Friday, October 30, 2009

Caipirinha Lounge Interview: 340ml

340mlAfter I first heard about your band and started playing the only song I owned of yours – Midnight - in my car and in parties (and everywhere), people here in the States always said two things: they asked who you were, and they said you sound like the Californian ska band Sublime.

But how would you describe your sound?

Experimental Tropical Pop.

How and when did you guys meet?

We've know each other for decades because we hail from a little African village called Maputo. Growing up we were all practically neighbors. We hooked up as a band when we kind of accidentally bumped into each other in Johannesburg, that was sometime in 2ooo, I think.

When did you decide you wanted to create music and stick with it?

When we all felt we were onto something.

If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing?

Making movies. I'm actually concentrating a bit on that right now.

Being from Maputo, Mozambique, do you think you will ever do a song in Portuguese or feature Lusophone artists?

I'm sure we will, eventually, and we've wanted to but for some reason we always end up cruising out of that.

Who is your favorite Mozambican artist and why?

Fany Mpfumo, because he really was an artist. He represented and still represents Mozambique people better than anyone who tries to.

How has living in South Africa impacted your music?

I think it made us more professional and more aware of what works and what doesn't.

What artists and music styles would you say were your biggest musical influences?

Sublime, definitely. The Police. Nirvana. Gorillaz. And many many more...It's hard to say. I think outsiders can distinguish our influences better than we can.

What is the best part about playing music for a living and having people love what you create?

Having people who actually flock to our shows to sing along to something we crafted from scratch. That still amazes me!

Where do you see the band in 5 years?

I can't even imagine the future in a year’s time, let alone 5 years.

What has been your favorite concert venue?

Oooh, difficult one! The old Bassline in Johannesburg did a lot for us. There are plenty of magical venues around.

Who do you sing for, and which new audiences do you want to reach?

We'll sing for anyone who wants to listen. We don't really have a target market, we're not that sophisticated.

What has been your favorite song so far, the one you most want people to remember you by?

Maybe Radio 75. I like the idea behind the song and the fact that it basically has one note.

Radio 75

Listening to your albums it’s easy to see that dub and reggae are your rhythms of choice…what draws you to these sounds?

It's just a default thing. We all like different stuff, and Dub (mainly) is our common ground. We're all always pushing towards different sides, and generally Dub is the one side we can all sway towards without much of a fight. We also started liking it because hardly anyone in South Africa was doing it when we started exploring it.

What’s the idea behind the music video for your single Midnight?

A guy doing the late night shift guarding a typical corporate building bored out of his mind. He's thinking about stuff and allowing his impatience to grow.

How do feel about the way the internet has been reshaping the music industry?

I think it's great. As someone who makes music it's nice to be closer to the people who listen to your music, and that's the main thing the internet is doing to music right now. I steal a bunch of music and I really don't mind people stealing mine. It's a whole market plugged into your computer or mobile phone.

I’ve read you guys randomly picked the name 340ml after stressing about a name for weeks, all because one of you opened the fridge and happened to look at a can of beer. Does the name still sound good?

It was actually a soft drink can. It doesn't sound great to me, and it never will, but I guess it's good at displaying how random we are as musical group. And I guess it's also kind of catchy.

One of my favorite songs of yours is The Untitled Song; any particular reason you guys were unable to name it?

We were having a hard time coming up with a name that wouldn't sound all conscious or high and mighty. We also didn't wanna spoil the song with a dumb name.

The Untitled Song

Who’s the girl in the song Fairy Tales? Or at least, which type of girl is it inspired by?

No one in particular. I think it's a standard worldwide type of post teenager who desperately wants to be part of something. Just a character in a modern day Fairy Tale.

Fairy Tales

What’s the story behind the album name Sorry for the Delay?

People were annoyed with us because they were tired of our first album and needed something new. When we eventually went into studio we felt the need to apologize. We're not only saying we're sorry that the album is only out now but we're also saying sorry to all the people that endure our favorite sound effect (Delay). Even when we were mixing the album we were super conscious about how much delay we would use. I guess it's a play on words with a double meaning thing going.

What’s your favorite SFTD song to play live?



What’s the next project after SFTD?

We're trying to organize a SFTD remix album. We already have plenty of remixes, and we also wanna run some type of competition to have at least two remixes by two new comers.

Do you have plans of touring/selling your music in the US?

Nothing concrete yet. Maybe one day.

When can we expect you in Angola?!

We've almost been there a couple of times. We'll keep on trying.

5 musicians/band you listen to weekly, if not daily:

Daily, that's difficult. I flip things quite often. It would have to be quite Pop and enduring. I'll try:

The Beatles; Animal Collective; Radiohead (yup, I'm one of those); Daft Punk; and Mos Def.

Favorite late night crooners when it’s just you and the missus:

Kings Of Convenience, maybe.

Most played song on your iPod:

In the last couple of months: Difference between by Atlas Sound.

Songs/Artists you are currently ‘obsessed’ with:

Obsessed might be quite a strong word. Right now I'm listening to healthy portions of these albums:

Home is Where the Heart Is, by Hugh Masekela;
All Things Must Pass, by George Harrison;
See Mystery Lights, by YACHT;
Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, by Phoenix;
Veckatimest ,by Grizzly Bear
Horehound, by The Dead Weather

Favorite WC2010 venue, and will you be attending/playing live gigs?

The Durban stadium looks like it's going to be something special. We have nothing planned, yet. We might be in Europe during the World Cup.

Costa do Sol or Ferroviário do Maputo?

I've been away for too long to decide.

Random thought of the day:

I read a fair amount of books but I hardly ever buy any. Where do they come from? How do they end up in my hands? I should buy a book today.

-Tiago, 340ml

-Photo by 340ml


Comfusões 1 - Teta Lando Ainda Vive!

Comfusoes1Life is full of these funny little incidents. If I hadn’t been pretty bored a couple of days ago, I would of never logged on to Facebook at that particular time. If I hadn’t logged into Facebook at that particular time I probably would never have noticed a particular link posted by fellow blogger Bruno with that strange little CD cover of the screaming woman and the words “Comfusões1”. If I had never clicked on that link I would of never stumbled upon the most exciting Angolan/Brazilian musical collaboration project I have seen.

One of the reasons I really like bossa nova and contemporary Brazilian lounge & electronic music is its ability to constantly reinvent itself. Bebel Gilberto is still successful today reinterpreting the classics of her father and giving it a modern twist. Which leads me to a second point: I sincerely believe that some of the best music people have made comes from the 60s and 70s. To this day we listen to the Beatles, Bob Marley, The Clash, Nina Simone, Jimi Hendrix, Vinicus, Tom Jobim, the list is endless. Something about those times…I don’t know if it’s the profound socio-political changes taking place, the greater integration of cultures, recreational use of drugs…but the music from that time lives on today as if it was recorded last week. The music of Angola is no exception.

