Common Threads

Nation Beat - Growing Stone
Nation Beat

Growing Stone (Barbès Records, 2011)

Nation Beat is a band formed by musicians from the United states and Brazil. Their sound is a mix of Brazilian forró, maracatú drumming and American rock and roots music, including country music, western swing, Cajun fiddling and funk.

I had an epiphany while I was living in Recife” says drummer and band leader Scott Kettner “I realized that there were many similarities with the music I grew up hearing from the deep American south with the music I was studying every day”. Scott spent a few years in Recife. “I started exploring the common threads between Mardi Gras Indians and coco, maracatu and Second Line, forró with cajun and zydeco and many more.”

Mixing Brazilian and American music “is no longer a concept but rather a way of life,” says Scott . “When I sit down an write a song I’m not thinking about how I can put this rhythm on top of that song and mix it with these chords. I sit down and write – and Brazil and the USA come out naturally because that’s who I am.”

Nation Beat’s lead singer is Liliana Araujo from Fortaleza, Brazil. She moved to New York four years ago. “When I’m singing, be it Portuguese, French, English, Creole, German or Yiddish… don’t matter, my heart will always be in it,” says Araujo. “The language is merely a detail.”

The band uses a combination of American and Brazilian folk music instruments, including fiddle, clarinet, rebeca, guitars and various percussion. Growing Stone includes guest appearances by Mickey Raphael (Willie Nelson’s longtime harmonica player), Brazilian percussionist Cyro Baptista, Cajun fiddler David Greely (Mamou Playboys), keyboardist Rob Curto (Lila Downs) and Sao Paulo guitarist Joaõ Erbetta.

Willie Nelson invited Nation Beat to perform at Farm Aid recently, where he played the entire set with the band. “Hanging with Willie Nelson was a very overwhelming experience” says Scott. “He’s an American icon and has been one of my musical heroes since I was a kid. Willie was very encouraging towards us and also very genuine. After playing with us his manager told me that he hasn’t seen Willie smile so much on stage in a long time.”

Growing Stone delivers an innovative fusion of musics from Brazil and the American South.

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