Tag Archives: Brazil

Electronic Edgy and Savagely Cool Luisa Maita

Luisa Maita – Fio da Memoria (Cumbancha, 2016)

Fans of the Brazilian songwriter and songstress Luisa Maita are set to be rewarded a big payout on their patience in waiting around for her follow-up recording to her 2010 hit recording Lero-Lero. It’s not like she hasn’t been busy with world touring, working with the electronic band Ladytron’s Daniel Hunt, recording with British group Da Lata and lending her voice to Rio’s Olympic Games opening ceremony. One listen to Ms. Maita’s Fio da Memoria or Thread of Memory, set for release on September 23rd on the Cumbancha music label, and one gets that this sleek, silky lushness isn’t something pounded out in an afternoon.

Teaming up DJ and electronic musician Tejo Damasceno and bass player and producer Ze Nigro, Ms. Maita has taken popular Brazilian musical constructs like the samba and bossa nova, along with pop music and the rich collection of Brazil’s female singers, and squeezed and condensed that sound through a filter of electronic and beat music. The effect is densely lush and cutting edge delicious.

Ms. Maita says of the recording, “It is a very subjective, personal and emotional record. I tried not to limit myself to a certain musical style, and in this diversity there is unity. I wanted to revisit the Brazilian rhythms and other sounds that I have heard growing up from a contemporary, electronic and urban perspective.”

Opening with a subterranean sultry on “Na Asa,” listener come up against the wonderfully seductive vocals of Ms. Maita against a backdrop of the hip sharpness of electronica conjured up on Fio da Memoria. And, it just gets better with an almost predatory combination of bass, guitar and percussion on the fierce “Around You.” Wrapped up in synthesizers, electronic beats, effects, Brazilian percussion and Ms. Maita’s tantalizing vocals, Fio da Memoria rides waves of electronic edgy and savagely cool.

The record is about what Brazil is today aesthetically, in this electronic age,” says Ms. Maita.

The deliciousness gets good with the meaty beat and razor sharp electronica on “Porão,” the kickass groove of title track “Fio da Memoria” and the guitar laced “Sutil” and the Brazilian percussion packed “Folia.” Perhaps my favorite track is the dreamy “Ela” with its lazy coolness punctuated by Ms. Maita’s sultry vocals and an easy and jazzy feel. Fio da Memoria closes with “Jump,” a lush listen to Ms. Maita’s layered solo vocals that is much too short but well worth a listen.

If this is what Brazil’s electronic age sounds like I’m all for it.

Buy Fio da Memoria in the Americas

Buy Fio da Memoria in Europe


Brazil’s Graveola Release Camaleao Borboleta

Graveola - Camaleão Borboleta
Graveola – Camaleão Borboleta

Post-tropicalista Brazilian band Graveola have a new album titled Camaleão Borboleta (Chameleon Butterfly). The new recording features socially conscious lyrics concerning the power of the internet, native Brazilian-Indian struggles and issues around marijuana legalization.

Graveola’s musical style is hard to define. They construct a hybrid mix using elements of tropicalia, samba, rock brasileiro, and Brazilian folk rhythms along with reggae and salsa to develop unexpected new hybrids they describe as “psychedelic maracatu”, “shamanic funaná”, “weird salsa”, “schizo-rock-fake-reggae” and “melancholic internet love ballad.” The band released Eu Preciso De Um Liquidificador in 2013.

Buy Camaleão Borboleta in the Americas

Buy Camaleão Borboleta in Europe


Brazilian Bands Today at SummerStage in New York City


SummerStage will present several Brazilian today, Saturday, August 6 in Central Park, Manhattan. The artists featured include Monobloco, Cabruêra, Boogarins, and DJ Luiz Santos. Admission is free.


Well-known for incorporating diverse rhythms and styles into the samba beat, Monobloco was created in 2000 by C.A. Ferrari, Celso Alvim, Mário Moura, Pedro Luís and Sidon Silva (members of the band Pedro Luís e A Parede) as a result of a percussion workshop. Currently, the group performs in a yearly parade that closes the carnival festivities and is followed through the streets of Rio de Janeiro by half a million people. Its founders also created Monobloco Show, a smaller group of 17 musicians that performs all over the country and abroad, playing an average of 10 shows per month. The band’s discography includes Arrastao Da Alegria, Ao Vivo and Monobloco 10.


Cabruêra is a band showing the other side of Brazil’s rich music scene beyond Bossa and Samba. Based in the dry and barren region of Northeast Brazil, Cabruêra spices up the rural rhythms with urban styles. The band’s recordings include: Colors of Brazil, Cabruera and Proibido Cochilar.


Boogarins’ Fernando “Dino” Almeida and Benke Ferraz began playing music together as teenagers in the central Brazilian city of Goiânia – creating psychedelic pop in their parents’ gardens, filtering their country’s rich musical history through a modern lens. By the time the group’s home-recorded debut LP, As Plantas Que Curam, was released on Other Music Recording Co. in late 2013, the band had recruited a proper rhythm section and were developing a name around Goiânia. Soon after, the now-expanded group was booking regular gigs in São Paulo and across the country.

The last couple years have seen Boogarins on the road continually – headlining clubs and playing festivals from the UK to France to Spain to the USA, and performing alongside many great artists around the world. Released at the end of 2015, the band’s latest album, Manual, finds Boogarins taking their psychedelic rock in even more thrilling, expansive directions.

