Thursday, June 24, 2010

Homenagem Musical ao Futebol Brasileiro

Homenagem Musical ao Futebol Brasileiro - The Ambassador

Welcome back people! Sorry for the absence here on Soul Spectrum. There's been a lot happening back on the ranch that unfortunately nudged this fun diversion to the back burner for the past couple months. But as I've been getting caught up in the excitement of the World Cup I was galvanized last night to make a mix in honor of the first Brazil game I've been able to watch in this tournament. It was a good, close game with Brazil's colonial rivals that just ended in a 0-0 draw, but the shelf-life of this mix will last at least into the next round, if not longer. I'm of course cheering for the USA, but last time I checked there aren't too many songs about American soccer, or at least not yet.

Brazil, on the other hand, has a passionate and enduring love affair with the sport that borderlines insanity, especially around any big tournament. I remember being in Sao Paulo during an American's Cup in a relatively sleepy artsy neighborhood in a 5th floor apartment with the windows open and every time Brazil scored (or almost scored) you could hear cheers, screams, fireworks erupting from every direction throughout the city. I'm sure you can find a Brazilian that doesn't give a damn about Futebol, but your odds are about as good as finding an actual North Korean fan cheering on the Axis of Evil's lone World Cup contending team.

Brazilian soccer and music have a very special relationship as you'll hear from the selections in this mix. I'm going to be so bold as to ignorantly proclaim that Brazil has more popular songs about the sport than any other nation. As such, it's no surprise that you'll see Brazilian music stars on the pitch in uniform, sporting their team colors, marrying famous soccer stars or singing about their favorite team. Samba's diva supreme, Elza Soares, married Garrincha, a player as famous as Pele within Brazil for his leadership and dominance in the 1958 and 1962 Brazilian World Cup victories. FIFA claims that he is the second best player in the history of the game, following Pele. On the back of this 1970s Elza Soares LP you can see Elza, Garrincha and their baby.

I'm certain my selections on this mix are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Brazilian soccer anthems, but I'm pretty content with it for a spontaneous mix made last night. If any of you know of any other great tunes, please let me know in the comments. Seeing Chico Buarque in his jersey here makes me want to scour his LPs for some hidden soccer homages buried in his deep catalog.

Jorge Ben, on the other hand is solidly represent in this 20-song mix with two of his own recordings ("Sem Essa no. 5" & "Camisa 10 de Gavea"), both Wilson Simonal tunes were composed by Ben and my most recent acquisition brings us the killer version of Ben's futebol classic "Fio Maravilha". And I left off the obvious selection "Ponta de Lança Africano - Umbabarauma" because I figure most of you already know that one. Jorge Ben's club team is Flamengo as you can see by the red & black emblem on his guitar.

The greatest player of all time teamed up with Sergio Mendes in the late-seventies for a documentary about himself. I can't speak to the quality of the film and the soundtrack is easily the worst Sergio album of his first two decades, but the soundtrack cover is possibly the best image capturing the intersection of Brazil's obsession with music and futebol. I did include a funky percussion groove from the soundtrack, the best moment from my opinion.

At the same time as this Sergio "solo" soundtrack project he did a fantastic album with the "New Brazil '77" featuring a couple exclusive Stevie Wonder compositions and the funky dancer "Mozambique" but it's also notable for having Pele making a cameo on the back cover as the doctor attempting to repair Sergio's band of wounded and dirty soccer players.

In Brazil even hippies like soccer as evidenced by Novos Baianos' third album and this clip. "F.C." means Futebol Club and by looking at their colors, they might be Flamengo fans as well. I love how Moraes Moreira just wanders off the practice pitch mid-game to sing a song and slowly but surely the rest of his team/band joins him:

Here's the track-list with some notes:

1. Ritmo de Abertura - Explosao de Samba
(I'm not sure who the band is here, but I've always loved crazy samba mixed with electronics)
2. Praia e Sol - Bebeto
(Bebeto, the poor man's Jorge Ben which is not so poor given Ben's musical wealth, sure has his priorities figured out: Beach, Sun, Girls, Soccer. Nuff said.)
3. Soccer Game - Eumir Deodato e os Caterdraticos '73
(A cool little instrumental from one of Brazil's most famous musical expats - this one was recorded in Brazil around the same time as his mega-hit remake of the theme to 2001)
4. Paz e Futebol - Marcos Valle
(the first of two appearances from Marcos Valle, this one from his Garra album - dig the outro scatting)
5. Pais Tropical - Wilson Simonal
(a classic Jorge Ben tune in the definitive version by Simonal. Nobody does a nationalistic pop-samba quite like Simonal. The soccer reference is "Sou Flamengo e tenho uma nega chamada Tereza", which means "I'm Flamengo and I have a black chick called Tereza"
6. Flamengo - Tim Maia
(A rare Tim Maia instrumental also praising the Rio team Flamengo)
7. Aquele Abraço - Osvaldo Nunes
(this is a new aquisition, a single-only version of the Gilberto Gil classic that also has a Flamengo reference: "Aia, torcida do Flamengo - aquele abraaco!")
8. O Samba da Minha Terra - Novos Baianos
(From the Novos Baianos album "Novos Baianos F.C." this is more of a tribute to Bahia, but it's killer and can be interpreted as generally patriotic.)
9. Sem Essa no. 5 - Jorge Ben
(there's a soccer reference in this Jorge Ben rarity, not found on any albums of his, but just on a label compilation from the early 70s)
10. Brasil, Eu Fico - Wilson Simonal
(another Jorge Ben nationalistic tune helmed by Simonal)
11. Fio Maravilha - Explosao do Samba
(love this version with the weird guitar and announcer effects)
12. Grito de Gol - Serginho Meriti
(a great tune about the "Scream of the Goal" by Samba-Soulster Serginho Meriti)
13. Se Meu Time Não Fosse o Campeão - MPB-4
(A late 70s tune from the MPB-4 about "if my team is not the champion")
14. Camisa 10 de Gavea - Jorge Ben
(A tribute to the guy wearing the number 10 jersey on Gavea's team, from the same album as "Ponta de Lança Africano - Umbabarauma", Africa-Brasil)
15. A Tristexa do Adeus (The Sadness of Goodbye) - Sergio Mendes
(Groovy instrumental from the Pelé soundtrack)
16. Maracana - Azymuth
(an instrumental tribute to the greatest Soccer stadium in the world)
17. Futebol de Bar - Cesar Mariano & Cia.
(an interesting piano ditty that turns into a stomping, funky groove for the song's outro)
18. Happy Brasilia - James Last
(the only non-Brazilian in the mix, this is a surprisingly authentic batucada jam from Germany's Herb Alpert)
19. Flamengo Até Morrer - Marcos Valle
(I considered putting this song in at spot #8 to have four Flamengo tunes in a row from four different princes of MPB, but the song fit better at the end of the mix. Find me a better love song to a soccer team, I dare you. "Flamengo until death.")
20. Aquarela Brasiliera - Nostalgia Electrônica Orchestra
(cheesy, yes, but it seemed a fitting nationalistic outro in a disco style from a weird album by keyboardist and arranger Daniel Salinas)