Two very different Brazilian bands are currently touring the US in promotional tours of their current releases in their native land, and both will be hitting the East Coast with concerts in Newark’s Ironbound Section this coming Thanksgiving weekend.
On Wednesday, November 24, PR.5, the new project by former RPM’s Paulo Ricardo arrives in town in the heels of their independently released Zum-Zum.
Paulo Ricardo was the pretty face that fronted the 80s band that would become Brazilian pop’s most impressive phenomenon in rock back then.
After the release of RP M’s debut album, the band, which also included keyboardist Luis Chiffon and drummer Paulo Pagan, was unstoppable, and songs like “Louras Geladas” (Cold Blondes, a reference to beer) and “Rotações por Minuto” (Rotations per Minute) dominated the airwaves.
But the band could not contain itself, and after two more albums (their last release, Quatro Coiotes was an utter disappointment), power trips and excesses caused the group to part ways.
Ricardo soldiered on, creating new incarnations of RPM, but the magic was gone, and the mid 90s saw him reduced to a singer of silly romantic songs.
It was surprising to hear that Paulo Ricardo had picked up his bass guitar again to play rock and roll, although I didn’t know what to make of the tracks I heard on Zum Zum.
No album in hand, I only heard samples from the band’s official website, but then again even back in RPM’s day, Ricardo was always much stronger in a live format.
Next up is O Rappa, the seminal Rio de Janeiro band that mixes influences from rock, rap, reggae, samba and rock in a very unique way, as they have done for the ten years they’ve been around.
On their latest album, O Silêncio Que Precede O Esporro (The Silence That Precedes the Bad Rap) , they join forces with the likes of samba master Zeca Pagodinho in one track, and also play around with light bossa-nova tendencies with a song called “Linha Vermelha,” an allusion to the thug-dominated areas of Rio.
The song speaks of life in Rio “as it is, where thugs have their way”, as the band’s members state in their website. “It is a new take on bossa nova where the little boat (“O Barquinho,” a classic bossa nova tune) sank due to social exclusion and violence.”
Another song to pay attention to is “Maneiras”, a rap-inflected samba that, with the participation of pagode master Zeca Pagodinho, meets the street smart tendencies of Rio with the lyrical urgency of East Coast rap.
They also masterly cover Chico Buarque de Hollanda’s 1973 song “Deus Lhe Pague” (May God Reward You), a song written during the dark years of military repression in Brazil when songwriters had to intelligently disguise their lyrics form the ever-present censors.
Both shows are recommendable for anyone interested in modern Brazilian sounds outside the bossa-nova realm.
Wednesday, Nov. 24th
Saturday. November 27th
278 New York Avenue
phone 973 589 8999
Ernest Barteldes is an ESL and Portuguese teacher. In addition to that, he is a freelance writer who has regularly been contributing to The Greenwich Village Gazette since September 1999. His work has also been published by Brazzil, The Staten Island Advance, The Staten Island Register, The SI Muse, The Villager, GLSSite and other publications. He lives in Staten Island, NY. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.