Doors 5:00 p.m. / Show 6:00 p.m.


Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil Headliners at the Opening Ceremony of Rio Olympics

Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil -  Photo by Marcos Hermes
Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil – Photo by Marcos Hermes

Acclaimed Brazilian singers, songwriters, and guitarists Caetano Veloso and Gilberto Gil are set to perform at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro at the Maracanã Stadium today, Friday, August 5. The ceremony will be broadcast around the world and can be seen in the United States on NBC starting at 7:30 p.m. ET and in Canada on the CBC starting at 7:00 p.m. ET. The Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony is expected to last about three hours, culminating with the lighting of the Olympic Pyre.

Nonesuch Records released earlier this year Dois Amigos, Um Século de Música: Multishow Live, a live 2-disc recording from the award winning Veloso and Gil. Dois Amigos celebrates a lifelong friendship over the half-century careers of two artists who have broken cultural, social, and political barriers through music.

Caetano Veloso & Gilberto Gil - Dois Amigos, Um Século de Música: Multishow Live
Caetano Veloso & Gilberto Gil – Dois Amigos, Um Século de Música: Multishow Live

Dois Amigos, Um Século de Música: Multishow Live was recorded for television during a concert in Brazil last year, in the middle of the Dois Amigos tour.


Memorable Bossacucanova

Bossacucanova – The Best of Bossacucanova (Six Degrees Records, 2016)

Brazilian music innovators Bossacucanova have put together some of their finest songs and instrumentals in a new album titled The Best of Bossacucanova.

This collection features Bossacucanova’s masterfully-crafted pieces that combine Brazilian rhythms as well as jazz, lounge, rock, and classic and new bossa nova melodies with irresistible electronic music beats. “We decided to choose songs featuring our best arrangements, most original beats, and top performances,” says Marcio Menescal.

The Best of Bossacucanova is the perfect soundtrack for the summer and to get you in the mood for the Rio Olympics. It’s a highly creative mix of tradition and forward-thinking electronic sounds that’s really accessible at the same time.

The collection includes Brazilian music classics along with original material by Bossacucanova and two new tracks.

Bossacucanova includes DJ Marcelinho DaLua on programming and scratch; Alexandre (Alex) Moreira on programming keyboards; and Marcio Menescal (son of acclaimed bossa nova pioneer Roberto Menescal) on programming and bass.

On each track, the Bossacucanova trio is joined by additional musicians on acoustic and electric instruments together with guest vocalists. The list of guests is impressive: folk band Os Cariocas, Silvio César, Wanda Sa, Wilson Simoninha, Leo Gandelman, Adriana Calcanhoto, Cris Delanho, Oscar Castro Neves, Emilio Santiago, Pedro Luis, and Orquestra Criola.

Video of Balança featured in The Best of Bossacucanova, originally released in Our Kind Of Bossa (2014).

The Best of Bossacucanova is a set of memorable songs and tunes that showcases the best of Brazilian music. The Best of Bossacucanova indeed.

Buy The Best of Bossacucanova in the Americas


Length & Time: Gilberto Gil

I will be writing a column on Length & Time in music, in each presenting an album and its strategies that pertain to addressing Length & Time. 

Perhaps Time & Length would be a clearer moniker to use in order to articulate the relationship between the time that we are living and not only the length of the songs that we listen to but the strategy used by musicians to make the most out of length to both express the times that are being lived or express themselves to those who are living specific times.

How does one communicate ‘I’m crazy about you,’ to an international audience, in one album, in 1987, as Gilberto Gil does with the album Soy Loco Por Ti America

The immediate times that hosted the album’s release was a time of radio and of euphoria and so all of the songs are less than 5 minutes; its the best way to invite everyone to the party. Gil, however, was a political artist and first and foremost intended to affect his listeners positively and politically through his songs. How does he pull off his gamble?

Gilberto Gil - Soy Loco Por Ti
Gilberto Gil – Soy Loco Por Ti

He is not playing religious music; he does not have the time to express some sort of complex epic that all will feel faith in. Never forgetting to achieve compositional beauty, he uses keywords and emotion, such as melancholy and the word ‘Marti’ (from Jose Marti) in the song “Soy Loco Por Ti America,” speaking in language that the world knows through mass media. In other words, he explores the world that is obvious and that we all know, despite, for example, the size of America in “Soy Loco Por Ti America.” It’s an album of 8 songs, and many of the titles make us blush: “Mamma,” “Vida,” which even a non-speaker of Portuguese can guess means mother and life.

Gil here is genius at conveying emotion and it is the genius of this album. It’s as if we are listening to what we are also “crazy about” as we listen to Soy Loco Por Ti. There is a certain amount of ambiguity heard that comes with interpreting sound – what the sound expresses is quite simply the instrument’s notes. Does one note specifically correspond to one emotion? Civilizations have their notions of what each note should correspond to, but as we know music grows like weeds and is pretty good at getting out of control. Not to mention that Brazil is a melting pot like no other wherein ethnic groups often retain the sounds of their pasts in their Brazilian presents. However, many of us are socialized pretty similarly, work, television, radio, and Gil succeeds at playing us language that we may all fall into such as lush and lyric repetition which can only really mean joy at this point in human time for “Aquele Abraco,” or playing us Reggae, letting his songs signify whatever Reggae may mean to our time (justice, freedom,) on most of the other songs.

Is he being honest? Even if he is being honest, he would have to adapt his honesty to the times through strategy.


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.