Friday, January 15, 2010

Digging in Brazil, Part 1

A little over a week ago I got back from a two week trip to Brazil. Actually, it was my honeymoon with my lovely wife Jamie. We traveled to São Paulo, Trancoso, Bahia and Rio de Janeiro and had a fantastic time in the warm weather and with good friends, old and new. My wife is very understanding of my vinyl affliction and as we were planning the trip she conceded that I should have an opportunity to do a little record shopping. We decided that while in São Paulo I would do my thang and that the rest of the trip would be relatively vinyl-free. So, I lined up two spots in SP and did some $$ damage.

I got some great items at both of these spots, some of which I'll definitely be sharing in the coming weeks, but for the most part I knew what I was looking for so I didn't take many chances on things that I hadn't previously listened to by way of collector friends or other blogs, etc. I did however have one opportunity for real "digging" in Rio when I chanced by a "Sebo" in Copacabana. It was beginning to rain and was threatening to pour when Jamie and I passed an open door to a used book store and upon a quick glance I saw a stack on vinyl in the main aisle and had to stop. While we had agreed that there would only be premeditated record shopping in São Paulo, my one addendum was that incidental record shopping would be permitted on a case-by-case basis. In this one instance, and there was only one the whole trip, I kinda just bull-dozed Jamie and told her that I would meet her back at our friend's apartment in 20 minutes . . . which turned into an hour at least. Even though I got dozens of great albums that I've been looking for forever at the other spots in SP, there's nothing like digging through a pile of dirty and unorganized records not sure what you're gonna find. After getting home to San Francisco and unpacking, cleaning and exploring my finds, its the records I got at this Sebo that I'm the most excited about because they're still brand new to me.

Today I have a few tracks from a generic Samba compilation called "Garra Brasileira" which translates as "Brazilian Claw", but that can't be right?!? Anyone else know a better translation for "Garra"? What's cool about this album is that it mixes classic samba songs from a top-notch group of studio players Conjunto Garra Brasileira (uncredited individually, of course) augmented by some wah-wah guitar and bleepy keyboards. I picked some of my favorite tracks that make the most of these seemingly incongruous sounds.

Conjunto Garra Brasileira - Eu Só Quero Um Xodó
This is an early version of this classic Dominguinhos Forró song done with the requisite accordeon and the addition of some quirky keyboards.

Ned Helena e Garra Brasileira - Tatuagem
This one is a mystery for several reasons, first of all is because I'm struggling to identify why I like it so much. Secondly, I'm not sure if this is a cover like most of the other tunes here or an original. And, lastly . . . who the hell is Ned Helena and why is she named "Ned". To attempt to answer the first mystery, I think it has a lot to do with the bleepy keyboards and the mellow organ groove. In full disclosure this is edited from a medley of which the second half sucks.

Conjunto Garra Brasileira - Mosca Na Sopa
A cool little version (also edited out of an otherwise crappy medley) of the Raul Seixas tune.

Djavan e Conjunto Garra Brasileira - Porta Aberta
Here we have Djavan doing his thing at least a year before he broke out on his own with his first LP. This is another great example of Wah-Wah Samba.

More Brazilian goodies coming up soon, so stay tuned!


Ulysses Dutra said...

Very cool songs!

A better translation for Garra would be Strenght, Brazilian Strenght.

Thanks for share

Josh Nice said...

The pic of the guy digging an LP out of the ground reminds me of a true-life story in RJ, when I found a copy of "Chico e Caetano: Juntos e ao Vivo" half-buried in the dirt next to a tree along the road. I took it home and washed it and still listen to it all the time. The streets are paved with gold.

Carlos said...

The cut with Djavan alone makes this a nice fine IMHO. Never heard anything from him prior to his first LP. Cool.k

Adam said...

Garra can be used to describe the dexterity of a wild cat, like a leopard. Think "touch," though Ulysses is right as well.

albumz said...

What are some of the places you hit while in Sao Paulo?