Angolan music of the late 60s and 70s was revolutionary. It was a beautiful, eclectic mix of soulful lyrics and melodies inspired from Portuguese Fado and infused with traditional African rhythms passed down from angolano to angolano over centuries. It had a healthy dose of Latin flavor and spawned other genres such as Brazilian samba. The artists of those days – Teta Lando, who has since passed away, Elias dia Kimuezo, who even after completing his 80th birthday is still making music, Carlos Lamartine, Artur Nunes, Luís Visconde, and others – actively called for independence from Portugal, sang about the fight for freedom in their music, and genuinely loved making music for music’s sake. Due to the civil war that soon engulfed the country and the notorious inaccessibility of Angolan music, their sound was never heard outside of Angola, except for a few lucky ones. Until now.

An intense lover of Angolan music, particularly the forgotten classics of the 60s and 70s, Mauricio Pacheco is a popular Brazilian music producer (produced for singers like Jussara Oliveira, front-man of capoeira/hip-hop band Stereo Maracana) who decided to unearth these records and remix them with his team of talented Brazilian DJs and producers. Pacheco literally went to Luanda, scoured the annals of RNA, the national radio station of Angola, and found the gems he was looking for. With participation of artists, producers, and DJs, among them Brazil’s Moreno Veloso, DJ Dolores, Berna Ceppas and DJ Chris, and Angola’s Paulo Flores and Dog Murras, Mauricio created a transatlantic masterpiece between two Lusophone nations that was a contemporary, electronica, modernistic take on classical Angolan music. What happened to bossa nova with the advent of the electronica-influenced version of that genre is now happening to the earliest sembas and rebitas of Angola.

The CD starts off with Teta Lando’s epic song Angolé which might as well be Angola’s national anthem. Its strong political lyrics are universal, telling Angolans to unite and make something of their country, doesn’t matter if they’re white or black or mulato. “An Angola that is truly free, an Angola that is truly independent,” he sings. It’s remixed by Mauricio Pacheco and set to a hip-hop beat complete with scratches and all, but manages to maintain its identity, as do all the songs remixed on this album. The second song featured here is Chofer de Praça by Luís Visconde and also remixed by Mauricio Pacheco. It's a favorite of mine and one of my father’s most beloved songs of all time. This 21st century version of it features popular Angolan kuduro artist Dog Murras. Lastly there is Zom Zom by the gentleman in the video in the preceding post, sampled and remixed by Mauricio Pacheco and DJ Chris. For me, it is the highlight of the album. Dia Kimuezo is such a great blues singer and the fact that he still sings at an age most people can barely talk just makes him cool as hell. The laid back house beat of this track, the way it kind of builds on you, and Kimuezo’s Kimbundo lyrics make this an unforgettable track.

Literally every single song in this album is good, including songs like Merengue Rebita and Bonga's Kapakiao.If there is ever an album you should buy on this site, this would be it. Available on iTunes, Amazon, Mondomix, wherever.

Chofer de Praça
Zom Zom

A vida esta cheia deste tipo de incidentes. Se não estivesse sem nada pra fazer a uns dias atrás, nunca iria ter ido ao Facebook naquele momento. Se não tivesse ido ao Facebook naquele momento em particular, nunca iria ter visto o link do meu companheiro de ‘blogagens’, o Bruno, sobre aquele CD estranho com a foto de uma mulher a gritar e as palavras “Comfusões1”. Se nunca tivesse cargado no link nunca iria ter encontrado a colaboração entre Angola e Brazil e o projecto musical mais inovador que tenho visto desde que comecei este site.

Uma das razões que adoro bossa nova e música brasileira contemporânea de vertente electro e lounge é a sua habilidade de reinventar-se constantemente. A Bebel Gilberto tem o sucesso que tem porque reinterpreta as músicas lindas do seu pai, mas adapta-as para o século 21. O que me leva ao meu segundo ponto: a melhor música do mundo foi feita nos anos 60 e 70. Ate hoje continuamos a ouvir músicas dos Beatles, de Bob Marley, The Clash, Nina Simone, Jimi Hendrix, Vinicius, Tom Jobim, a lista continua. Algo estava no ar naqueles tempos...não sei se eram as profundas mudanças sociais e políticas, ou o maior contacto com culturas diferentes, ou a disponibilidade das drogas de recreação, sei la...mas a musica daqueles tempos era d’outro mundo. E a música angolana daqueles tempos não foge a esta regra.

A música angolana dos anos 60 e 70 era revolucionária. Era uma linda mistura de ritmos inspirados pelo fado português e pelos ritmos angolanos passados de kota para candengue durante gerações. A nossa música tinha uma dose de exoticismo tropical e ajudou a criar generos de música diversos, tal como o samba brasileiro. Os músicos daqueles dias, nomes como Teta Lando, Elias dia Kimuezo, que continua a fazer música mesmo depois de completar 80 anos, Carlos Lamartine, Artur Nunes, Luís Visconde, e outros, chamavam publicamente pela independência de Angola, cantavam sobre a luta para sermos livres, e via-se o amor deles pela música. Por causa da guerra maldita que atrasou o país, a sus música foi pouco ouvida fora de Angola. Ate hoje.

O homem detrás deste projecto, o productor brasileiro Maurício Pacheco (que produz talentos como Jussara Silveira e tambem tem banda própria, os Stereo Maracanã), é um grande amante e admirador de música angolana. Deliciou-se principalmente pelas músicas dos anos 60 e 70, que foi uma das alturas mais turbulentas da história angolana, devido a aproximação da independência. A convite do dono da Maianga Produções, Maurício foi para Luanda e, enamorado pela qualidade musical do país, passava várias horas nas instalações da Rádio Nacional ouvindo os éxitos de Carlos Lamartine, Artur Nunes, o Elias dia Kimuezo, e outros. Quando regressa ao Brasil, decide remixar as suas músicas preferidas com a colaborção de vários DJs brasileiros de renome, includindo o Moreno Veloso, o DJ Dolores, Berna Ceppas, o DJ Chris, e conta também com a participação do kudurista Dog Murras e do pai grande, o Paulo Flores. O resultado foi uma discográfica de alta qualidade que transforma os éxitos daqueles anos glorioso de musica angolana em algo moderno e contemporâneo.

O CD começa com a música imortal de Teta Lando, Angolé. Música esta que não me importava se fosse hino nacional.

“Angolano segue em frente, teu caminho é so um.
Se você é branco isso não interessa a ninguém.
Se você é mulato isso não interessa a ninguém.
Se você é negro isso não interessa a ninguém.
Mas o que interessa é a tua vontade de fazer Angola melhor.
Uma Angola verdadeiramente livre,
uma Angola independente.”

Palavras intensas que seguramente muita gente ja esqueceu, ou finge que esqueceu. Imagino o orgulho de quem ouviu estas palavras cantadas pela primeira vez, naquele tempo. A remix é feita pelo Maurício e o beat é de hip hop progressivo, algo que não fere a integridade da música original (o respeito pelas músicas originais esta presente em todo album). A seguir temos Chofer de Praça de Luís Visconde, som que ouvi pela primeira vez no carro do meu kota quando ainda não fazia ideia da qualidade das musicas antigas da terra. Mesmo naquela altura em que ouvia muito mais rádio e as musicas dos top 40, gostei imenso daquela canção e escutando-lhe agora remixada por Dog Murras e Mauricio Pacheco é bastante interessante. Pra terminar vem Zom Zom do kota Elias dia Kimuezo, artista pelo qual o Mauricio Pacheco nutre uma admiração particular. Penso ser esta a melhor canção do album. Dia Kimuezo tem uma voz sábia e cativante que mesmo não percebendo o seu teor, é hipnotizante. O beat escolhido por Mauricio e o DJ Chris ara remixar esta música é um house leve que cresce subtilmente.

