Releases

Bixiga 70 • Quebra Cabeça

Release Date: 12/10/2018
Format: CD/LP+DL/DL
Cat-No: GBCD/LP 063

1. Quebra Cabeça (5:02)
2. Ilha Vizinha (5:48)
3. Pedra de Raio (5:34)
4. 4 Cantos (5:26)
5. Areia (3:40)
6. Ladeira (3:56)
7. Levante (5:14)
8. Primeiramente (4:27)
9. Torre (4:17)
10. Camelo (5:36)
11. Portal (5:58)

São Paulo’s acclaimed 10-piece instrumental collective return for their 4th album. Urban Afro-Brazilian grooves, empowered horn-driven melodicism and massive dance floor inspiration.  One of South America’s most exhilarating musical propositions.

Almost four centuries after the first slave ships loaded their cargoes and set sail, the connection between Brazil and West Africa remains firm and deep. It was African slaves who created the culture of Brazil in all its sorrows and its joys, and those memories have flowed down through the generations. Africa is everywhere in Brazil, and it pulses through the music on Quebra Cabeça (Puzzle), Bixiga 70’s second studio album for Glitterbeat, where two continents dance together across the black Atlantic.

“From the very beginning, what we have always had in common is African-Brazilian music,” explains baritone sax player and flautist Cuca Ferreira. ‘Some of us come from candomblé (the African-Caribbean religion), others from jazz, reggae, dub, everything. The whole idea of the band has been to take all these different elements that form us, from Africa and Brazil, and create a hybrid from them.”

With Quebra Cabeça, that hybrid has taken on a slightly different form. As Ferreira notes, this time Bixiga 70’s music “is more complex. We worked harder on the compositions than in the past, spent more time on them. Each song has a lot of different parts, they can seem like a journey.”

That’s apparent in the shifts and turns of a piece like “Pedra De Raio” or “Levante,” where the melody shifts and swerves, one section flowing naturally into the next, adding layer upon layer to create something astonishing and utterly satisfying in its power. In large part, this change has come from the band’s relentless touring over the last few years.

“We’ve been exposed to so much,” Ferreira notes. “So many of the people we’ve played with have had an impact on us, like Pat Thomas, the Ghanaian highlife singer or [Nigerian saxophonist] Orlando Julius. And then we toured and recorded with João Donato. He’s over 80 now and still playing piano, one of the icons of Brazilian music. We’ve learned from them all, they’ve made us think about what we can do with our music. Those new ideas have found their way into this album.”

One result is the new, shining lyricism of the melodies, with the horns pushed even more to the fore, parading around with a singer’s swagger.

“We want people to relate to our melodies, to take the line a vocalist might use and play it on the horns. Sometimes in instrumental music, the players are so good it ends up putting the listener at a distance. We make music as a celebration, a way to connect and bring some joy. We want to draw them in. We try to write something very memorable.”

And Quebra Cabeça is a very memorable set of hummable earworms, from the title cut that opens up the album and continuing, sinewy and cool and relentless, all the way to the final note of “Portal.”

Throughout though, the heartbeat of everything remains utterly African, refracted through the prism of the band’s home in the Bixiga neighbourhood of São Paulo. “What we put on top of that is essentially urban São Paulo music. This city has been a huge influence on us. It has that sense of urgency, always running to catch up. It’s expensive, and services are awful, with so much pollution and violence. But it’s our home and it was developed through immigration. Bixiga is where people come first of all. It’s always had that influx; it’s the story of São Paulo in miniature.”

And Bixiga 70 has always been a reflection of the streets where they live. The band played their first show in October 2010 and released their debut album a year later. Eight years on they are still the same 10-piece collective, honing and shaping the music, evolving towards the changes found on Quebra Cabeça.

“We knew we wanted this record to be different. Our other three albums were all recorded live in the studio, because we’re more of a live band, the stage is our habitat. This time we decided to use the studio to experiment with arrangements and voicings. We began composing in early 2017. It took us a year to write everything, then we began recording in May this year. And for the first time we used a co-producer, Gustavo Lenza (Céu, Marisa Monte). He was a friend even before we formed the band, but it recent years he’s become a very big producer in Brazil.”

The result still captures the incendiary excitement of Bixiga 70 live, but the freedom of the studio brings more shade and subtlety than before. The rhythms are more sinuous than ever, snaking through the funk in way that looks more to Ghana or Nigeria than Memphis or Muscle Shoals, while the horns strut in powerful harmonies. It’s music that forges connections and retraces history while sounding absolutely contemporary. But for Bixiga 70, African will always be the root, and Brazil its beautiful, vibrant flower.

