From Brazil (with Vincent Bevins and guests)
From experimental jazz and Northern instrumental rock to left-field ‘headphone music’ and grindcore punk, Gaía Passareli explores some of the lesser-known acts in Brazil’s rich musical underbelly.
By Gaía Passarelli
What’s going on in Brazilian music right now? In my previous post, I recommended three good independent rock bands. This time, let’s take on some groups that are very different.
Camarones Orquestra Guitarrística
Some of Brazil’s best music is north, way up north. This five piece, whose name translates into something close to ‘shrimp guitar orchestra,’ plays instrumental rock with an MC505 in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte. There, band leader and cultural agitator Foca organizes the annual Festival do Sol, an independent spot for new bands, taking place this year November 08-10th.
Most who see this band live tend to agree on two things. One: this is a a fun and energetic approach to instrumental music. Two: the smiling, gorgeous Ana Morena is the sweetest bassist to ever grace a stage.
Grindcore, anyone? TEST is a guitar/drum duo from the outskirts of São Paulo, known for parking their white kombi (as in: the iconic minivan that Volkswagen just decided to discontinue) outside venues, festival entrances, or just the street, and playing as loud as they can.
Formed in 2010 by drummer Barata and guitarist and vocalist João Kombi, TEST is a furious and extremely agile band, and were able to play the last three editions of São Paulo’s annual Virada Cultural without waiting for an official invitation. They just plugged in their equipment to any power source they could find.
They released a crowd-funded album last year: Árabe Macabre is around 20 minutes long and is freely distributed. They asked for R$50 and got around a thousand reais – not bad. Check it out here.
Festival Novas Frequências – Rio de Janeiro
In Rio this November, the Festival Novas Frequências will be showcasing some Brazilian and international acts during the event, which focuses on electronic and audio-visual experiences.
Curated by DJ/producer Chico Dub, this is the festival’s third edition, with fourteen acts and a debating program in partnership with the British Council called Talking Sounds. Although there is fun to be had, Novas Frequências is not a hands in the air electronic festival. This is serious stuff, often contemplative and introspective music.
The local highlight is Babe,Terror – Paulistano Claudio Szynkier’s stage name. A master of sound collages, he’s built a small amount of hype after releasing a single through British indie music label Phantasy. His introspective and melancholic sonic experiments got compliments from the Guardian, putting a bit of attention on this never-easy-listening ‘headphone music.’
Another weird one man on band on display at the festival is GIMU, from Espírito Santo state, who works sculpting surprising sonic ‘doom’ experience. Luckily the Festival takes place in an auditorium, since this music is best appreciated with eyes closed, in a comfortable chair.
Also not to miss is São Paulo Underground (pictured above), a São Paulo-Chicago trio that brings jazz close to Brazil’s experimental avant-garde scene. They’re the closing act at the festival: December 6th at the Oi Teatro.
*Gaía Passarelli, 36, born and raised in São Paulo, is a music reporter. Check out her page here. Photo courtesy of Novas Frequências, by Paulo Borgia