Aconselho-vos a todos a comprarem este album, principalmente se são amantes de musica boa. Conta com um remix duma velha música de Bonga, conta ainda com a participação de Paulo Flores, musicas de Wyza e Kissanguela, enfim,varias delícias aurais. O album esta a venda no Mondomix, no iTunes, no, portanto não há desculpa! E a melhor parte é que vem aí o Comfusões 2...

Comfusões on Myspace
Comfusões on Mondomix

Album released by Maianga Producoes

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Angola D’Outros Tempos: Kalumba, by Elias dia Kimuezo

This video of the master of Angolan Music, the Grandaddy of Semba, even before Bonga, the great Elias dia Kimuezo, is an appetizer of what’s coming later today. Enjoy Luanda, c. 1989 (I was but a toddler), in the midst of civil war and communist rule, rations and isolation, but pure love and joy, because above all, Angolans love a good time. Long live Elias dia Kimuezo.

Aiuééé. Este é um video do Mestre de Música angolana, do Avó do Semba, do Kota dos mais Kotas, ate mais que o Bonga…este é um video de Elias dia Kimuezo, e serve como aperitivo para o que vem aí mais logo. Este é uma pequena janela para Luanda dos tempos uaué, c. 1989 (eu ainda tinha uma chupeta na boca), numa Angola em plena guerra civil (ou em vésperas de um cessar fogo enganador?), em pleno tempo de partido único, “calças velhas”, uma só televisão que abria as 19 e fechava as 23, como disse um comentarista deste video, e um isolamento profundo para que com o resto do mundo. Mas olha a alegria das pessoas. Observe as gargalhadas, os sorrisos, as puras passadas improvisadas. Como diz o velho ditado (que acabo de inventar agora mesmo), o angolano sempre sabe disbundar. Longa vida a Elias dia Kimuezo.

-Video uploaded to Youtube by Nguxi

Tereza Salgueiro in Luanda!

My favorite Portuguese singer (ex lead singer of Madredeus) and her new band the Lusitânia Ensemble will grace the Kianda's shores for two concerts at Cine Tivoli on the 21st and 22nd of November, to promote Matriz, her newest album. If she sounds like that on my headphones I can only imagine what it’s like to hear her live, to see her sing. Bruno Arzak at Uma Certa Angola has more.

Tereza Salgueiro em Luanda!

O mês de Novembro promete. A minha cantora portuguesa preferida (quem nunca passou-se a ouvir Madredeus?) estará em terras da Kianda para dois concertos nos dias 21 e 22 de Novembro, no famoso Cine Tivoli, para apresentar a sua mais recente obra discográfica, “Matriz”. Viajará com a sua banda de apoio, a Lusitânia Ensemble. Se ela ja é o que é só ouvindo pelos headphones, imagino o poder dela ao vivo. Visite Uma Certa Angola para mais informações.


Alexandre Carlo, NatirutsRoots reggae is my favorite style of reggae music. Something about it makes it sound like it came from the earth; it’s simple and organic, not too fussy, easy to bob your head to. It’s the type of reggae that men like Bob Marley, Tiken Jah Fakoly, and Peter Tosh perfected. Roots reggae probably sounds good in any dialect, but given the superior aural qualities of the Portuguese language, it might sound a bit better coming from Brazil rather than, say, Denmark (Danish is a...difficult language). Natiruts is the Brazilian interpretation of roots reggae. The band was started in Brasília in 1997 by front man Alexandre Carlo and his football mates, Luis Mauricio, and Juninho. The band usually travels with different vocalists, including Luciana Oliveira who has a phenomenal voice. While Los Cafres has the Argentine reggae scene on lock, the same can be said about Natiruts in Brazil. They have been going strong for over 10 years and released critically acclaimed CDs throughout, seamlessly incorporating traditional Brazilian sounds into their reggae. Included here are three popular tracks of theirs that I have grown fond of. Presente de Um Beija-flor was one of their first major hits, while Cantar is maybe the most emotional song of the three. The highlight here is Eu e Ela, which besides being a kind of soul-reggae track, has a certain sensuality to it– just wait ‘til the female vocals come in.

Presente de um Beija-flor
Eu e Ela

Reggae de raíz é com certeza o meu estilo preferido deste gênero de música. Tem algo de orgânico e natural; é simples e contagiante, quase hipnótico até. É o estilo de reggae aperfeiçoado por mestres como Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, e Tiken Jah Fakoly. É provável que reggae de raíz cai bem em qualquer lingua, mas por causa das suas qualidades aurais imbatíveis, creio que reggae em português soe um pouco melhor que reggae russo (rsrs). Nada contra russos, é simplesmente uma questão de gostos. É por isso que gostei bastante deste reggae abrasileirado dos Natiruts, banda que só conheci agora mas já está activa desde 1997, quando foi formada por Alexandre Carlo e seus amigos da bola, Luís Maurício e Juninho. A banda sempre viaja com músicos acompanhantes, incluindo Luciana Oliveira, que tem uma voz linda. Enquanto que em Argentina as palavras reggae de raíz eram sinónimas com Los Cafres, em Brasil parece que o dono deste sub-gênero chama-se Natiruts. Cada CD que lançam é muito bem apreciado pelo povo. Incluídas aqui estão três reggaes puros, daqueles bons mesmo: Presente de Um Beija Flor, um dos seus maiores sucessos, Cantar, talvez a canção mais emotiva das três, e Eu e Ela, uma espêcie de reggae-soul que fica uma delicia quando entra aquela voz feminina e cristalina...

*Artist suggested by Pedro

- Photo by Wrublewski R.
Natiruts on Myspace

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Coming Soon: Caipirinha Lounge’s Very First Interview, featuring 340ml

‘Til then, check out the video for Fairy Tales, the single from their second album titled Sorry For The Delay.

Até então, fiquem com o video do single Fairy Tales, que faz parte do seu segundo album, Sorry For The Delay.

340ml on Myspace

UPDATE: Yuri da Cunha Now Swinging His Hips through the Netherlands, and Other News

After performances that garnered some good reviews in Italy, Yuri da Cunha just completed his first show with Eros Ramazzotti in the Netherlands, bringing down the house in front of 15,000 people in Rotterdam’s City of Sport stadium. There is another concert in the same city tomorrow.

In other interesting news, both saxophonist Nanutu and kizomba artist Konde are releasing new albums in Luanda, with Nanutu releasing his new album Ximbika this Sunday in Parque da Independência and Konde releasing Kianda Luanda on November 15. Tracks will be posted here as they become available…I’m particularly excited for Konde’s album, as he is one of my favorite Angolan artists.

UPDATE: Yuri da Cunha Deliciando Holandeses, e Outras Noticias

Depois de grandes performances em Itália, Yuri da Cunha encontra-se hoje e amanhã (Quarta-Feira) em Roterdão, na Holanda, para mais uma ronda de espectáculos com Eros Ramazzotti. Segundo o AngolaPress, a sua primeira actuação nesta cidade foi muito bem recibida, tendo ele sido bastante aplaudido pelos 15,000 espectadores presentes. Amanhã ha outro concerto na mesma cidade. Sempre a subir, Yuri!