 

Bixiga 70:
Chris Scabello: guitar
Cuca Ferreira: baritone sax, flute
Daniel Gralha: trumpet
Décio 7: drums
Daniel Nogueira: tenor sax
Douglas Antunes: trombone
Marcelo Dworecki: bass
Maurício Fleury: keyboards, guitar
Rômulo Nardes: percussion

 

Bixiga 70 • The Copan Connection: Bixiga 70 Meets Victor Rice

Release Date: 06/04/2016
Format: LP+DL/DL
Cat-No: GBLP 032

SIDE A:
01. 100% Dub
02. Mil Vidas Dub
03. Machado Dub

SIDE B:
01. Jimmy Dub
02. Lembe Dub
03. Niran Dub
04. Ventania Dub

 

This is Bixiga 70, an instrumental dance band from Sao Paulo, Brazil known for their high energy and mix of styles. They combine American funk, Colombian cumbia and Nigerian afrobeat, and it’s made them really popular around the world. —Banning Eyre, NPR

Hot on the heels of their highly acclaimed Glitterbeat album “III” — an album The Guardian called “imaginative, progressive afrobeat”– Bixiga 70 returns with a limited-edition, vinyl-only release for Record Store Day: The Copan Connection: Bixiga 70 meets Victor Rice.

Whereas “III” was a highly contemporary take on the Afro-Brazilian, “Black Atlantic” musical conversation, The Copan Connection looks northward from Brazil to Jamaica, and embraces the repeat-echo history of dub music as its inspiration. On the album, Bixiga 70 producer Victor Rice applies shimmering, kaleidoscopic dub reinventions to tracks from “III” and the results are jaw dropping and ear opening. Rarely has the full arsenal of dub techniques and philosophies been applied to music that isn’t reggae, and while dub and Afro-Brazilian stylings do not immediately connect in one’s mind, once the album is heard pumping out of the speakers it is clear that this is both a natural fit and a ground-breaking idea.

The music swells, ebbs, flows, deconstructs and then blissfully reconnects in completely unexpected ways. The result is not a mere companion piece to “III” but a completely new, stand-alone sonic experience.

The dubmaster on The Copan Connection, Victor Rice is a transplanted New Yorker, now residing in Sao Paulo. His contribution to the Brazilian music scene in the last years has been massive. Besides Bixiga 70, Rice’s production skills have been sought out by a who’s-who of established and emerging Brazilian artists including the legendary Elza Soares and the recent Latin Grammy winner Tulipa Ruiz. But Victor’s discography is also chock-full of reggae, ska and dub productions including a contribution to the dubbed out, Pink Floyd remake album “Dubber Side of the Moon.” He is no dub dilettante that’s for sure. He works his magic in an old skool, King Tubby style, on a mixing board, with just a couple of effects and an abundance of inspiration and ideas.

Rice’s studio sits high above the megalopolis of Sao Paulo, in the famed Copan building, a classic of modernist architecture. His mixing board is pushed against a window and looking out one gets the sense they are floating above the beautiful madness of the city. It is a surreal setting perfect for the creation of shape-shifting, surreal sounds.

The Copan Connection: Bixiga 70 meets Victor Rice is a summit of equals. It is the music of a sensational band meeting the soundworld of a sensational producer. It pushes Afro- Brazilian music into a mind-blowing, alternate dimension.

×

 

Bixiga 70 • III

Release Date: 11/09/2015
Format: CD/LP+DL/DL
Cat-No: GBCD/LP 026

01. Ventania
02. Niran
03. 100% 13
04. Di Dancer
05. Machado
06. Martelo
07. Lembe
08. Mil Vidas
09. 7 Pancadas

“The energy and intelligence of the playing are irresistible.” – The Guardian

“A 10-piece orchestra heavy in percussion and horns playing extended jams that always threaten to tear the roof off.” – Sounds and Colours

Five years after their inception, the Sao Paulo based Brazilian group Bixiga 70 continues to travel musically forward, only to find themselves more and more at home.

The band’s aptly named third album, “III”, is a luminescent and energized admixture of Atlantic cultures. The album’s hyper-contemporary dialogue journeys between the sounds and rhythms of Brazil and Africa, and between the band’s ten musicians and their distinctive musical identities. Their collective influences include jazz, funk and Afro-Brazilian music, and stretch further afield into dub and reggae, electronics, cumbia and carimbó, ethio-jazz and samba.

Bixiga 70’s “III” is a breathtaking rhythmic storm where inspired solos, harmony and dynamics, beats and improvisation all mesh together in vital and unpredictable ways. Spanning between a joyous danceability, a sharp sense of humor and committed political reflections, the life-blood of this ten-piece unit is instrumental music, but it is an instrumental music that speaks profoundly.

Self-produced by the band in their own studio in Sao Paulo (and mixed by Victor Rice) all the compositions on “III” are written and arranged by the entire Bixiga 70 collective. There are no liner note details: the process of creation is decentralized and acknowledges the importance of each musician in the room. The album was recorded live in the studio to further assure the depth of this collaborative spirit and to accentuate the intensity of the band’s sonic experiments.

Following the global attention garnered by their previous album 2014’s “Ocupai” (Mais um Discos), Bixiga 70 headed out into the world. Their musical travels to Europe, the USA and Morocco, as well as the many varied regions of Brazil (including the streets of Bixiga) have all left a deep mark on the sounds and visions of the new album

Throughout the nine tracks found on “III”, styles merge and original syncretisms come to life. The album shape shifts contemporary afro-funk, Moroccan cumbia, spiritual jazz, adapted afro-brazilian chants, Cuban blaxploitation, sounds from São Paulo’s Black Rio movement, Arabian dub, Malinké drumming, Angolan guitar music and traditional bamboo fife bands.

