Whoever thinks Rio’s music scene is just about bossa nova, samba and funk carioca couldn’t be more wrong: the city’s repertoire goes way beyond acoustic guitars, tambourines and batidões. A few Saturdays ago, on July 28th, this diversity was on display at Circo Voador, one of the more eclectic venues in Rio de Janeiro and one of the best places to see some of the biggest names in Brazilian music). The “couple-band” Letuce and young phenom named Cícero were on the bill.
Letuce and Cicero are two of the biggest exponents on the new carioca music scene, breaking the stereotypes of Brazilian music. Their brand of music can be described as “chilled” indie-rock and it lacks strong percussion. Still, their music is undeniably Brazilian in the way that they both carry themselves and represent, with their unique ways, contemporary Brazilian music.
(Letuce plays ‘Medo de Baleia’)
At Circo Voador, the always charismatic singer Letuce was the first to set foot on stage, with her husband Lucas Vasconcelo at her side, as well as Thomas Hares and Fábio Lima. The band played an excellent set from their two albums, Plano de Fuga Para Cima dos Outros E De Mim and Manja Perene. Their eclectic style is hard to pin down to one specific genre. At moments their spontaneous and silly brand of rock connects naturally with elements of funk (as seen on ‘Loteria’) and the visceral cover of a pagode classic ‘Eu e Ela’, originally released by the group Kiloucura. At other times their music is seamlessly contrasted with songs like the samba “Dia de Carnaval.”
While Letuce chooses at times to incorporate elements of folk music to her compositions, bringing samba and pagode into the mix as well, Cícero, on the other hand, leans towards bossa nova, including the cliché of performing with a “stool and guitar,” just like João Gilberto used to do . The young musician’s timid way is completely opposed to the explosive presence of Letícia on-stage, but seemed to captivate the audience just as much (or even more).
(Cícero plays ‘Pelo Interfone’)
Truth to be said, Cícero is a product of internet hype and arrived at the venue with the crowd already on his side. His songs, like “Tempo de Pipa” and “João e O Pé de Feijão“, for instance, are very intimate, with simple arrangements and rather melancholic lyrics, that translate very well the place that inspired them: his first apartment out of his parents home, a studio flat in the Botafogo neighborhood (South Side of Rio). It was there he composed his first album Canções de Apartamento (2011), which was released online. On one of the album’s songs, “Pelo Interfone,” he quotes Tom Jobim, and in another, “Vagalumes Cegos”, Caetano Veloso. It sounds as if he was searching for support in these great names, though the repertoire shows a closer synergy with the musical productions of Marcelo Camelo (former Los Hermanos). His back-up band, Rodrigo Abud (bass), Ricardo Gameiro (electric guitar), Paulo Marinho (drums) and Bruno Schulz (piano, mellotron and tambourines) balked at times, but nothing to disrupt the inebriated public from their internet idol.