Em outras notícias, o saxofonista Nanutu e o artista Konde vão lançar novos discos em Luanda nos próximos tempos. Nanutu vai lançar o seu quarto album, Ximbika, este domingo no Largo da Independência, e Konde lançara Kianda Luanda no dia 15 de Novembro. Postarei aqui algumas tracks dos albums logo que poder...estou particularmente ansioso para o album do Konde ja que se trata de um dos meus cantores angolanos preferidos.

Why I Love Thievery Corporation

Radio RetaliationLast night, at the House of Blues in Boston, I did one of my favorite things in life. I watched Thievery Corporation live.

Thievery rocked the House of Blues for a bit over two hours in a highly entertaining and energetic set that was opened by none other than Federico Aubele and his well-tended afro. It was my first time seeing this Argentine live and he was as mellow and sophisticated as his music suggests, smartly dressed in slacks and a blazer and oozing charm and class with his acoustic guitar and the stunning female guest singer at his side. Aubele sang an extra-reggae version of Ante Tus Ojos that was an absolute joy to listen to live. After he left to loud applause and whistles, Thievery opened their set with Mandala, the tripped out Indian-flavored dance track from their latest album, Radio Retaliation, and the place went wild. Throughout the entire show they brilliantly incorporated three visual screens, filling them with rich imagery and footage of people in India or Latin America participating in rallies or doing yoga excersizes. Thievery sang music from all of their CDs, sometimes making them reggae-heavy or slightly changing the rhythm. The basist from DC and their sultry singer from Guyana were particularly tasty eye candy. For the climactic finale Sleepy Wonder had all the pretty girls go up on stage and dance with them to the sound of thumping drums and the stellar brass section as the place went wild.

I love this band because we share a lot of the same beliefs about life, politics, and music. They push all the right buttons for me. When you go to a Thievery concert you are always reminded that the world is nothing more than a global village. They are able to bring people from the most disparate of places into a single room, and they are able to make them laugh and dance to the same music. Just in my immediate vicinity I heard people speak in Spanish, Arabic, and French. And then there is the diversity of their sound. Every show features a sitar, African drums, and several different types of guitars. Their music is a truly eclectic blend of dub and reggae, samba and bossa nova, Cuban and other Latin rhythms, trip hop and acid jazz incorporating the Indian sitar, and the odd afro-beat enveloped in electronica. The singers that Thievery has on stage, which last night included Natalia Clavier, LouLou, and the ever impressive Sleepy Wonder, sing in Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Jamaican Patois.

Lies & Theft
Guns & Debt
Life & Death
-Fela Kuti in Vampires

But beneath their deep understanding of world music, beneath their ability to make certain music fans like myself tick, is Thievery’s willingness to incorporate world politics into a lot of their music, particularly in their last album, aptly titled Radio Retaliation. Thievery is from DC, where I grew up, and it is impossible to remain impassive in the face of politics if you have ever lived in that microcosm of power and intrigue. Thievery are left leaning and it shows through in a lot of their lyrics, from Fela Kuti strongly denouncing the IMF in the song “Vampires” to the incendiary lyrics of the jam “Sound the Alarm” with Sleepy Wonder calling his troops to action. One of the high points of last night, and one I will never forget, is Natalia Clavier and the Brazilian songstress whose name escapes me right now chanting “el pueblo unido jamás sera vencido” with their fists up in the air along with the frenzied crowd in a scene right out of Chile or Angola during their most turbulent years. What with all the frustrating political crap going on in the States today, from Tea Party nutjobs to the country’s inability to pass a healthcare reform bill among a growing tide of misinformation, it was a truly captivating, powerful sight (below is the track El Pueblo Unido, from the album Radio Retaliation and featuring Verny Varela).

Such was the acclaim of the public that Thievery returned not once but twice for lengthy encores in a Boston night that featured one of best live acts I have seen in my life, a night that inspired me and reminded me that despite all the dissimilarities between people of different races and cultures, despite all the bullshit in world politics, despite all the infuriating injustice, there are still many, many people out there who love and respect each other and each other’s culture, and who dance to the same eclectic beat.

And that is why I love Thievery Corporation.

-Photo: That sultry singer from Guyana whose name I can't remember, during a concert in DC. Photo by Jazmin Million

El Pueblo Unido

Thievery online
Theivery on Myspace

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Journey Through Keita Mayanda's Mind

Keita MayandaThere are two important trends in contemporary Angolan music today: the intra and international proliferation of Kuduro and the maturity and expansion of conscious Angolan hip-hop. The concious hip hop movement is alive and well throughout the country, and it is truly a work of quality. Names such as Kool Klever, MCK, Leonardo Wawuti, Ikonoklasta, and even the young and promising CFKappa are synonymous with that brand of hip hop that forces you to think about something in a different way, to see an issue in new light. But another name that I was not as familiar with, and one whose album was perhaps the one that touched me the most, is Keita Mayanda.

My older brother and some of my cousins that are a lot more immersed and in the know about current Angolan hip-hop culture have long been singing this man’s praises. Until recently I had never heard more than one or two songs of Mayanda’s, although I have always liked his verses on MCK’s or Ikono’s albums, of which he is a frequent participator. When I finally got my hands on O Homem e o Artista (The Man and The Artist), his debut album, it was like reading the verses of a poet, in aural form. The man is clearly gifted. The album grabs you from the Intro to the Outro – the intro itself is a beautiful piano melody with a beat in which Keita employs the spoken word to let flow his thoughts on Man and Artist, saying that “the artist is an imitation of God, because God is a creator…an Artist only IS because he creates.”

O Homem e o Artista is a deeply introspective album, at times sad and disillusioned, but always retaining a certain, cautious measure of hope and love. It includes cameos by his good friends MCK and NK, among others. The first track featured here, Existência, is a mellow tune which is sort of like the magnus opus of Mayanda’s mind, a track full of the type of hard questions every human asks themselves, as well as numerous bits of wisdoms and sayings. “The sky is not the limit, the limit is ourselves…It is only when we stop dreaming that we die,” he raps. “Nobody enters life with an instruction book,” he continues later on. It was inevitable that Keita would do an album without his good mate Ikonoklasta, and the two sample American doo-wop and soul group The Four Tops’ single, A Simple Game, for the track Falso Orgulho. It’s a searing attack on the two major political forces in Angola and how they have let down their people, as well as a larger critique on the rampant hypocrisy in world politics, terrorism, and war.

Lastly there is A Idade da Razão, a melancholic rap with its haunting piano loop and arrestingly poetic chorus in which Mayanda both whispers and raps about the passage of time. It’s perhaps Keita at his most introspective, where he talks about how and why he is a bit disillusioned with how the passage of time has treated him, and what he is looking for now and in his life’s future. This is one of those albums you have to listen to several times until it slowly starts to sink in, because there is so much said here, so many witty one liners and anecdotes, that a single sampling is nowhere near enough. Hopefully Mayanda has a another album coming out sometime soon…I want another window into this man’s mind.