There is no doubt that Bixiga 70 is one of the guiding voices of Brazil’s contemporary instrumental music scene and their new album “III” clearly demonstrates why.

They are a band that deftly searches for untracked and thrilling musical spaces to occupy.

And most importantly, they are a band that succeeds in finding them.

 

The band:

Décio 7 – drums
Rômulo Nardes – percussion
Gustávo Cék – percussion
Marcelo Dworecki – bass
Mauricio Fleury – keyboards & guitar
Cris Scabello – guitar
Cuca Ferreira – baritone sax
Douglas Antunes – trombone
Daniel Nogueira – tenor sax
Daniel Gralha – trumpet

Bixiga 70

 

São Paulo’s acclaimed 10-piece instrumental collective return for their 4th album. Urban Afro-Brazilian grooves, empowered horn-driven melodicism and massive dance floor inspiration. One of South America’s most exhilarating musical propositions.

Almost four centuries after the first slave ships loaded their cargoes and set sail, the connection between Brazil and West Africa remains firm and deep. It was African slaves who created the culture of Brazil in all its sorrows and its joys, and those memories have flowed down through the generations. Africa is everywhere in Brazil, and it pulses through the music on Quebra Cabeça (Puzzle), Bixiga 70’s second studio album for Glitterbeat, where two continents dance together across the black Atlantic.

“From the very beginning, what we have always had in common is African-Brazilian music,” explains baritone sax player and flautist Cuca Ferreira. ‘Some of us come from candomblé (the African-Caribbean religion), others from jazz, reggae, dub, everything. The whole idea of the band has been to take all these different elements that form us, from Africa and Brazil, and create a hybrid from them.”

With Quebra Cabeça, that hybrid has taken on a slightly different form. As Ferreira notes, this time Bixiga 70’s music “is more complex. We worked harder on the compositions than in the past, spent more time on them. Each song has a lot of different parts, they can seem like a journey.”

That’s apparent in the shifts and turns of a piece like “Pedra De Raio” or “Levante,” where the melody shifts and swerves, one section flowing naturally into the next, adding layer upon layer to create something astonishing and utterly satisfying in its power. In large part, this change has come from the band’s relentless touring over the last few years.

“We’ve been exposed to so much,” Ferreira notes. “So many of the people we’ve played with have had an impact on us, like Pat Thomas, the Ghanaian highlife singer or [Nigerian saxophonist] Orlando Julius. And then we toured and recorded with João Donato. He’s over 80 now and still playing piano, one of the icons of Brazilian music. We’ve learned from them all, they’ve made us think about what we can do with our music. Those new ideas have found their way into this album.”

One result is the new, shining lyricism of the melodies, with the horns pushed even more to the fore, parading around with a singer’s swagger.

“We want people to relate to our melodies, to take the line a vocalist might use and play it on the horns. Sometimes in instrumental music, the players are so good it ends up putting the listener at a distance. We make music as a celebration, a way to connect and bring some joy. We want to draw them in. We try to write something very memorable.”

And Quebra Cabeça is a very memorable set of hummable earworms, from the title cut that opens up the album and continuing, sinewy and cool and relentless, all the way to the final note of “Portal.”

Throughout though, the heartbeat of everything remains utterly African, refracted through the prism of the band’s home in the Bixiga neighbourhood of São Paulo. “What we put on top of that is essentially urban São Paulo music. This city has been a huge influence on us. It has that sense of urgency, always running to catch up. It’s expensive, and services are awful, with so much pollution and violence. But it’s our home and it was developed through immigration. Bixiga is where people come first of all. It’s always had that influx; it’s the story of São Paulo in miniature.”

And Bixiga 70 has always been a reflection of the streets where they live. The band played their first show in October 2010 and released their debut album a year later. Eight years on they are still the same 10-piece collective, honing and shaping the music, evolving towards the changes found on Quebra Cabeça.

“We knew we wanted this record to be different. Our other three albums were all recorded live in the studio, because we’re more of a live band, the stage is our habitat. This time we decided to use the studio to experiment with arrangements and voicings. We began composing in early 2017. It took us a year to write everything, then we began recording in May this year. And for the first time we used a co-producer, Gustavo Lenza (Céu, Marisa Monte). He was a friend even before we formed the band, but it recent years he’s become a very big producer in Brazil.”

The result still captures the incendiary excitement of Bixiga 70 live, but the freedom of the studio brings more shade and subtlety than before. The rhythms are more sinuous than ever, snaking through the funk in way that looks more to Ghana or Nigeria than Memphis or Muscle Shoals, while the horns strut in powerful harmonies. It’s music that forges connections and retraces history while sounding absolutely contemporary. But for Bixiga 70, African will always be the root, and Brazil its beautiful, vibrant flower.

Home page: http://www.bixiga70.com.br/english/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bixiga70