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One of my favorite MPB records.

I found this record accidentally when digging through the big staples of vinyl from a street merchant in Brazil, it grabbed my attention cause of the cover artwork, but I forgot to listen to – just because he had so much awesome stuff. I remembered the record a few days later, tried to find it again, but without success, I even couldn´t remember the name of the artist. I described the artwork to the guy and he immediately started to lionize about the record. Well, I really wanted that record now, but where the hell was it? We almost searched one hour for it and as we already wanted to give up, I turned my spotlight on another record, Jorge Ben´s “A Tábua De Esmeralda”. Well, I will buy this one, let´s see hows the vinyl condition. And, believe it or not, the Sergio Sampaio record was inside the slipcover behind the Jorge Ben record. Unpossible to see it if just flipping through the record boxes. Finally and the record is a direct hit.

In the late sixties Raul Seixas spotted the talent of Sergio Sampaio and started to work with him. Seixas also produced the first full-length “eu quero é botar…” from 1973, which contains a wide range of musical influences: Blues, Rock´n´Roll, Samba, Choro, to name just a few. The title track already was a big hit in the year before and Sampaio also was part of the legendary Raul Seixas second record “Sociedade da Grã-Ordem Kavernista”. He wrote some of the songs and also sang besides Raul, Edy Star and Miriam Batucada. So the expectations were really high for his debut and almost the whole music press received it with disappointment, it also didn´t sell very good either.

Maybe it was the result of his often “difficult” relations with the press, who used to illustrate him as a eccentric person, but maybe he was just a young and inexperienced guy, not used to deal with the vampires from the press.  The music definitively is a unique blend of traditionalism with the fever of the rock guitar. The recordings include one of the finest musicians around in Brazil at this time: Ivan “Mamão” Conti (from Azymuth) and Wilson da Neves on drums,  Zé Roberto on Piano and Moog.

His later release were much better admitted from the press, but Sergio never gained the attention from the public he deserved. Although the title track did play a big role in the cultural revolt of the student movement against the Brazilian military regime. Originally not intended by Sampaio, the students saw their own feelings and experiences reflected in the lyrics.

Sergio Sampaio died in May 1994.

Cala a Boca.

The legend says Christoph Sanders was brought to light by the guys from Labrador Records in a mall in Sweden, where he played his own songs over the speakers.  With some friends Christoph Sanders is Chasing Dorotea, playing mellow indie pop in the vein of Nick Drake and Belle & Sebastian. Gentle little songs, mostly sparsely instrumented, but with a wide range of instruments, from smooth horn sections to a melancholic melodica. If you are into a sound like this, check it out. Good stuff. As far as I know this record from 2002 is the only Chasing Dorotea release, Christoph Sanders still makes music, now singing in his native tongue and for my taste a little bit to pathetic, which is not applicable for Chasing Dorotea.

Paris rain in July.

All of you could already convince yourself from the qualities of Bid, here he also participates and the band name is setting the direction: Funk how you like it, with Portuguese singing .  To be honest, I don´t know what to write about this release from Brazil, its well made modern funk (which means: some Hip Hop, Soul, Jazz, Rock, Electro influences and so on…), just check out the vid, I am too lazy today to write anymore.

Somos do Funk.

This album, to put it short: is incredible. From the subtle, braille covered packaging and insert littered with graphs and equations (thats the reason why you only see a plain green cover here, you have to feel the cover), to the moody post-hardcore that lurks threateningly within, this is just the whole package. If there was any doubt before, this proves that Month of Birthdays are one of the most unique, creative, and downright great bands we’ve got on these shores right now.

For much of the album, you’ve got blissful, mellowed, chilled-out tunes to play late at night and lose yourself in the beauty of. It’s all very tidal. Small waves mind you. But every now and again you get caught up in a huge tsunami like “Of Chickens” which booms out whilst Cath gets all loud. For much of the rest of the time you get super-quiet, meandering songs with lots of repetetive guitar, softly-softly drumming and wandering vocals that soothe and ease you through the small hours if you happen to still be up. Don’t turn the light on. “Anticipated and Intercepted” practically stops in the middle whilst four fifths of the band go off for a cup of tea leaving one person to strum a guitar with the volume on 1.

I guess they recorded some of the songs at lower levels than others intentionally, because this creates a totally wonderful effect of contrast. The quiet songs really are quiet unless you turn them up. Which would kind of defeat the object, as from time to time these quiet songs break into sweeping power without requiring your over attentive ‘help’. Getting back to “Anticipated and Intercepted” again, that one totally unexpectedly introduces some lumbering hardcore chug-chug at one point after seemingly heading down the ‘pretty’ path for much of the song. Inspired! Also, you’ve got to love a song (“Mind Comes To Thoughts”) which uses a sample of a BBC radio travel report and you can even hear cars buzzing past in the distance behind some truly lovely, gentle guitar. No singing until 5 minutes in too. Fucking yes, Month of Birthdays really know how to push my buttons.