Falso Orgulho (Pt.2) feat. Ikonoklasta
A Idade da Razão

Uma Viagem Pela Mente de Keita Mayanda

Tenho notado duas importantes tendências na música contemporânea angolana hoje em dia – a proliferação nacional e internacional do kuduro, e o constante crescimento do movimento underground de rap consciente e distinctamente angolano. O movimento de rap consciente em angola está mais saudável que nunca, e os artistas que este movimento produz estão a fazer trabalho de qualidade. Nomes como Kool Klever, MCK, Leonardo Wawuti, Ikonoklasta, e ate mesmo o estreante e jovem CFKappa ja começam a ser sinónimos do que os americanos chamam de ‘conscious hip-hop’, do tipo Common e Kid Cudi. O rap que estes artistas fazem requer o uso do cerébro – da que pensar. São trabalhos verdadeiramente poéticos, em vez de mesquinhices sobre rabos grandes e outras banalidades, o que Valete chama de “Pop Rap”. Mas voltando ao assunto, outro artista sonante deste abrangente movimento, um nome com o qual eu não estava devidamente familiarizado, é um tal de Keita Mayanda.

O meu mano mais velho e alguns dos meus primos ha muito que ja estavam a curtir os raps do Keita Mayanda, fruto do seu maior conhecimento do dia a dia do hip hop angolano. Eu somente tinha ouvido algums estrofes do Ketia por intermédio dos cds de MCK e do Ikonoklasta que eu tenho a vários anos, e sempre gostei das suas participações nos discos dos kambas dele. Mas foi so quando eu finalmente obtive o primeiro cd dele, O Homem e o Artista, que finalmente tomei o devido conhecimento sobre a poesia de Keita Mayanda. É que o album é um livro de poemas, e depois um trabalho de hip-hop, sebem que há quem diga que os dois são a mesma coisa. Este homem, sim senhora, percebe do rap e da vida. O album é bom desde o Intro ao outro, e a intro é uma das melhores que ja ouvi. Aquela melodia triste com o piano é captivante, e os seus versos ainda mais. “O artista é uma imitaçao de Deus,” diz ele, “porque Deus é criador. O artista so É porque cria.”

O Homem e o Artista é um album bastante introspectivo, ás vezes triste e desiludido, mas sempre mantendo uma vertente de esperança no futuro e amor pela vida. Inclui participações dos grandes kambas de Mayanda, como MCK e o NK. A primeira faixa postada aqui, intitulada Existência, é um rap calmo que expressa mutio bem o que vai na cabeça do Keita, é como um magnus opus dos seus mais verdadeiros pensamentos acerca da vida. Esta cheio de dizeres sábios e perguntas díficeis, como por exemplo “o céu não é o limite, o limite somos nós mesmo; é quando deixamos de sonhar que morremos.” Também gostei muito da frase “ninguém vem a vida com um manual de instrução.” E como não podia de ser, o Keita Mayanda não ia fazer um album sem a participação do seu amigo das brincadeiras dos tempos do Conjunto Ngonguenha, o Ikonoklasta. Na faixa Falso Orgulho (Pt. 2), os dois ‘samplam’ um som dos Four Tops, grupo de doo wop e soul americano, chamado A Simple Game, e nele lançam uma forte crítica as duas principais forças políticas lá da banda e o seu desprezo pelo povo que os “elege”, e criticam tambem as grandes hipocrisias no mundo da política, terrorismo mundial, e as barbaridades de guerras desenfreadas.

Por ultimo temos talvez o rap mais introspectivo do Keita, A Idade da Razão, um rap melancólico com um piano triste e um refrão poético onde Mayanda rapa e cochicha ao mesmo tempo sobre a passagem inévitável e nem sempre benéfica do tempo. As partes finais do som são as mais deep...”o cabelo esta a cair, a barba esta mais rija, o olhar mais cansado tambem...porque o tempo deixa as suas marcas, fora, mas dentro tambem. E as de dentro são se calhar as mais profundas.” Este é daqueles tipos de album que necessita de várias rodagems para se poder realmente absorver todas as letras deste homem/artista. Uma so rodagem não é o suficiente. Não sou minimamente religioso, mas deus queira que em breve este rapper lance mais um album...quero outra espreitadela a mente irreverente dele.

Keita Mayanda on Myspace
Keita Mayanda Videos

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Caipirinha Lounge Cinema: Oxalá te Veja & Se Esta Rua Fosse Minha, by OqueStrada

I still can't get them out of my mind, or my headphones. Below is the official video for Oxalá te Veja, and below that is their live performance of Se Esta Rua Fosse Minha. I also highly reccommend their song Kekfoi. Such energy and passion...

Continuo viciados neles. Ainda cantam aos meus ouvidos e ainda residem nos meus headphones. Abaixo estão dois vídeos lindos: o vídeo oficial do single Oxalá te Veja, e o vídeo da canção Se Esta Rua Fosse Minha, ao vivo. Também recomendo a sua música ‘Kekfoi’, toda ela cheia de paixão e alegria.

Yuri da Cunha Is Swinging His Hips Through Europe with Eros Ramazzotti

Yuri da CunhaGet this. Angolan semba master Yuri da Cunha is currently on a 60 day tour throughout Italy and the rest of Europe in a bid to begin selling his records worldwide. He deserves nothing less. One of Angola’s most popular, talented, and beloved artist, the ‘showman’, as he is called, is on tour with Eros Ramazzotti and is the opening act for all of the Italian’s concerts in a journey that includes stops in Spain and France. The two might also record a double-CD together. If you live in Europe and love semba, I honestly don’t know what you’re waiting for to book your ticket. Eros Ramazzotti is a star of course, his singing is phenomenal, but there is nothing, absolutely nothing, like seeing Yuri da Cunha perform live. You see the dance moves he does below? He does that on stage, and even better. Yuri has done one concert already in Rimini, and the Italians loved him. Below is the video for his hit single Kuma Kwa Kié, sung in the Kimbundu dialect, which he will be performing with gusto wherever this tour takes him.

- Photo: Yuri da Cunha at Coliseu dos Recreios in Lisbon, by pestanarui

Em Angola isto ja não é noticía, mas para os outros leitores deste blogue que falam a lingua de Camões, o nosso grande artista e show man Yuri da Cunha está delirar os povos europeus e vai continuar delirando-os por mais dois meses. É que Yuri da Cunha está fazendo uma digressão pela Itália, Espanha, e França a convite do italiano Eros Ramazzotti; Yuri esta encarregado de abrir os concertos do gigante da música italiana. E há quem diga que os dois vão fazer um disco juntos para poder facilitar o lançamento de Yuri da Cunha em terras europeais. Por isso, e porque este cantor é um verdadeiro tsunami em palco, este é uma série de concertos a não perder. Eros Ramazzotti é um cantor com classe e detentor de um historial rico, é de salientar, mas devo dizer que não ha ninguém, ninguém mesmo, que usa o palco da mesma maneira que Yuri da Cunha o faz. Está lançada a alerta. Acima está o vídeo de Kuma Kwa Kié, que o ganhou o Top dos Mais Queridos em Luanda. E, claro, é uma música que Yuri vai cantar em todos os palcos desta sua digressão.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ive Mendes, Remixed

Ive MendesShe has the sort of voice and late nite vibe that DJs and producers love to sample and remix. Ive’s work has been remixed by my favorite Brazilian drum’n’bass artists, DJ Patife and DJ Marky, as well as by European producers such as Dimitri from Paris. It is the latter’s reinterpretation of Ive’s work that is included here. Dimitri, who isn’t really from Paris, transformed the track Natural High into a funky house jam that evokes images of sensual tropical nights and balmy breezes, made more so by Ive Mendes silky smooth crooning. And if you haven’t yet seen the video of the original track, I highly suggest you do so. Wink.

