases also included: the fourth studio album by Cérebro Eletrônico (‘Vamos pro Quarto’, independent label, São Paulo), the second work by Maglore (‘Vamos pra Rua’, independent label, Bahia) and the second one by The Baggios (‘Sina’, Sergipe, by Vigilante). The newcomer Boogarins (Goiás) launched the surprising ‘As Plantas que Curam’ (Other Music Recording – NY).
The MPB divas also toured Brazil and the world. Gaby Amarantos (Pará) performed her technobrega in the USA and the UK (she shook the Barbican in July). Céu (São Paulo) embarked on the ‘Caravana Sereia Bloom’ tour (one of her songs was featured in the Brazilian soundtrack of the film Star Trek – Into the Darkness). And Tulipa Ruiz (São Paulo) presented ‘Tudo Tanto’, firmly establishing herself as one of the strongest emerging talents in the MPB genre (‘Música Popular Brasileira’, a subtle and more artistic type of Brazilian pop music).
Gal Costa is back with the DVD ‘Recanto ao Vivo 2013′ (Universal Music), at 68 years of age. She is in excellent shape, with a cutting-edge performance complete with elements of indie-rock and experimental electronic music.
Master Caetano Veloso, who composed all the tracks in ‘Recanto’, became embroiled in a controversy surrounding the censoring of biographies (click read in order to read it) and, on a more positive note, swooped the Latin Grammy for Best Singer-Songwriter Album with ‘Abraçaço’ (Universal Music).
Seu Jorge, Jota Quest e Roberto Carlos were also awarded in the event.
MPB singer João Bosco (Minas Gerais) celebrated a career spanning 40 years with a tour around the country. Arnaldo Antunes (formerly part of the rock band Os Titãs) launched ‘Disco’, a project recorded in the intervals between concerts and travels. Marisa Monte returned to the stages with the ‘Verdade Uma Ilusão’ tour, supported by Nação Zumbi musicians Lúcio Maia, Dengue e Pupillo.
The MPB muse Zizi Possi also bounced back after an eight-year fight against a degenerative spinal disease with the ‘Tudo se Transformou’ tour.
A new era?
Those in touch with the music industry in Brazil have probably noticed the conspicuous presence of vibrant new entrants. These powerful and diverse artists are making inroads outside the big label circuit.
Iuri Freiberg, who has produced more than 100 albums, analyses the market and the 2013 legacy: “We are saturated with pop music. We are fed up with empty music, made purely for entertainment and commercial purposes. I feel that Brazilians want music with more quality and depth, for smaller niches and audiences”
Journalist and researcher Bruno Nogueira also believes that Brazilian music is veering towards a less “trendy” and more diverse path. He evaluates: “Since 2001 we’ve not had a single definite artist in Brazilian music (unlike in the 1980s, or the 1990s with Los Hermanos). Artists like Michel Teló do not have much of an afterlife”.
Nogueira, who is also the former curator of Festival Abril Pro Rock, also comments on a new wave of Brazilian exports. “These changes are triggered by a growth in the number of independent artists. They have realised the importance of the international markets, and that the entry doors more are accessible than previously thought. The opportunities have always been there, but the efforts are now bigger than ever”.
The year of 2013 was not big for more commercial music, such as arrocha and sertanejo (Brazilian country), and no specific pop artist left a strong footprint. Instead, this year will be remembered for a phenomenon that started some time ago: a new music industry is being consolidated outside the big labels and entertainment industry (such as TV Globo). This industry is less centralised and more self-sustainable, with smaller and more focused projects. The Internet made music more democratic, allowing to masses to reach out for artists who are not featured on the radio
A new generation of artists and business entrepreneurs are spreading their wings, aiming for the international markets. Most of them are supported by the Brazilian funding laws, presenting new sounds and solutions for Brazilian music. Judging by 2013, these people have a bright future ahead.
Jungledrums and ElevenCulture are now preparing a delicious ‘Top 100 of Brazilian Music’ – we will share it with you early next year. So stay tuned!
Translated by Victor Fraga