Tag Archives: Music

The Music Scene in Sao Paulo

9 May

It’s now been a couple of months since I got back from Sao Paulo but I am still working on material from my time there, and this has manifested itself in a number of ways.

The most exciting result from my time in Sao Paulo is the article I wrote for The Wire, which has been published in the May edition of The Wire. You can read that article here. However, as well as featuring in the print edition I also collected a number of mp3s for their website. You can listen to those mp3s here.

Even more exciting though is the compilation I made for Sounds and Colours, which was released today. This features 18 tracks by artists from Sao Paulo, highlighting the truly eclectic, amazing mix happening in the city at the moment. The compilation is entitled Nossa, Cara! New Sounds of Sao Paulo and can be listened to and downloaded from here.

I have also published a few interviews with singers from Sao Paulo, for both Sounds and Colours and JungleDrums. These were with Juliana R, Lulina, Blubell and Tulipa.

I’ve still got a few more articles to post too so keep your eyes peeled!

I wanted to leave you with a video from Criolo. He’s a rapper from the Grajaú neighbourhood of Sao Paulo and has just released Nó Na Orelha (you can download it for free from here), one of the best hip-hop albums I’ve ever heard! Here’s his video for “Nao Existe Amor Em SP (Love Doesn’t Exist in Sao Paulo)”:

Sounds and Colours – a magazine about South American music and culture

24 Jul

Sounds and Colours, as mentioned in a previous post, is a website I have been working on for the last couple of months. It seems like now is the time to get the word out on this thing! The site features interviews, mixtapes, news and reviews of all aspects of South American music and culture. At the moment the focus is Brazil, with a strong bias towards everything musical. In August we will be looking at Argentina.

The basic idea is to create a site about South America in a way that’s not been done for. The majority of sites that are about South American music in particular tend to categorise it as ‘world music’ or ‘latin american music’. These tags are just too broad to ever really embrace all the amazing styles of music from this region. The same also applies to culture with Brazil largely described as ‘carnival’ country, Argentina as the home of ‘tango’ and Peru as the place to visit ‘macchu picchu.’ There is just so much more going on and we are hoping to get the word out as much as possible! Keep on eye on this blog as well obviously as the Sounds and Colours site for the latest on this new project.

Sounds and Colours

Some Writing News

5 Feb

Some of my writing has been featured on the Museyon website. A piece called In a Nutshell: Candombe. I just read it again now it’s online and can’t believe how many mistakes I made. On top of that, a few more have crept in since it’s been published. Damn! Well, hopefully it won’t be my last piece for them, the plan is to write a few more in a similar vein.

The Legendary Shakers

28 Jan

Well it seems there is nowhere Beatlemania didn’t reach. After speaking to many people here I kept hearing that music started in Uruguay with The Shakers, so I thought it was about time I checked them out. The first clip that I came across on youtube was:

I don’t think it’s possible to get any more Beatles than that! Two of the guys from that band went on to pretty much shape the entirety of Uruguayan music after, with Hugo Fattoruso in particular generally regarded as something of a master, but most of The Shakers material was a complete rip-off of the Beatles. Their albums even mirrored the trajectory of the Beatles. First album ‘The Shakers’ seems to be all the jingly-jangly pop songs, second album ‘The Shakers For You’ tried to be more well-crafted, supposedly similar to Revolver/Rubber Soul, and the last one ‘The Secret Conference of Toto’s Bar’ was their Sgt. Pepper’s. I managed to find a copy of this last one on the ‘net and am currently downloading. I’m especially looking forward to hearing the last song, ‘Longer than the Plum.’

Eduardo Mateo – an absolute legend

23 Jan

During my first trip to Uruguay last May I briefly stayed with a bald-headed Vespa freak in Tacuarembó in the North of the country. Mainly I had chosen to couchsurf with this fellow as I fancied making a trip to his town and noticed that the guy was a keen guitarrist. In the end I got on far better with his dog, Telstar, than him but this trip was memorable for one major thing. I asked him for some Uruguayan music and he spent about an hour deciding on three albums by three different artists that I should put on my mp3 player. The first, Hugo Fattoruso, was okay, nothing special. The second was Eduardo Mateo, and I still haven’t managed to get to the third. It took me about two months before I managed to get past the first song on the Mateo album to be the fair. That song was Yulele:

The album I had been given was Mateo’s Classics Vol.1, which is a collection of songs off his first two albums. Along with Os Novos Baianos’ Acabou Chorare this is probably the album I’ve listened to the most during my trip. The fact that I knew nothing about the album and its creator making the experience even better perhaps. It’s quite clear that there is a lot going on with Mateo. His voice is constantly taking on different personalities and the lyrics, well the lyrics are pretty sad. But it’s the rhythms and the unusual melodies that really make these songs great, with some of his vocal harmonies in particular literally bringing me to my knees.

I have been trying to find out more about him but it’s a nightmare. I have been to every bookstore in Montevideo and there is nothing. I eventually managed to find a book that someone had scanned into their computer online. It’s quite interesting but all the blurring and crookedness from a bad scan job make it hard to read for any more than 5 minutes. Other than that all material on the web is in Spanish and not of much interest. There is also a massive lack of live videos on Youtube, hence the videos I am posting here.

Of which, this is another, this time featuring songs from his second album. I just read that only 443 copies of this album were ever pressed. Apparently the public were a little dismayed by the changes he’d made in his voice. After singing quite clearly on his previous albums, he’d decided to try droning his voice more, using even stranger harmonies and many people assumed this was because he had become mentally ill.

And to finish with a quote which I probably have badly-translated from Spanish:

“I am not fully realised as a guitarrist because I am not fully realised as a human being, and further I am not happy. So the music I play signifies my problems. There are spaces when I am playing when I am not me.”

Further information:
Discography of Mateo with links to download many of his albums

Os Novos Baianos – the greatest band in brazil ever! (maybe)

6 Jan

Okay, I realised that maybe I’ve been neglecting this blog a bit because I could be posting a lot more things here. I’m constantly finding out about new music and hearing great bits of information about South American football, and I just had never thought about posting it here. Well, all that is now to change!

I really want to paste a clip of Os Novos Baianos performing Brasil Pandeiro:

This band and specifically the album which this song comes from, Acabou Chorare, have become my favourite thing about Brazilian music. It seems ridiculous that I had never heard of this band before. They seem to have somehow been missed off the radar in England, with all the press going to Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil and Os Mutantes. Well, I have to say I have been listening religiously to all of these guys, as well as Jorge Ben Jor, Milton Nascimento, Gal Costa, Maria Bethania, Ney Matogrosso, Chico Buarque and the rest, and none of them have produced an album quite as good as Acabou Chorare.

I met a Brazilian in Buenos Aires who told me a little about their story. Apparently they all lived together in a hippie commune in Bahia and had been working on putting out some rock music, when Joao Gilberto came to see them. He had heard that their guitarist was pretty shit hot. Anyway, story goes that he told them to give up the rock music and instead stick to Bossa Nova, and I’m pretty sure that was the moment when the template of all Brazilian popular music was born. There is a beautiful mix in their music between the bossa nova melodies allied with some real rock riffs, as well as the three very different voices that share vocal duties throughout. They’re also quite willing to add in some samba beats when necessary, and I think all of this is on show in Brasil Pandeiro. Trying to watch that video clip without smiling is a near impossibility!