Following on from that smashing Priscilla Ermel collection on Music From Memory, here are a few more things care of the South Americas that you might want to check……
In the second of their direct-to-disc series, Night Dreamer, capture the friendship between Brazilian singer / songwriters Seu Jorge and Roge. The two of them picking up their acoustic guitars to run through intimate recordings of songs they’ve collaborated on over the last 25 years. Their words carried by gentle strum and Spanish dexterity. Ringing with bossa nova, MPB, and the samba of Rio’s favelas. The opening Savara recalls Jorge Ben`s Oba La Vem Ela. Percussion coming from Peu Meurray and Pretinho da Serrinha. Subtle shakers and a soft surdo heartbeat. While the slightly more “plugged-in” Onda Carioca throws in some classic Brazilian boogie.
The two spars share vocal duties throughout. Joined in chants and harmonies. Recorded and committed to vinyl in just 4 days, the album, its warm, good vibes, are summed up by the tune Pra Voce Amigo – For You, Friend.
Far Out Recordings focus on Cry Babies. Brazilian sessions from 1969 that mix covers of hits-of-the-day with original numbers. Reinterpretations of music made famous by artists from Little Richard to Santana. Busy big band arrangements that sock it to `em with blasts of camp `60s Batman brass. Biff, bang, pow, like an aural action painting. Easy-Listening library grooves for lava-lamped swinging bachelor pads and bikini beach parties. Taking their cues from US soul and funk. There`s a breakneck wigged-out go-go dancer take on Bumpy Blackwell`s Good Golly Miss Molly. The original, organ-led, composition, Hey Blood, sounds like a riff on Cream`s Sunshine Of Your Love. Kool & The Gang is more like James Brown. A severe case of ants in its pants. While It`s My Thing is less Marva Whitney and more the punk-funk of ESG – with its frantic fidget, and mad, reverbed vocal.
Across the border into Uruguay – a country heavily-influenced, culturally, by her larger neighbours, Brazil and Argentina – and on to the compilation, America Invertida – a collaboration between Vampi Soul and Little Butterfly Records. A selection that aims to do the same for Uruguay as John Gomez and Outro Tempo did for Brazil – i.e. shine a light on the avant-garde musical fusions that flourished in the land of the tango in the years directly following the fall of its military government. A change that saw the return of exiled musicians, uncensored radio broadcasts, and the import of records from all around the globe. The experiments encapsulated here also mark the arrival of the country’s first synthesizers and drum machines. Most notably on Hugo Jasa`s Y El Tiempo Pasa. Its chimes and chants driven by a DX-7.- offset by violin – so as to resemble something like Ryuichi Sakamoto`s Tibetan Dance. Estela Magnone and Jaime Roos chug in a more organic manner on Tras Tus Ojos. With Roos imitating reeds and wild life. Beat-boxing like a cross between Tom Ze and Mungo Jerry.
Another highlight is the Pat Metheny-esque Llamada Insolita, by La Escuelita. Featuring the virtuosity of Hugo Fattorusso on keys and Popo Romano on bass. Mariana Ingold – the star of a recent Left Ear Records retrospective – contributes to 2 tracks – her own Capitulos, plus adding her voice, and guitar, to the group harmonies of Travesia`s Ene Este Momento.
Lastly, Music On Vinyl have reissued Smoke City’s Flying Away. An album that transported Brazil to late 90s London. Took in her dancing, to Bar Rhumba in Piccadilly, The Blue Note in Hoxton. With You is a favourite of Manchester’s balearic Aficionado`s. While Underwater Love at the time was ubiquitous. Everywhere. Personally I played it to the point that I thought I could never play it again. But I dug it back out today, and remembered how special it sounded when I first heard it on Gilles Peterson`s Sunday evening KISS FM show. As a Sabres Of Paradise fan, it wasn’t a million miles away from Wilmott`s Last Skank. Hip hop meets Dub meets carnival in a hypnotic, stoned, voodoo fashion. I think Gilles sandwiched it between Sun Ra and PJ Harvey`s Down By The Water. This was back when he was opening the show with Vangelis` Let It Happen.