Well, my head has been left spinning by the wave of protests and mass mobilization over the last ten days or so, and it has seemed almost silly to be blogging about music with all these other things going on. At least the demonstration in Pernambuco happened relatively peacefully, with the police watching the demonstrations pass while wearing cute little carnations rather than cracking skulls and firing rubber bullets. I'm not inclined to use this blog as a platform for speechifying or deconstructing what's been happening, and there is plenty of material to digest around the interwebs anyway. But I will offer a word to the wise - don't believe *anything* you hear or see from Globo media (their insane monopoly of TV, radio stations, and newspapers) about what these demonstrations are all about or who these people are, because Globo is a an evil pathological organization with a reactionary, conservative agenda with roots in the military dictatorship. If you want news on the stuff happening in Brazil right now, turn anywhere but Globo and their affiliates. Independent coverage is out there (including a media cooperative NINJA which has provided live streaming), you just have to search for it.
But today is the vespers of São João, St.John's day, and celebration is mandatory. I would be amiss if I didn't post music to commemorate the day. I am mentally exhausted, though, so I will keep it this write-up brief...
This another entry in the great Poetas da Mata Norte series and one of two volumes devoted to the genre called ciranda. João Limoeira, of the city of Carpina, has been singing ciranda a long time. I have an LP of his recorded in the 1980s, courtesy of a lovely lass at a Nazaré radio station who was clearing out their vinyl (for shame!), and I must say that his new recording are much better. As I mentioned in a previous post, at that time he was using a lot of synthesizers (you know, it was the 80s after all). This record sounds much like a live performance would, except that it is divided into discrete compositions whereas on stage he would must likely just sing for an hour with hardly a break, just segueing one piece into the next. On the surface ciranda is a fairly repetitive music and you have to stay with it patiently to catch the micro-movements in its limited range of motion and tonal palette. Wordplay, boasting, paeans to nature, the sea, an homage to the King of Baião, Luiz Gonzaga, some brief diversions into social commentary, and celebration of the cultura popular of the Northeast region are all included in the lilting and rather beautiful melodies. Limoeiro brings a little bit of the rhythmic sense of embolada to Amarre O Bio, included in this sample below.
João Limoeiro performs regularly around the Mata Norte of Pernambuco so if you are ever there around this time of year, try and catch him. On this record he is accompanied by Roberto on trumpet and Galego on trombone, both natives of Nazaré da Mata who are also part of Siba's project Fuloresta - they may or may not perform with Limoeiro on any given night. He also has dancers on stage these days, and he has other CDs he has self-released since this one and you can buy them direct. He is also a singer-poet of maracatu de baque solto, although he took a break from it for a while. I promise to post some examples of that style next month.