Category: Brazilian music


When he first emerged as a singer, Roberto Carlos was nicknamed the Elvis Presley of Brazil. Fifty years later,  he is more often described as “the Frank Sinatra of Latin America”. No Latin American has sold more records than Roberto Carlos, who  performed on Friday and Saturday night at Radio City Music Hall, part of a North American tour that wraps up a year’s worth of events commemorating half a century as a recording artist.  He is considered one of the most influential artists in Brazil during the 1960s, being cited as a source of inspiration by many artists and bands up to the 1980s. Roberto Carlos left Jovem Guarda in 1968, changing direction to appeal to a wider audience. Moving to romantic ballads,  he became an international star, gaining popularity, awards and breaking musical sales records. During the 1970s, he was also a regular performer on both Brazilian and international television variety shows. He is known to every Brazilian simply as “the King”.

We have already talked about “capoeira” on this blog (an Afro-Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts, music and dance). It’s very popular in the Northeast of Brazil, where it can often be seen on the streets of Bahia.

If you are interested to learn more about it, you may be excited to hear of a new Brazilian movie that has just been released called “Besouro” (Beetle in English). The story is set in Bahia in the 1920s, and is based on a legendary capoeira fighter called Besouro, who uses his skills to fight the harsh conditions which the black population in Brazil had to face even after the abolition of slavery. Besides showing part of Brazil’s history, the movie also presents some strong elements of the Brazilian culture, such as Candomblé – an Afro-Brazilian religion that uses the power of different saints to help people to achieve their goals.

Apparently, the production has cost millions of dollars and counts with the action director Huan-Chi Ku (from Kill Bill and Matrix). The soundtrack is one of the best features of the film, with important national bands, such as Mestre Ambrósio, S/A, Nação Zumbi, Eddie, Otto and Junio Barreto.

The film was directed by João Daniel Tikhomiroff, a veteran in the world of advertising who makes his directorial debut with “Besouro”.

Curious to know more? Then have a look at the trailer below:

capoeira

Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian art form that combines elements of martial arts, games, music and dance. It was created in Brazil by slaves brought from Africa, especially from present day Angola some time after the 16th century. It was developed in the region of Quilombo dos Palmares, located in the actual Brazilian state of Alagoas, and has great influence on the Afro-Brazilian generations, with strong presence at the present day states of Bahia, Pernambuco and Rio de Janeiro.

Participants form a circle and take turns playing musical instruments (such as the Berimbau), singing, or ritually sparring in pairs in the center of the circle. The sparring is marked by fluid acrobatic play, feints, and extensive use of sweeps, kicks, and headbutts.capoeiraslaves

Over the last three decades, capoeira has spread itself throughout the whole world, especially in the U.S. It all began when capoeira masters started to immigrate to North-American cities like New York.

Speaking of it, New York Daily News has just posted an article describing a capoeira group created by Brazilians in NYC as the new Brooklyn craze:

“There is the music, heavy on drums and the plaintive timbre of the berimbau, an instrument that looks like a longbow with a gourd attached. Music is the foundation for each workout. And there is the movement – a seamless string of hand stands, kicks, blocks, forward and back rolls, following one after the other in high-energy, acrobatic dance.

Hardened heels slice the air inches over a just ducked head. Foreheads dart in to lightly touch chests, playfully warning of the damage a head butt would have inflicted if violence had been its intent.

Roda_de_capoeira2It all looks so easy as the couple cavort around their Capoeira Brooklyn studio in Park Slope.

‘It is easy, once you learn’, Costas said. ‘Your body has to take time to adjust to the art.’

Right. Try doing a hand stand, dear reader. Then roll out of that and execute a leg sweep that takes your opponent to his or her knees.”

Well, it takes indeed a little bit of flexibility! Click here to see the full article published in the New York Daily News website.