It’s tough for comparisons. Some of the really twinkly bits remind me of Rainer Maria, or sometimes the Van Pelt. Perhaps mixed with the moody tendencies and dynamics of Indian Summer? Bob Tilton maybe? But for the band’s sound as a whole, you got me. Yikes, truly an original sounding record! I’m running scared. (Source)

Mind comes to thoughts.

For the last ten years or so, the collective Fanga has been on the up, blending Afrobeat, Jazz and Funk. An alliance of complementary personalities and cosmopolitan energies, Fanga first took form in 1998. Returning from Africa, Serge Amiano brings back a few vinyls of the likes of Fela, CS Crew and CK Mann that he plays to the Burkinabese rapper Korbo. Amiano being a hip-hop producer naturally takes on the role of the group’s artistic director right from the start.

The discovery of this urban African music of the 1970s quickly forms the basis of a shared passion. Fanga brings out its first six tracks in 2001, the group records “Afrokalyptik” in 2003, its first album. The following album “Natural Juice” comes out in 2007, warmly received and with much acclaim. Fanga is not only highly praised by Gilles Peterson but also the New York magazine Wax Poetics.

Despite being firmly rooted in certain Nigerian and Ghanean musical traditions (those of the 1970s’ afro-beat and high-life) Fanga is equally at home to musical concoction, as demonstrated by the samples and other hip-hop and electronic ingredients, not to mention the vocals in Dioula, English and French. The gritty horns and earthy analogue keyboards shape the group’s sound whilst Korbo has no hesitation in embracing his Mandingue roots.

Brought up on the raw energy of hip-hop, the group reposes equally on certain values that even today can only be found in Africa, a sort of candour and instinctive sense of rhythm which lends such freshness to Fanga. This urge to respond when faced with a base emotion, however fleeting, has governed their musical progression since the beginning of the 2000s.

These guys have a bit more grit in their grooves than most,  still very much in the best 70s-inspired Afro Funk styles you’d expect, but with a nice edge in some of the rhythmic undercurrents, almost as if their new recordings were actually some lost indie label sets from years back!

Empassioned and passionate.

hese guys have a bit more grit in their grooves than most — still very much in the best 70s-inspired Afro Funk styles you’d expect, but with a nice edge in some of the rhythmic undercurrents — almost as if their new recordings were actually some lost indie label sets from years back!

Killer gem from Brazil!!

This is a widely unknown, but excellent and charming conglomerate of Hip Hop, electronic music, Funk, Soul and Jazz with the finest Brazilian music traditions like Samba. Eduardo Bidlovski (Bid) is the composer and producer of this 2005 album and he not only has created a bunch of smooth, but never dull songs. Bid also assembled extraordinary guests for “Bambas & Biratas”.  Black Rio Soul legend Carlos Daffé opens the record with his warm voice on the catchy tune “não pára”, while Samba Queen Elza Soares later proves she also fits perfectly on relaxed tunes. But this is not a record that tries to gather attentions with Brazilian singer legends, the majority are contemporary artists and Brazil has a rich scene which fuses modern influences with traditional aspects. Rapper Black Alien, whizz kid Chico Science or everybody’s darling Seu Jorge are a few of them and also do participate. All in all 56 musicians were involved in this highly recommend work. Vol. 2 is announced for end of the year.

Tua Beleza.

While music enthusiasts are digging Ethiopian funk and soul of the ’60s and ’70s, some releasing mixes of their germs, David Schommer gathers some musicians in New York with an Ethiopian background and records an awesome fusion of Ethiopian roots and Hip Hop. Schommer is deep into Ethiopian culture and music. With Ethiopian-American Amharic rapper Maki Siraj, Bahia-born percussionist and Stomp cast-member Davi Vieira, cellist Dave Eggar, Ethiopian bassist Henok Tenesgen, and Malian kora-player Balla Tounkara he created a beat-driven trans-atlantic collaboration. With his incredibly clean programming abilities, Schommer created one of the most unique takes on modern Ethiopian music. Hip-hop and soul vocal hooks are scattered throughout, but the overall effect is a caravan of nomadic spirits banging on heavy percussion, penetrative bass loops and catchy harmonies. Innovative stuff that blends African, North-American and a few Brazilian influences. Recommend to check out.

Hoya Hoye.

always open minded! feel free to leave a comment if you like or dislike the music, the review or just this blog in general. make the monologue a dialogue! (and receiving some responses keeps me motivated)

normally I try to post new stuff once a week, quality not quantity, so the front page shows you the posts of the last month, but there is a lot more to discover, just click your way thru the older entries.

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