Rodrigo Teles flies over Jonathan De Andrade, Aoife Mc & Aoife Giles photographed via remote control by Aoife Giles. Which incidentally is pretty flippin’ cool. Remote control photography. What next?
The title of this blog post refers to the fact that Brazilians (to make a hilariously redundant sweeping statement on a nation of nearly 190 million people) are wondiferously laid-back. It’s not as if Irish people are known for punctuality or rigidity but we have a lot to learn about taking it easy from our South American brothers and sisters.
At about three minutes to broadcast time on Thursday the 3rd of July, Rodrigo Teles of Super Extra Bonus Party fame and his friend Jonathan De Andrade are still burning the tracks they want to play on the fast approaching indie hour to CDRs from Jonathan’s impressive collection of Brazilian folk music on his Apple Mac. We still haven’t worked out a playlist for the show, although we had met the night before in The Cobblestone and talked about our idea for the Brazilian special over creamy pints of Guinness with the other guest, Aoife Giles.
I’m starting to get a bit panicky and Aoife Giles looks at me with a wry smile and laughs. ‘This is how things always happen in Brazil. You just have to resign yourself to it and have faith that it will all work out in the end.’
And work out it did. I’m really happy with this show, our third indie hour crash course, because I think we managed in an hour to introduce people to a sliver of what Brazil has to offer musically.
It was Rodrigo, from São Paulo, who I approached first about the idea a few months back and it was he who introduced me to Jonathan, a percussionist from the north eastern state of Bahia. I’ve known Aoife Giles for a few years through mutual friends and was interested in getting her perspective of Brazilian music as an Irish person who lived in São Paulo for two years. Rodrigo and Jonathan were taken aback by Aoife’s perfect São Paulo accent the night before in The Cobblestone, and while they talked freely in Portuegese over the aforementioned creamy pints, I thought for the eight millionth time that I really must learn another language.
I digress. Rodrigo, Jonathan and Aoife came on the show and spoke about their own experiences of Brazilian music and what it meant to them. Brazil being so huge means that there were naturally hundreds of genres and sub-genres that we could have discussed. Limited to an hour, we decided to approach it in a more personal way, with each of them playing two tracks that they felt highlighted some of their favourite styles of Brazilian music.
I chose Take It Easy, My Brother Charles from Jorge Ben to start off the show, and followed it with Domingo No Parque from Gilberto Gil and Os Mutantes, both lifted from the excellent Tropicalia compilation which Niall introduced to me last year.
Jonathan chose Jimmy Cliff’s samba reggae version of No Woman No Cry, as an example of the blending and mixtures of genres within samba that he first identified with as a young musician. He also chose the live version of Chover from Cordel do Fogo Encantado and he told us how Brazilian music is all about sharing and mixing it up. He spoke about how we all need to pull down the walls and share music around the world, and that surely that’s what we’re all here for – overstepping the boundaries between cultures and using music to identify with one another.
Aoife continued with the theme of the sharing aspect of music in Brazilian culture. Her introduction to Brazilian music began as part of a youth theatre group in Dublin where a teacher taught the group a lot about Samba. When she got to São Paulo, her Brazilian friends were delighted to tell her about their music and she soon realised that Brazil’s musical landscape is so much more diverse than one might expect even from such a huge country. She also spoke about working with the project of Digital Culture, commisioned by the office of Gilberto Gil, one of the fathers of Tropicalia who is now Brazil’s Minister for Culture. Aoife picked Caetono Veloso’s gorgeous track O Leaonzinho about a little lion and Mestre Ambrosio Pe-de-Calcada which makes one want to get up and dance.
Rodrigo, MC from Choice Prize winners Super Extra Bonus Party, talked to us about São Paulo hip-hop and the similarities between how Brazilians and Irish people blend styles to create new music. He played the very funky Sossego from Tim Maia as it was something his father, a São Paulo DJ, would have played in one of his sets and it reminds Rodrigo of the different musical styles he grew up listening to. We finished up the show with another Rodrigo recommended track, this time from Marcelo D2 called A Maldicao Do Samba which highlights the fusion of traditional and hip-hop styles of Brazilian music.
We could have kept talking for a few more hours but sadly ran out of time. Perhaps we can do a Brazilian Time Crash Course Part Two. Bring it on.
Jonathan, Aoife Mc, Aoife Giles and Rodrigo. Now that’s how you strike a pose. Word.