Fresh faces of Brazil’s new music
Samba-psychobilly to kuduro-baiana: a gringo’s musical odyssey in Brazil
My introduction to Brazilian music was through the jazz-samba and bossa nova that Gilles Peterson played on his mid 90s radio shows. Further explorations led me to manguebeat and Tropicália which appealed to the indie-dance-kid in me. This got me wondering who the Brazilian artists influenced by these genres were now. The only compilations I could find focused on baile-funk or new-bossa yet I wanted the Brazilian equivalent to Rough Trade’s “Counter Culture” albums – a snapshot of the most exciting new Brazilian music across all genres – so I decided to make my own.
I began by trawling blogs & myspace – 21st century crate digging. I remember one night wading through scores of Brazilian psychobilly bands who all had such fantastic names – I was convinced I’d find one making some incredible samba-psychobilly. I didn’t. However later that evening I stumbled across the BaianaSystem’s ‘O Carnaval Quem é Que Faz – a guitarra Baiana crossed with kuduro and a guaranteed dancefloor smash. I felt like I’d won the lottery!
As with any genre of music you haven’t heard before it can take a while for your ears to warm to it. On first listen tecnobrega from the city of Belém can sound like bad 90s euro-pop. Dig a little deeper though and you find artists such as Maderito and Gaby Amarantos who make contagious pop-dance smashes that even a hardened cynic like me finds irresistible. Hearing Gaby Amarantos’s ‘Melody Do Vetron’ for the first time was like being transported 20 years back in time to that moment when as pop-hungry 13 year old I first heard Technotronic’s ‘Pump up the Jam’.
After months of research I visited Brazil in late 2009 and spent a month traveling round listening to bands, making new friends and drinking pints of cachaça. The highlights were numerous: Mini Box Lunar @ Goiana Noise festival, Cordel de Fogo Encantado in Belem (one of their last concerts), Porcas Borboletas in Sao Paulo, Belem & Goiana, listening to tecnobrega whilst driving round Belem and hanging out with DJ Dolores in Recife.
Fast forward nine months and the fruits of my labour have resulted in Oi!, a 40 track 2CD compilation that flits from tropical rock to novo tropicalia via eletromelody, dub and folk music and which Gilles Peterson, my original Brazilian inspiration, has just announced as his compilation of the month.
Oi! A Nova Música Brasileira
Mini Box Lunar (Macapá)
Catarina Dee Jah (Olinda)
Gaby Amarantos & Maderito (Belém)
Porcas Borboletas (Uberlândia)
Flora Matos (Brasília)
London is well served for Brasilian music: Movimientos are the dons of alternative Latin sounds and regularly put on Brasilian electro-roots DJs & acts; DJ Cliffy serves up a tried and tested mix of samba, tropicália & electro-Brasil with Batmacumba; Club Popozouda offers baile-funk & tecnobrega courtesy of residents João Brasil & The Bumps and from 2011 I’ll start promoting gigs featuring some of the most exciting Brasilian artists around so watch this space: maisumdiscos.com
By DJ Mais Um Gringo