Over in New York City and in the grand diaspora of Brazilian music lovers worldwide, a singular project has been building up over the past year. The ARChive of Contemporary Music, based in NYC and with Columbia University as a founding partner, has amassed and catalogued thousands upon thousands of Brazilian recordings in the U.S., thanks to project director Beco Dranoff, a Brazilian based in NYC and São Paulo. The date, September 7, is no coincidence — known as Sete de Setembro in Brazil, it is the country’s national day, the day it gained its independence.
Participants in World Brazilian Music Day abound, from artists living in Brazil and its “exterior” (other countries), to Brazilian arts and community organizations, Capoeira groups, dance groups, cultural associations, and of course, plenty of Brazilian music shows. (Check out the site’s list of Brazilian instruments and a great map of Brazilian music by region, from the book The Brazilian Sound by Ricardo Pessanha and Chris McGown, for a couple of examples.) The project’s impressive blog has been up for months, with amazing tidbits like posts on record hunting in Brazil or this gem from the ‘6os, a Beatles cover in Portuguese on the Rio-samba-rock tip:
Now that 7 de Setembro is here, the full website is live, with access to the online catalogue, a listing of participating organizations and events, and the project’s backstory and future …
In the spirit of Brazilian Music Day, here are just a few reasons today why we’re passionate about the past, present and future of Brazilian music:
In Brazil now, you can find most every kind of music without leaving a sphere of nationally produced music. Along with true “cultura popular” manifestations still beloved to many Brazilians (the various forms of samba, maracatu, coco de roda, frevo, Capoeira), the dominant global pop music phenoms are there, from indie rock and hip-hop to electronic forms and pop phenoms, but all in Brazilian Portuguese, making global pop forms available in the Brasileiro vernacular. Many of these projects, like hip-hop/samba mixer Marcelo D2, the electronic and non-electronic works of Otto, the jazz-meets-candomble rhythms of Salvador da Bahia’s Orkestra Rumpilezz or the dub reggae/roots Brazilian groove projects produced by Buguinha Dub out of Olinda/Recife and Sampa, are innovative besides.
And since we’re mentioning boundary- and border-crossing music exploring Brazilian and global themes, here’s a fresh video from American emcee Ryan Wink and American/Mexican/Brazilian musician (and capoeirista) Quetzal Guerrero, exploring the northeastern Brazilian city of Recife with a hip-hop beat mixing in maracatu rhythms, and “elogiando” the city’s joyful and rich cultural heritage in both English and Portuguese (and with a special nod to the present-day, costumed Carnaval vibe):
Next up: Brazilian minister of culture Gilberto Gil, a formerly exiled musician, is one of the world’s foremost visionaries on “copyleft” and the future of music media consumption. We could go on about the many facets of Gil … but we already did that. His vision and execution, though, have set up Brazil as a key player in the ongoing discussion and narrative around the future of copyright and how we consume and share music and reinvent the business models for the music industry on a global scale.
What else? Brazil “tá na moda” — Brazil as a brand is fashionable. The profile of Brazilian musical and cultural references in western popular culture has risen steadily for years, and the Olympic handover ceremony, that grandiose show, served to illustrate images of Brazil that are new to some Western (non-Brazil-obsessed) eyes (though perhaps not the cliché-free presentation organizers had promised). From Havaianas everywhere to Capoeira in countless TV ads over the years and even the surge of interest in forró nights in the “exterior”, the steady infiltration of Brazilian cool into Western consciousness will only grow as the world turns more and more of its attention to Brazil, including its musical exports. Here’s a previous post about the coolest Brazilian brands on another site by Uma Nota’s Alex Bordokas.
And of course …
In our corner of “Brazil fora”, things have never been hotter. Toronto’s Brazilian scene has grown by scads. The number of Brazilian and Brazilian-influenced bands, drumming groups, dance organizations, teachers and performing companies, and Brazilian festivals and events have all grown by leaps in recent years. In the last six or seven years, the likes of Seu Jorge, Gilberto Gil, Hermeto Pascoal, Adrianna Calcanhotto, Cansei de Ser Sexy (CSS), Luísa Maita, Olodum, Daniela Mercury, Ivete Sangalo, Carlinhos Brown, Céu and other international-level Brazilian artists have performed at large Toronto venues, in some cases for free as part of programming paid for by Canadian and/or Brazilian government grants or other funding. In fact, last night in Toronto, the Brazilian consulate organized a special pre-7 de Setembro concert at Koerner Hall, free of charge with advance registration, performed by mandolin master Hamilton de Holanda.
Not only that, but the Brazilian flag was raised at Toronto’s City Hall today (Sept. 7) in honour of the commemoration!
Meanwhile, Toronto-based artists like Aline Morales and her producer/arranger David Arcus, Maria Bonita and the Band, Luanda Jones, Mar Aberto Sound System, Maninho Costa (with both Batucada Carioca and Tio Chorinho), Bruno Capinan and Tropicalia have helped to bring Brazilian grooves, voices and new interpretations to the Toronto scene, opening doors between the Brazilians, the Brazilphiles and countless other musical worlds. Other Canadian cities are on the map, too: at Winnipeg’s summer Folklorama festival, the Brazilian pavilion remains the top attraction, thanks in no small part to the participation of Toronto’s Dance Migration company; Montreal’s Rio 40 event series, Calgary’s Brazilian contingent at the Stampede, and Vancouver’s summertime Afro-Brazilian Block Party are just a few of the other Canadian-Brazilian scene highlights. And the previously mentioned Hamilton de Holanda plays in Ottawa on September 7, as organized by the Brazilian embassy there.
Over the years, Uma Nota has done its share of fostering this movement. Our very first event presented Maracatu Nunca Antes, Canada’s first maracatu group, as well as Samba Elégua, a samba fusion brateria that has a heavy Brazilian influence. We have featured many DJs whose primary influence has been Brazilian music (Petri Glad, Jason Palma, Jerus Nazdaq) and one of the first mentions (if not the first-ever) of Aline Morales on promotional material was on an Uma Nota flyer. In 2009 we presented samba soul funk artist Curumin, and since then we have featured Maracatu Mar Aberto, Maria Bonita and the Band, Luanda Jones, and regular performers Maninho Costa and Batucada Carioca. At this year’s festival (October 19-21 in Toronto), we are upping the ante, presenting Pedro Luis and his band and Rio de Janeiro funk/hip-hop fusion act Stereo Maracanã.
As the eyes of the world increasingly turn to Brazil — global politics, energy systems and economic development as well as for music, culture, sport and fashion — we celebrate on World Brazilian Music Day and congratulate the artists, innovators, producers, organizers, researchers and supporters who make it all happen.
What about you? What about Brazilian music in 2012 excites you? How are you celebrating this World Brazilian Music Day?
While you’re answering that, as a World Brazilian Music Day treat, we invite you to check out the 5 tunes we chose for our post on CBC Music, in which they asked us about the events, Brazilian music’s role in them and put together this, our Uma Nota playlist — Brazilian tracks you might hear at Uma Nota, and why we love them.
Rainha Do Dub
Aquecimento da Capoeira
Take it Easy my Brother Charles