Samba Chula de What?

Yes, it’s a complicated name, but an unmissable show at Momo’s.

The first time I came across Samba Chula was during a freezing night in Copenhagen where I was actually looking to find out if the new music from Brazil was ready to conquer the hearts (and pockets) of music promoters of the world. The show was part of the main events at Womex, the trade show focusing on World Music. The year was 2010 and the new sound from Brazil came in the form of Karina Buhr, the energetic and colourful singer from Pernambuco.

Even with a stellar team of guitar players (Edgard Scandurra from Ira!, a famous punk-rock group from the 80s, and Fernando Catatau, leader of Cidadão Instigado) and her crazy stage antics, Karina was unable to capture the audience’s attention. The time slot right after the loud and even more energetic Bomba Estéreo from Colombia did not help.

Not far from there, at a different stage, the old music of Brazil was triumphing. The veterans of Samba Chula de São Braz were doing their best not only to win the audience, but to keep alive a tradition. Chula, which in Portuguese means something of no value, is Brazil’s seminal form of Samba, brought to Bahia by Bantu slaves and developed on the sugarcane plantations. Nowadays it is played only by a few people around the country, among them this nine piece from São Bráz. Using instruments like viola, violão and cavaquinho (a high-pitched small guitar) they sing and dance using a lot of candomblé rhythms that create sometimes a hypnotic feel to the songs.

After the memorable performance at Womex, they were invited to tour around the globe and now they arrive in London for the first time to play a gig at the small and cosy Momo’s, famous for it’s musical friendship with Africa and Brazil. A perfect combination and a night definitely not to be missed.

by Juliano Zappia

Find full details of the show here:

Here’s a video of Samba Chula de Sao Braz performing at Womex in Copenhagen:

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