Natural High (Sumo Remix)

Ela tem aquele tipo de voz sensual e provocativo que os DJs e productores adoram ‘samplar’ e remixar. Os meus artistas preferidos de drum’n’bass brasileiros, o DJ Patife e o DJ Marky, e tambem productores Europeus como Dimitri From Paris, ja tiveram a gentileza de remixar algumas músicas desta bela cantora. Incluído neste espaço está o Sumo Remix de Natural High feito por Dimitri from Paris, que nem sequer é de Paris. Ele conseguiu transformar a canção Natural High de smooth bossa jazz para uma combinação de funk e house que nos transporta para ambientes sensuais e tropicais, de brizas leves que são acariciadas pela voz sempre ardente de Ive Mendes. E para quem ainda não viu o vídeo da canção original, recomendo. ;)

*Song suggested by Elton Dabiri

Monday, October 19, 2009


CfkappaYou hear the beat drop and a voice rapping. The voice sounds robust, mature even; the delivery of the lyrics is top-notch. The flow is sick and the rhymes have substance. Then you find out this kid is 17 years old and your world perspective changes. At least that’s the way I saw it. I don't like to overhype things but I really do believe CFKappa (Claudio Fernando Kiala) is the most promising player in Angolan hip hop. He really only started rapping and writing lyrics a couple of years ago but his ascension has been such that both Valete and MCK have heralded his arrival into Lusophone’s rap scene and sang with him during Valete’s series of live performances in Luanda. Valete in particular seemed taken with CFKappa and said that he saw a reflection of himself in the young MC…I can only imagine the impact of those words on CFKappa, who considers Valete his favorite rapper. CFKappa hasn’t yet released an album but instead participated in numerous mixtapes. The song below, Diário de Um Rapper (A Rapper’s Diary) is a song of his featured on Angolan producer Mad Contrário’s Mixtape, Madlândia. Special thanks to premier Angolan hip-hop music blog Cenas que Curtimos (new in the linklist, along with Wakuti Musica) for helping to bring exposure to this young phenomenon.

Diario de Um Rapper

Carregas no play e começas a curtir a cena. O beat dropa, o ritmo é cool e laid back, e depois uma voz começa a rappar. A voz parece madura, os lyrics têm tronco e cabeça. O flow está perfeito e a maneira que as palavras são soltas faz lembrar rappers do estilo Kid MC e Valete. Depois descobres que esta voz pertence a um jovem de 17 anos, e o teu mundo extremece. Pelo menos pra mim, foi assim a experiência de ouvir o CFKappa (Cláudio Fernando Kiala) pela primeira vez. Não sou muito dado a me empolgar em cenas antes do tempo, mas acho mesmo que CFKappa é dos rappers mais talentosos de Angola e o seu embaixador mais promissor. Ele so se apaixonou sériamente pelo rap a poucos anos atrás mas a sua ascensão pelo mundo de hip hop lusofono tem despertado o interesse e o respeito dos rappers mais conceituados da praça, como é o caso de Valete e MCK. O Valete em particular gostou imenso do rapaz e disse que CFKappa lembrava-lhe de si mesmo nos seus tempos de puto, palavras que o MC angolano de certeza gostou de ouvir, considerando que Valete é uma grande influência para este jovem promissor. O CFKappa ainda não lançou album, mais ja ten várias músicas na net e em mixtapes. Um destes sons é Diário de Um Rapper, que aparece na mixtape Madlândia, produzida por Mad Contrário, um productor angolano. Obrigado especial ao Cenas que Curtimos e Wakuti Música (recentes adições ao blogroll!) por ajudar a divulgar este fenómeno.

-Photo by Samurai

Must Reads:
CFKappa on Myspace
CFKappa Official Website

Friday, October 16, 2009


OqueStradaIt’s come full circle. A lot of Lusophone Africa’s music can be traced back to its former colonial master; it was the music of Portugal that first influenced its colonies, with the accordions and the guitars shaping such sounds as Cape Verde’s funaná and Angola’s semba. Now, it is funaná that is shaping the sound of OqueStrada, a thoroughly Portuguese group that specializes in a sound writer Philip Graham calls ‘pan-Portuguese’. I fell hard in love with OqueStrada. It’s hard not to. The clear ringing voice of its lead singer Miranda and the total energy and abandon displayed by this 5 person band is infections. OqueStrada splendidly incorporates the spirit of a changing Portugal. If you have ever been to Lisbon and experienced its multiculturalism, the sublime clash of Cape Verdean funaná with Portuguese Fado, the sound of semba wafting into your ear drums in downtown Lisbon, Brazilians and Angolans delighting themselves with Portuguese cuisine, then you will identify with OqueStrada and you will love them. You will love their bohemian nature, their boundless energy, their love for music, their love for today’s Portugal. Because only in today’s cosmopolitan Portugal is it possible for such a band to emerge, a band that fuses fado with funaná and ska and African rhythms as if it was nothing new.

Their debut CD aptly titled Tasca Beat (Tascas are akin to the tapas bars of Madrid, a watering hole where one can get food and chat with friends and family) is one of those CDs that you can play from one end to the other, without skipping a song. It’s the best way to experience OqueStrada’s cornucopia of sounds and rhythms, and to truly appreciate their music. It will sound intimately Portuguese, but at the same time you will notice rhythms most associated with Angola and Cape Verde, and you might unearth a ska track, a flamenco song in Spanish, and Miranda singing in Creole and French. Included below are two songs that capture the essence of OqueStrada beautifully. Oxalá te Veja and Se Esta Rua Fosse Minha are two passionate songs that will render you incapable of sitting still and will perhaps make you love the wonders of globalization and the clash of cultures.

Se Esta Rua Fosse Minha
Oxala te Veja

E é assim o mundo da música, é uma constante reinvenção de ritmos e culturas, influenciado por tudo e mais um pouco. Se nos tempos antigos o acordeão e a guitarra portuguesa influenciaram dos mais diversos ritmos tais como o funaná caboverdiano e o semba angolano, hoje é a vez do funaná influenciar a musica portuguesa, mais concretamente a musica da banda OqueStrada, que promove um estilo musical que o escritor Philip Graham chama de ‘pan-portuguese’. Eu apaixonei-me pelos OqueStrada, intensamente. E para qualquer alma que ama musica lusófona, é dificil não se apaixonar por eles. A voz energética de Marta Miranda e o gosto pela musica que o grupo demonstra é simplesmente arrasador. OqueStrada é a nova face do quotidiano português, e esta banda de 5 pessoas consegue demonstrar lindamente o espírito de um Portugal em constante reinvenção cultural. Quem alguma vez sentou num café lisboeta e sentiu o multiculturalismo daquele cidade, e ouviu ao mesmo tempo o ritmo do funaná e o fado português, ou sentou ao lado de angolanos e brasileiros apreciando o melhor da cozinha portuguesa, enfim, quem ja experienciou de perto a beleza da troca de culturas lusófonas vai adorar esta banda e o seu espírito boémio. Porque so neste Portugal de diversas culturas é que uma banda como os OqueStrada, uma banda que mistura o funaná com o fado, o ska e ritmos angolanos com a guitarra portuguesa é capaz de existir.

