Tag Archives: Afro-Brazilian

Bixiga 70, Where Brazil and Africa Get Together

Bixiga 70 – Quebra Cabeça (Glitterbeat, 2018)

The Sao Paulo instrumental group Bixiga 70 is where Brazil and Africa meet. Their layered sound is explosive and energetic and all you have to do is hold on while the music takes over. With the recordings Ocupai, Bixiga 70 and III already under their belts, Bixiga 70 is ready to ride the airwaves again with their latest Quebra Cabeça set for release on October 19th on the Glitterbeat label.

The groups baritone saxophone player and flautist Cuca Ferreira explains, “From the very beginning, what we have always had in common is African-Brazilian music. Some of us come from candomblé (the African-Caribbean religion), others from jazz, reggae, dub, and everything. The whole idea of the band has been to take all these different elements that form us, from Africa and Brazil, and create a hybrid from them.”

Combining the talents of guitarist Chris Scabello, baritone saxophonist and flutist Cuca Ferreira, trumpeter Daniel Gralha, drummer Deicio 7, tenor saxophonist Daniel Nogueira, trombonist Douglas Antunes, bassist Marcelo Dworecki, keyboardist and guitarist Mauricio Fleury and percussionist Romulo Nardes, Bixiga 70 summons up an impossibly rich mix that finds space for Africa’s meaty percussive riches, Brazil’s infectious dance scene all the while sticking fingers into dub, jazz and reggae. So good luck sitting still with a dose of Quebra Cabeca.

Mr. Ferreira notes that the group’s influences often evolve out of collaboration and says, “We’ve been exposed to so much. So many of the people we’ve played with have had an impact on us, like Pat Thomas, the Ghanaian highlife singer or (Nigerian saxophonist) Orlando Julius. And then we toured and recorded with João Donato. He’s over 80 now and still playing piano, one of the icons of Brazilian music. We’ve learned from them all, they’ve made us think about what we can do with our music. Those new ideas have found their way into this album.”

The music of Quebra Cabeca is delicious from the percussion and sizzling guitar opening of title track “Quebra Cabeca” through to high energy dance track “Ilha Vizinha” through to the revolving musical theme of the Brazil soaked bold brass of “Pedra de Raio.”

We want people to relate to our melodies, to take the line a vocalist might use and play it on the horns,” says Mr. Ferreira. “Sometimes in instrumental music, the players are so good it ends up putting the listener at a distance. We make music as a celebration, a way to connect and bring some joy. We want to draw them in. We try to write something very memorable.”

The melange of sound on Quebra Cabeca is enticing and thrilling. Fans won’t want to miss out on the keyboard or trumpet sections of “Cantos” or the jazzy lushness of “Ladeira” or the dreamy mysteries conjured up on “Levante.” The quick paced “Torre” is just as delicious as the percussion and bass rich “Camelo” and as good as closing track “Portal.”

The layers of sound on Quebra Cabeca isn’t just electrifying it’s evocative and interesting. Too often listeners get hung up on the vocals, but with Bixiga 70 the nuances of turns of phrase are taken not by vocals but by instruments and it’s thrilling. Bixiga 70 adds meat to the bones and it’s all delicious.

Buy Quebra Cabeça

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An Evening with Carlinhos Brown in New York City

Carlinhos Brown

Brazilian star and innovator Carlinhos Brown is set to perform on Saturday, July 15 at 8:00 pm at David Geffen Hall in New York City.

Carlinhos Brown is an acclaimed songwriter, percussionist, and record producer from Salvador, Bahia. He mixes Brazilian and African rhythms with rock, folk music and pop. His shows feature spectacular percussion, a full band that includes electric guitars and brass, colorful costumes, and non-stop dance.

His most recent albums are Marabó, Vibraaasil and Sarau du Brown.

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Rising Talent from Bahia

Alê Kali – Alê Kali (independent, 2016)

The self-titled album by Alê Kali reveals a fascinating vocalist and songwriter from Bahia (Brazil). She is now based in France, near Bordeaux, where she recorded the album.

Alê Kali is an exquisite recording where Alê Kali’s expressive vocals are accompanied by a wide range of acoustic percussion, bass and various other instruments. Although the majority of the influences are Brazilian, Alê Kali has absorbed additional influences in her new home, such as North African, Gypsy and Balkan.
Her Brazilian musical influences include samba, Brazilian popular music and Nordestina music (forró, côco, maracatu)

The line on the album includes her band, featuring Anthony Duvalle (France) on percussion and Josias Liashw (Brazil) on bass. Guests include Matthew ‘Teteu’ Gillemant on guitars; Patricia Sireyjol on cavaquinho; Celia Reggiani on Fender Rhodes;, Jorge Solovera on guitar; Hugo Lins on viola 12 strings; Mathis Pollack on saxophone; Paolo Chatet on trumpet; Silvano Michelino on percussion; Karine Huet on accordion; Pierre Carrie on keyboards; and Michelino Matteo on guitar.

Alê Kali showcases the talent of a great new vocalist from Brazil, who tastefully combines Brazilian traditions with global music influences.

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A Bold, Tense Album by Elza Soares

Elza Soares – The Woman at the End of the World (Mais Um Discos, 2016)

The Woman at the End of the World (originally released as A Mulher do Fim do Mundo in Brazil in 2015) is the latest album (her 34th) by iconic Brazilian artist Elza Soares. She is a well-known samba and Afro-Brazilian singer with a husky voice, and an activist who fights for the rights of blacks and the poor in Brazil.

Woman at the End of the World teams up Soares, who’s in her late 70s now, and musicians from São Paulo in what they describe as dirty samba (samba sujo). The musical result is an extraordinary mix of irresistible samba beats, trance-like distorted electric guitars, contemporary electronics, brass riffs, ambient sounds, improvisation, reggae, rock, and Elsa’s unmistakable samba-soul voice.

The lyrics center around significant topics of 21st century Brazil: discrimination, blackness, domestic violence, sex and drug dependence.

Elza Soares became popular in the 1950s and 60s. Her hits included “Se Acaso Você Chegasse” (1960), “Boato” (1961), “Cadeira Vazia” (1961), “Só Danço Samba” (1963), “Mulata Assanhada” (1965) and “Aquarela Brasileira” (1974). She married Garrincha, one of Brazil’s most famous football (soccer) players.

The Woman at the End of the World shows the vitality of a veteran artist who is willing to experiment and take her music across the familiar samba boundaries.

Buy The Woman at the End of the World in the Americas

Buy The Woman at the End of the World in Europe

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