What does Brazilian music have to do with Arab rhythms? The answer: a lot more than can be imagined. João Bosco, one of the most creative artists in Brazilian music, shows in his music great affinity with the poetic sonority of Arab culture. And the similarity is not merely a coincidence.
Bosco has even released an album called “As mil e uma aldeias”, which can be freely translated as “The thousand and one villages”, clear allusion to the universal literature classic “The thousand and one nights”.
Born in the small city of Ponte Nova, in the interior of the state of Minas Gerais, the grandson of Lebanese João Bosco grew up listening to stories related to the fantastic universe of the Arab world, therefore he found no difficulties to stand out with his art.
His verve is seen in songs like “Amon Rá” and “Cavalo de Tróia” (meaning “Horse of Troy”), “Comissão de frente” (“Front committee”), “O bêbado e o equilibrista” (“The drunk and the acrobat”) and “Corsário” (“Pirate”), with similar resonance to the Egyptian musician Hossam Ramzy, who will, in fact, share the stage with him next Saturday, at the Mediterranean theme exhibit of the Social Service for Commerce (Sesc) in São Paulo.
According to João Bosco, there is total affinity with Ramzy. “I listen to his percussion and feel his percussive ideas and the rhythmic designs he sets out to create are very close to my work. There are no moments when I feel a foreigner before his work,” he says.
He still hasn’t met Ramzy personally, but with this remark the Egyptian artist is expected to feel very much at home on stage with the Brazilian musician.
Ramzy has already made arrangements for many western artists, like Peter Gabriel, and also soundtracks of films, such as “Stealing Beauty” and Disney’s animated film “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”.
The repertoire for the new partnership between João Bosco and Ramzy still hasn’t been set. “We will do this on the same day of the show. But it won’t be difficult. Since he likes developing things on top of certain cells that repeat themselves, I thought of creating musical situations that could trigger a feeling of freshness, in which he would feel integrated,” the Brazilian composer says.
The similarity of Arab and Brazilian music isn’t only in Bosco’s music. According to him, the Northeast of Brazil was very much influenced by the Arab culture, which can be seen in the typical regional music.
João Bosco, influential and renown musician, has already travelled the world and knows many artists and various musical rhythms. He has sang with Moroccan musicians, in Paris, in the 1990s, and with Wilson Nudur. According to him, the tendency in the world of music is that everything is brought closer together and completes itself. “For us Brazilians, who have a natural and keen capacity for experimentations, fusions, the advantage is great.”
According to him, the musicians around the world have a predisposition to cross these musical sensations with other peoples. “And all of a sudden this can point to new directions,” evaluates the artist who always experimented new possibilities for his music.
The sadness and the resonance, the vibration and the whisper, present in the work of João Bosco may be the result of his singular fusion between the Arab culture, Afro-American music and the Brazilian style bossa nova. After all, one of the instigators of his career was nobody less than Brazilian poet Vinicius de Moraes, one of the propagators of the bossa nova.
In the beginning of the 1960s, João Bosco started listening to jazz with keen interest, especially Charlie Parker, Miles Davis and Ray Charles. And in 1970, he also met the composer Aldir Blanc, with whom he made hundreds of songs and firmly set himself in the national scenario as one of the greatest Brazilian musicians.
Hossam Ramzy and João Bosco
São Paulo, August 27, at 9:00 p.m.
For the complete program, venues and prices, access the website www.sescsp.org.br
Anba – www.anba.com.br