• Categories
  • Archives

Brazilian Sound, Well Beyond Bossa Nova

Moro no Brasil by Mika Kaurismaki Brazil is a country rich in music, and there are various different rhythms that have their origins through the miscegenation that occurred as the Portuguese colonizers mixed with the native Brazilians, Africans brought in as slaves and countless other immigrants that landed in the country over the years.

On the enlightening documentary Moro No Brasil, (Milan Films) Finnish-born director Mika Kaurismaki gives us a small sample of these musical traditions of the land.

"For the film I did quite a lot research and soon realized that there was so much music in Brazil, that it wasn't possible to show everything in one film," he explains in an interview. "That's why I decided to concentrate more in the roots of samba and the musical traditions in the Northeast of Brazil and Rio de Janeiro.

After a brief introduction in snow-covered Helsinki, we are taken to the sertão (backlands) of the northeastern state of Pernambuco, where the director begins to trace the roots of samba through the music of the Fulni-ô Indians, who have a language and culture that goes back to before the Portuguese colonization.

The next stop is Caruaru, a small town about three hours from the state's capital, Recife. There we meet Silvério Pessoa, a young innovator of forró, the syncopated dance beat that has gained popularity stateside in recent years via groups like Forró in the Dark. He explains that growing up, he heard the sounds of pioneers like Jackson do Pandeiro, Luiz Gonzaga and others, which helped him shape his chops.

In Bahia, arguably the most fertile ground for music in the country – legends like Caetano Veloso, João Gilberto, Gal Costa and João Gilberto, to name a few, were born there – we learn how Candomblé, an Afro-Brazilian religion that is very present in the region, influenced the country's music.

Rio comes last – we are exposed to the sounds of the Samba Schools and the funk-inflected samba of the more urban areas of the city, and there are several live performances captured at Kaurismaki's nightclub there.

"It was clear from the beginning that the film was not only about music but also about the people who make music," he explains. "Socially Brazil is a land of contrasts, people are rich or poor, black or white, and in my travels during research and filming I learnt a lot about the everyday struggle of the Brazilian people."

Moro No Brasil makes us realize that Brazilian music goes far beyond bossa nova and the more sophisticated beats Americans get via Marisa Monte or Bebel Gilberto. Music there is in every corner, and it is not simply entertainment – it actually plays a major part in the country's fabric.

Note: Different versions of this review have appeared on New City Chicago and The Miami New Times

Ernest Barteldes is a freelance writer based on Staten Island, New York. He can be reached at ebarteldes@yahoo.com.

Tags:

  • Show Comments (0)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Ads

You May Also Like

Nothing Short of a Miracle Can Save Brazil’s Varig Airline, Says Expert

The situation at Varig, Brazil’s flagship air carrier, has never been as critical as ...

Brazilian Market Tumbles While New Government Heads Roll

Latin American shares witnessed a mixed session, as Brazilian shares tumbled amid renewed political ...

The Zika Fear: There’s Still Time to Stop Rio’s Olympic Games

Since the outbreak of the Zika virus in Latin America in May 2015, Brazilian ...

Brazil’s Lula Postpones to 2010 Decision on US, French or Swedish Fighter Jets

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said Monday that his government should decide ...

Lula Goes to Davos, But World Doesn’t Care About Brazil

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has arrived in Davos, Switzerland, where he ...

Old Plan, Old River

California and Israel have been used as inspiration for several irrigation plans in the ...

Mired in Scandal, Brazil’s Lula Offers Ministries to New Allies

Scandal shocked Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced Thursday a new plan ...

Brazil’s Lula Wants a WTO More Helpful to Developing Countries

Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva met with the president of Cabo Verde, ...

Franchises in Brazil Are 90% National and Generate 30,000 Jobs

With an annual turnover of US$ 13.7 billion (32 billion reais), franchises currently account ...

In Competitiveness, US Comes First and Brazil Is Almost Last in Line

The Competitiveness Indicator, a study conducted by Brazil’s Federation of Industries of the State ...