O seu primeiro e único CD no Mercado é o Tasca Beat. É daquele tipo de CDs que se pode tocar do príncipio ao fim sem saltar uma única música. E é realmente a melhor forma de sentir a música dos OqueStrada, porque ouvindo só uma ou duas músicas não satisfaz o apetite. É um CD claramente português, mas ao mesmo tempo as influências africanas estão sempre a flor da pele, o que o torna ainda mais apaixonante. É possível ouvir ska, flamenco com Miranda a cantar em espanhol, uma versão acústica do clássico Killing Me Softly, e músicas em creole e francês improvisado. Incluído aqui estão duas canções que mostram a essência deste grupo. Oxalá te Veja e Se Esta Rua Fosse Minha são duas músicas lindas que espelham o amor pela vida desta banda e demonstram quão belo é a fusão de culturas. É impossível ficar sentado quieto enquanto tocam estas canções, o seu ritmo é alucinante.

- Photo by Retorta - paragem obrigatoria
OqueStrada on Myspace - a must see

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Carmen Souza

Carmen SouzaShe says her music is “somewhere between jazz, folk, and Africa”, and even if I hadn’t heard any of her unique fusion music or heard the first heartfelt notes of her earthy voice, I would have been sold anyway. Carmen Souza is yet another refreshing export of that paradise of music called Cape Verde - she was born and raised in Lisbon and identifies strongly with that country, but you can see through her music and her Creole lyrics that her soul belongs to Cape Verde.

Carmen Souza’s music is not of the Lura or Sara Tavares variety really; rather, it’s an artful blend of traditional Cape Verdean rhythms with contemporary jazz and an intimate acoustic element. For me, Carmen’s music wasn’t immediately catchy but rather aged beautifully after repeated listening. Her tracks are sometimes bare but arrestingly complex, simple but with a surprising depth, mostly supplied by her deep, earthy voice. Her track Afrika (from her 2nd album, Verdade) is a case in point – at first it shows characteristics of traditional Cape Verdean music a la Mayra Andrade, but instead Carmen’s voice lightly flirts with the instruments and never takes over the song, almost teasing us. And midway through, the track devolves into a sound that is distinctly jazz influenced but not quite so, enough that you can still say, yes, Carmen is Cape Verdean. Ind’Feso, also from Verdade, is another favorite of mine, and in it you can hear Carmen hit low and high notes among the backdrop of the batuques we have come to expect from those islands, expertly provided by her Mozambican percussionist Pedro Segundo, and a jazzy bass line developed by her mentor and producer, the Portuguese Theo Pas’cal.


Ela diz que a sua música é “algo em redor ao jazz, folk, e Áfrika”, mas mesmo se eu nunca tivesse ouvido as suas músicas únicas e aliciantes, e mesmo se nunca tivesse ouvido a voz ímpar dela, acho que compraria o disco so mesmo pelas palavras que ela escolheu para definir a sua música. Camen Souza é mais uma filha daquele paraíso musical que são as ilhas de Cabo Verde. Nasceu e cresceu em Lisboa, filha de imigrantes caboverdianos, mas basta um minuto ou dois da sua música e das suas letras em crioulo para se dar conta que a alma dela é, sem duvida, caboverdiana.

A música de Carmen Souza não é bem o que os fãs de musica caboverdiana esperam. Não é bem Lura nem Sara Tavares, mas sim uma fusão artística dos ritmos tradicionais cabo-verdianos com jazz contemporâneo e guitarras acústicas. A primeira vez que a ouvi não fiquei imediatamente captivado; precisei de várias sessões com o disco ao ouvido para realmente começar a deliciar-me com estas canções, canções estas que muitas vezes são cruas mas complexas, simples mas com uma profundidade imensa. A voz de Carmen é algo à parte, é como um instrumento que ela usa ao seu bel prazer e com um efeito arrasador. A música Áfrika (do seu segundo album, Verdade) é um belo exemplo disto – primeiro parece uma música a la Mayra Andrade mas à meio transforma-se num jazz intensamente africano, claramente influenciado por Cabo Verde e apimentado com a voz guturral de Carmen. Ind’Feso (do mesmo album) é outra canção que me caiu bem, e demonstra a versitalidade da voz desta cantora. A voz dela vira um instrumento, bem acompanho pelos batuques tocado pelo percussionista luso-moçambicano Pedro Segundo e o baixo tocado pelo português Theo Pas’cal, o mentor e productor desta cantora.

- Photo by hansspeekenbrink

Carmen Souza on Myspace
Buy her album Verdade on Mondomix!
Carmen Souza's blog

Caipirinha Lounge Cinema: O Eclipse, by Madredeus & A Banda Cosmica

In this blog's earliest days I wrote about Madredeus & A Banda Cosmica's best song to date, a song that I have since taken down but have never forgotten. It narrowly missed the Top 11 Songs list and now I'm having second thoughts...Nevertheless, if you wish to see perfection in the flesh, if you want to witness genius, here is a shorter version of the song as performed by Madredeus & A Banda Cosmica, with Rita Damasio and Mariana Abrunheiro doing their utmost to help us forget Teresa Salgueiro. Worth a look:

Nos primeiros dias deste blogue, escrevi sobre a melhor canção de Madredeus & A Banda Cosmica, uma canção que ja apaguei do blog mas que continua a aliciar os meus tímpanos. Por muito pouco que não foi incluída na lista das 11 Melhores Músicas deste blogue, e agora estou aqui a pensar se valia mesmo a pena deixa-lo de fora...Indecisão à parte, aqui esta o video desta linda canção, para aqueles que gostam de ver perfeição ao vivo, e para aqueles que adoram ver génios a trabalhar, fazendo o que realmente amam na vida. Esta é uma versão mais curta da música, ja que a original demora uns bons 12 minutos, e pode se ver o belo esforço que Rita Damasio e Mariana Abrunheiro fazem para nos fazer esquecer Teresa Salgueiro. A não perder.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

8 Musicians That Will Make You Rethink World Music

Jonsi8 Musicians That Will Make You Rethink World Music

A couple of days ago I wrote an article by that same name for one of my favorite websites, Matador Nights, which is part of the Matador Network, “the world’s largest independent travel magazine.” Writing that article was a pleasure for me and included in it are familiar faces around these parts, including Madredeus, 340ml, Buraka Som Sistema, Cibelle, and Tcheka. Come to think of it…my article was probably a bit slanted towards Lusophone artists ;) But I also got the opportunity to talk about artists that I absolutely love but happen to not sing in Portuguese, such as the incomparable Sigur Rós (in the photo above), Souad Massi, and Federico Aubele. Included on this post are two tracks: one from Tcheka, in case you still haven’t bought the album and are looking for added incentive (Sabu is a gorgeous song), and one from Souad Massi, the Algerian chanteuse with a stunning voice and Arabic lyrics. Bel El Madhi (The Gates of the Past) features in her sophomore effort, Deb, and with its guitar and flutes, is a beautiful song.

