Neighbouring Sounds

7 07 2014

After several aborted attempts to watch this (DVDs in wrong area code) I am now halfway through this movie which I had so eagerly awaited. Lots to think about…full report soon!


STOP PRESS: I finished the film last night and athough I had feared it wouldn’t be able to tie all of the threads of the story together, the ending was actually oddly satisfying: much was left unsaid its true, some things were clarified and then you were simply left to think and wonder…

All in all, it was an interesting – and very stylish – meditation on middle class guilt, paranoia and privelege, delivering its acute observations of modern Brazilian life with great subtlety and verve.

We loved it.

Rio, Eu Te Amo

28 06 2014

After several years of gestation, the latest installment of the “(insert city name), I love you” series is ready, and this time, its Rio. The film follows a now familiar format of short episodes each with a different director, telling a multitude of stories taking place in the same city. It will hit screens in September, running the risk of a world thats rather Rio-ed out after the World Cup but it’ll be interesting to see if it can hit some of the heights of the original “Paris, Je taime” (Gus Van Sant’s gay romance and Tom Tykwer’s quirky entry) without falling as flat as the often bland NY version. The cast has a mix of some great  Brazilian actors (Fernanda Montenegra, Rodrigo Santoro) and international B-list stars (Ryan Kwanten, Harvey Keitel, Vincent Cassel and Vanessa Paradis!) but the real star – of course – will be Rio.

No goal

16 06 2014

Was it just me, or did the opening of the World Cup seem a little…flat? OH well, time to blast some old Brazilian tunes from my days in Rio instead…

Cibelle: The Rise and Fall

11 06 2014

Cibelle is the wispy Sao Paulo model who started her musical career with a sultry trip hop record, then created an alltime ilbonito classic with a lovely rendition of the Tom Waits tune Green Grass, before covering Caetano Veloso with Devandra Banhart and then released an art-pop concept album under the name Sonja Khalecallon, flirting with the Abranavista cultural movement and glamming it up in single “The Blue Shoes“.

So its fair to say she is a bit of a chameleon.

Her latest, which I’m a little late to catch up on, sees the restless early adopter with a harder-edged new sound and ‘Second life’-inspired visuals. And – crucially – TUNES!

“The Fall” is a case in point.

A Meeting of Two Giants

11 06 2014

I’m hanging out to see which Brazilian artists perform at the World Cup Opening Ceremony in a few days time. Cup fever and the hot weather have put me in a Lusophone musical mood. And just who will emerge to wow the world on Friday night – Gaby? Marisa Monte? Vanessa da Mata? Caetano Veloso, dare I hope? This year’s breakout Rordrigo Amarante, or the return of the old-time queen: Xuxa?

But regardless of this there is another great muscial event on its way to Brazil: perhaps the greatest of the nation’s current crop of musical talent, Criolo, is to tour with the mystical Milton Nascimento.


Songs from the South

12 05 2014

The joyous new clip from Rodrigo Amarente, freshly graduated from popular rock group Los Hermanos with his solo record, Cavalo. This video features footage his parents took on a home video camera in the mid 1970s – a perfect fit for his mellow psychedelic Carnival rock.

Meanwhile, one of the quirkier talents of recent Brazilian pop is back: Fernanda Takai.

The future is here: sound of young Belem

7 05 2014

In the 1970s the tropicalistas promised to shake up the world of Brazilian pop forever, with a multi-racial, pan-sexual celebration of camp references (Carmen Miranda), homegrown sounds (samba, folk music) and modern pop sheen – topped off with surrealist lyrics, zinging melodies and above all, a burning and beautiful commitment to personal freedom. They embraced the modern, the tacky, the artificial and played it with soul.

Singer Jaloo is the heir to that tradition – his cover version of the classic “Baby” by original tropicalista goddess Gal Costa serving to underscore the point.

He is the new star of technobrega, the borderline cheesy/ hipster-ironic synth-folk music which had previously made Gaby Amarantes a star. And it comes not from bleeding edge tattoos-and-street-art-and-dirty-sex Mecca Sao Paulo, but from the steaming jungles of the Amazon.

Who knew the future of music lay with a Miley Cyrus and Rihanna-referencing androgynous hipster from Belem, a city on the banks of the mighty Amazon in Para state?

And you can download two of his EPs from his facebook page here. One, “Female plus Brega” is a mixtape of unauthorised remixes, giving the likes of Bjork and Beyonce a (very welcome) Amazonian synth make-over. Insane.


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