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Export ready brazilian metal August 20, 2010

Posted by Cesar in living me, thinking me.
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Planet Hemp, Raimundos and everything with the Cavalera brothers

I made some great friends here in St. John’s and, listening to their music, I went back to a style I thought was only part of my old music background, long gone from the mp3 player (jeez, mp3 players didn’t even exist back then) and not planning an encore. In other words, to make it simple, I have been listening to Hardcore and Thrash Metal a lot and I blame Willis and Coote for that. Yes, don’t deny it, it is your fault. Hehehe…

Anyway, while listening to Sepultura and No Ca$h, I started thinking about Brazilian Rock and derivatives. When you want to show a foreigner Brazilian music, it is very obvious to show Samba, Bossa Nova, Pagode, Forró. But Rock, Punk, Metal are not Brazilian rhythms. And while we do have good bands, if the only thing that makes them Brazilian are the lyrics, there’s nothing to show, really. Be that Rita Lee, Titãs, Cassia Eller or Garotos Podres, unless you get the lyrics they are like many others who sing in English, German, Japanese or whatever.

So I was searching for Brazilian Metal or Hardcore with a Brazilian melody, and not just lyrics. After all, this is something anyone can recognize as being different, as being from the land of Samba.

My first take on it was with Sepultura and Soulfly. Some of their work has a very tribal, native Brazilian or Samba-like sound, and that can be heard from the percussion to the use of the berimbau. You can’t listen to Attitude, Roots Bloody Roots, Tribe, Umbabarauma, and not notice the different rhythms.

I kept digging and stumbled onto Planet Hemp. True, they have a mild Metal influence and also draw inspiration from Hip Hop and Samba. But the mix is very Brazilian as well, which is interesting considering the heavy emphasis they put on the lyrics.

But I was not satisfied and continued exercising my music muscle (which reminds me of an old Virgin game, how many band references can you find here?) looking for Brazil sounding Rock. And much to my surprise I realized Raimundos is a very good example of it. While their music is not similar to Samba or tribal sounds, it has a very regional inspiration from the Northeast of Brazil and takes a lot from Forró. Everything from the percussion to the riffs and the vocals match the culture of the place. In a funny and dirty way, true, but it does.

Making this research (and populating my playlist!) was and is a very interesting experience, I’m curious to find out what Willis and Coote think of these bands. Anyway, it made me think about something obvious we sometimes forget: melody travels a lot easier than words, everyone understands music. Brazil has a strong musical culture, strong enough to break the boundaries of Samba and Bossa Nova and reach many other, seemingly unlikely, genres.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it when people ask me about Samba and Pelé. But it is great to hear people talk with admiration about Sepultura and Bob Burnquist.

See you space cowboys…

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