Bel El Madhi (The Gates of the Past)

-Photo by Frinky

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Lura Canta um Tango

LuraOver the last couple of days I have been listening a lot to Lura’s latest album, Eclipse, which came out around March of this year. It’s definitely a bit more subdued than M’Bem di Fora, which remains my favorite album of hers, but nonetheless it’s an impressive piece of work. Once again Lura demonstrates that she is one of Cape Verde’s brightest stars, constantly perfecting her work. Two tracks that exemplify her versatility and exuberance are Canta um Tango and Libramor. Canta um Tango was written by the group Katango and goes where no other Cape Verdean artist has gone before. It’s a beautiful, creole flavored rendition of Argentina’s favorite genre, and it’s just as melancholic as the original. Perhaps Lura has experience with melancholy due to her love of singing morna. The second track included here is Libramor, my favorite song of the album. The way it builds is brilliant. The rhythmic percussion solo, then the subtle addition of batuques, then the eruption of the flowing guitar, and finally Lura’s voice, all within the first blissful 30 seconds. The rest of the song doesn’t disappoint, either.

Canta um Tango

Tenho escutado bastante último CD de Lura, que ela chamou de Eclipse. O CD está a venda desde Março, mas so recentemente consegui por as minhas mãos nele, e ouvir-lhe com a atenção que merece. É um CD um pouco mais calmo e pensativo que M’Bem di Fora, que continua ser o meu CD preferido desta cantora diminutiva que eu adoro, mas mesmo assim Eclipse é um trabalho excelente. Mais uma vez Lura mostra porquê que é uma das vozes mais belas de Cabo Verde. Como evidência aqui estão duas canções belas deste novo album: Canta um Tango e Libramor. Canta um Tango é uma canção linda e serena escrita pelo grupo Kantango e gravado em Nápoles. É a primeira vez que oiço uma voz Caboverdiana cantando a música preferida dos Argentinos, a música de Astor Piazzola e Carlos Gardel. O toque creole é uma bela reinterpretação deste estilo musical triste e melancólico, adjectivos que tambem podem ser usados para descrever o morna, estilo com o qual Lura tem prévia experiência. E por fim temos Libramor, a minha canção preferida do Eclipse. So os primeiros 30 segundos ja são suficientes para aliciar-me. A percurssão começa à solo, mas o ritmo ja me faz mexer o corpo. Depois uns batuques subtis, e logo a seguir a guitarra a fluir e a abrir-se como uma flor recém-nascida. E como cereja no topo do bolo, la vem a voz de Lura. Tudo isso so nos primeiros 30 segundos...

-Photo by Africolor

Lura Online

Eclipse on Amazon

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Bajofondo Comes to Boston

Bajofondo in BostonMy good friends and I had seen Bajofondo perform live on Av. 9 de Julio, smack in the center of Buenos Aires, with the Obelisco as a magnificent backdrop, on occasion of 25 de Mayo, one of the most important Argentine holidays. So when we learned that Bajofondo would be coming to Boston to play at the Paradise Rock Club, we were excited, to say the least. But we all thought that their performance would never top the spectacle we saw in Buenos Aires, where the setting, the emotion, the amazing energy and the fact that it happened to be May 25 all contributed to the uniqueness of that particular concert. We were wrong.

Martin FerresIt might have been the fact that we were two steps away from the stage. Or that the band members at various points of the show left the stage to come dance with the sizeable Argentine and Uruguay contingent at Paradise. It might have been the fact that band member Veronica Loza kissed my hand. It was probably a combination of all those things. What I know for sure was that their show was one of the best concerts I have ever seen in my life. The bandoneónist Martin Ferrés was out of this world. I have seldom seen deft skill like that. I pretty much stared in awe at him and the violinist Javier Casalla all night. Casalla did things with the violin that I didn’t know violins did, especially for the track Grand Guignol included below. And Gustavo Santaolalla was his usual self, effervescent and thoroughly enjoying his creation, his music. One of the highlights of the night was seeing the basist perform a rap for the song Ya No Duele, also included below. But Bajofondo really brought the house down when they played their last song, the inevitable Los Tangueros, and invited a bunch of women from the audience to go onstage and dance with them, which, of course, lots of dudes did as well. I won’t forget this concert that early.

Ya No Duele (Con Santullo)
Grand Guignol

-Bad quality photos taken with my crummy iPhone camera

Friday, October 2, 2009

Find A Way, by Metropolitan Jazz Affair

Metropolitan Jazz AffairBossa nova is inspired by that intoxicating air of Rio de Janeiro, by the alluring call of those waves at Posto 9 and that girl walking down Copacabana. But its appeal is universal, crossing language barriers and political boundaries. Since its inception in the heady days of the early 60s by grandmasters such as Antonio Carlos Jobim and Vinicius de Moraes, it has continue to inspire many, including this French jazz ensemble, I mean, Affair, from Lyon, France. MJA specializes at electro-jazz and does a damn good job at it. Their mood is soulful and classy, and their brand of jazz is infectious. This bossa edit of their hit Find a Way gives the song a Brazilian essence, notwithstanding Eric Duperray’s soulful rendition in English. Perfect to accompany a chilled glass of caipiroska.

Find A Way - Bossa Edit

A bossa nova foi inspirada por aquele ar intoxicante carioca, pelo chamar daquelas ondas da praia do Posto 9, pelo andar daquela garota a andar pelas areias. Mas hoje são muitos os povos que apereciam uma boa bossa. O seu appeal é universal, não importa o idioma ou a cultura. Desde a sua criação naqueles dias longíquos dos anos 60s por génios como Antonio Carlos Jobim e Vinicius de Moraes, este género de música serviu de inspiração para muitos músicos, incluindo este affair baseado em Lyon, França. Os Metropolitan Jazz Affair especializam em jazz eléctrico, e fazem um belo trabalho. As suas músicas são suaves, sem muita confusão, e o seu jazz é encantador. O remix para bossa nova do seu éxito Find a Way da um toque brasilerio a sua música, mesmo que o vocalista, Eric Duperray, canta (e muito bem) em inglês. Esta música é perfeita para se acompanhar com uma caipiroska gelada, ao anoitecer.

MJA on Amazon
MJA on Myspace

Valete in Luanda!

One of my favorite rappers, a man by the name of Valete, has arrived in Luanda as Angolan rapper Kool Klever’s guest of honor. The concert in Cine Atlântico (Oct 4) will feature the finest rap talent in Luanda, including Kid MC and, of course, MCK. Samurai over at Madtapes has more.

Um dos meus rappers preferidos, um tal de Valete, chegou hoje a Luanda como convidado especial de Kool Klever, para actuar no concerto deste no dia 4 de Outubro no Cine Atlântico. Este concerto certamente ira arrasar, tal é o talento à mostra: Kid MC, Bomber Jack, MCK, etc. A não perder! Obtenha mais informações sobre o evento no Madtapes.
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