After the mangue explosion of the ‘90s, the music scene in Recife calmed down just a little. But today, the capital of the Brazilian state of Pernambuco is still full of talented and adventurous artists: both veterans of the mangue era and younger, but equally experimental musicians. As part of “Crabs with Brains,” we take a look at the new sound of Recife. Here’s a list of some of the best new music coming from the city of Chico Science:
Karina Buhr began her career in early ‘90s, playing in maracatu groups, including the famed Estrela Brilhante. In 1997, she formed Comadre Fulozinha, a group that played traditional rhythms of the Northeast, like ciranda and côco. In addition to an acting career with the Teatro Oficina in São Paulo, in recent years, Karina has released two solo albums that have largely shifted from her traditional origins to a poetic and playfully experimental pop style.
Combo X was formed by Gilmar Bollo 8 of Nação Zumbi, and the group dedicated their debut EP A Ponte to the memory of Gilmar’s former bandmate Chico Science. Combo X mixes hip-hop with a unique instrumental arrangement that features trombone playing with traditional drumming on alfaias, timbais, caixa de bateria, abe and gonguês.
A new band from Recife, Tagore is much more indebted to an earlier period of Recife music history than mangue: the ‘70s psych rock movement in Brazil’s northeast. Their debut album Movido a Vapor is one of the most enjoyable and exciting albums to come from Recife in recent years. Check out the premiere of their new track “Amor Pesado” and a video playlist of ’70s Pernambucan psych, put together by their lead singer, Suassuna.
Zé Brown started his career during the mangue years, as part of the rap collective Faces do Subúrbio. Zé became ingrained in the tradition of embolada, the street poetry of northeastern Brazil that shares a great deal of similarity with hip-hop. He combines the two styles on his solo album Repente, Rap, Repente.
Like Tagore, Feiticeiro Julião is another of Recife’s great new psychedelic bands, though Feiticeiro Julião has a more mystical aura about them–feiticeiro is Portuguese for “wizard.” Musically, the band combines Northeastern styles with prog rock. The video for their song “Barra” features band members, covered in face paint, wading through the mangroves that give mangue its name.
Jam da Silva
Jam da Silva uses traditional percussion instruments like the cuíca and berimbau, along with sounds he collects in his everyday life. He arranges these elements into funky, laid-back, yet experimental pop grooves.
Zulumbi is led by Lúcio Maia of Nação Zumbi and Rodrigo Brandão, who was chosen by Afrika Bambaataa as the official MC of the Zulu Nation in Brazil. Like both of those collectives, Zulumbi supports a conscious message with supremely funky good vibes.
Cinval Coco Grude
During the mangue years, Cinval Cadena, as he was then known, formed the excellently named group Querosene Jacaré (Kerosene Alligator). Like his mangue compatriots, Cinval’s influences range from the traditional–frevo, côco, baião, maracatu–to the more modern, with an emphasis on James Brown-era heavy funk. Over the years, the prolific Cinval has released some 27 albums.