Sunday, January 17, 2010

Digging in Brazil, Part 2: Samba da Preguiça Mix

The Ambassador - Samba da Preguiça Mix, January 2010
New mix from The Ambassador. All selections original and recently acquired by yours truly on my most recent trip to Brazil. Of particular note are the live-in-studio spots from Vinicius & Erasmo at the beginning and Paulinho da Viola at the end. This one and the Zeca do Trombone e Roberto Sax are the only records with more than one track featured. Enjoy!

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!

A Friend's Selling this Killer Painting SALSA LATIN FANIA

Click here to view the painting on eBay

My buddy needs to sell the painting and I'd like to see that he gets a good price for it seeing as he'd prefer not to sell it at all.

Here's some info from the listing on eBay:

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to own a unique original (and very beautiful) painting by Island Records UK in-house artist Tony Wright used for a UK-only release by the Fania All-Stars on Island Records in 1975.

The gorgeous 16" square painting depicts a 70s Spanish Harlem barrio street scene, complete with bodegas, tenement buildings and ghetto residents including the obligatory conguero with a big 'fro playing on a stoop in front of a building!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Prelude to a Return: Clara Nunes Videos

We got back from our Honeymoon on Sunday and I've been suffering from some form of airplane bug combined with jet lag ever since. I'm planning on ripping some of my recently acquired gems, but before I get to that I have to share with you this great DVD I picked up that's blowing my mind as I type this. It's not that it's particularly good, because it's not. But if your idea of Brazil is shaped by the images and sounds you digest by way of the Bossa Nova scene, Tropicalia movement or through the marquee MPB stars like Milton, Elis and Chico, then this video will give you a completely different view on Brazil.

Having just returned from there, I can concur that life is one way in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo and everywhere else life it's another. Watching videos of the Tropicalia gang doing their thing, you might think you were watching something from Europe, but in comparison this Clara Nunes DVD makes Brazil seem closer to the Third World than the Old World. The production value often resemble vintage Karaoke videos, but these O.G. singa-long clips from the 70s and early 80s were likely made outside of the two metropolises and they featured almost exclusively non-white Brazilians.

Then there's Clara herself who is clearly of mixed race and showcases her Candomble religion proudly often wearing a white dress and African beads. Her voice is powerful and mesmerizing. Oh and did I forget to mention she's simultaneously sexy and intimidating in a Amazon woman kind of way?

Nearly every Clara Nunes album is great as she was one of the most consistent Sambistas of the 70s revival era along with Martinho da Vila and Paulinho da Viola. According to she was responsible for breaking open the popular female samba singer role for other classic female samba singers such as Beth Caravalho and Alcione.

Check out this killer LIVE clip (sadly, not enough of these on the DVD) with Sivuca killing it on accordeon on this funky forró cut:
Clara Nunes with Sivuca - Feira de Mangaio

Here are two more great ones, but unfortunately I couldn't grab the embed code, so you have to watch 'em on youtube:


Morena de Angola