Jim Carroll

Music, Life and everything else

On The Record na estrada em Brasil – parte uma

Taking off from Sao Paulo’s Congonhas airport is one hell of an adrenalin rush as you wonder if you’ll actually scrape the buildings which surround the runway. Of course, it doesn’t help when one of your travelling companions points out …

Tue, Aug 19, 2008, 04:54

   

Taking off from Sao Paulo’s Congonhas airport is one hell of an adrenalin rush as you wonder if you’ll actually scrape the buildings which surround the runway. Of course, it doesn’t help when one of your travelling companions points out the site of that plane crash from last year.

There is a Brazilian take on those Irish PRs with their penchant for lovely girls pics. Around Sao Paulo, you’ll notice people standing around near traffic lights holding banners advertising cars and mobile phones. When the lights go red, they step in front of the cars and give the banners a twirl, while others hand out leaflets to motorists. I reckon you’ll be seeing them at the Red Cow by this time next year.

The canvasing has begun in earnest for October’s local elections here. In Porto Alegre, the panel was chaired by a local Partido Trabalhista Brasileiro councillor who is a dab hand at the aul’ glad-handing – he made sure he had his grand-daughter in his arms when he was giving the farewell speech and he was probably in more photos than Willie O’Dea can muster on an average weekend out and about in Limerick – while there are souped-up boy racers vroom-vrooming around the streets of Belo Horizonte with speaker stacks on the roofs of their car plugging their candidates over booming hip-hop.

Yes, there has been music too and a couple of acts deserve a mention in the despatches. Like Gilberto Monteiro, the swashbuckling Jimi Hendrix of the squeezebox who wowed us all in a restaurant in Porto Alegre. This giant of a man with hams for hands (you wouldn’t mess with him – he kept glaring at the sound engineer who looked fairly worried by it all) made the accordian sound like the accordian has never sounded before.

Then, there was Expresso 25, a 46-strong choir singing classics by Caetano Veloso, Milton Nascimento, Tom Jobim and many more. They’re the kind of act you could imagine going down a storm at a festival like, oh, the Festival of World Cultures or the Farmleigh Affair.

In BH, it was the awesome Pleiades who led the way. Four kids (the guitarist is 12, the singer and bassist are 15 and the drummer is an aul’ fella of 18) doing the metal thing with dash and colour and bravado and gung-ho. They’ve already got loads of props for making the Top 10 of a BBC Next Big Thing competition and they’re the kind of band who, if they’re still together in three years time, will probably be world-beaters.

My favourite act of the 50 or so I’ve seen so far are Músicas Intermináveis para Viagem (“endless music for tripping”). A girl called Laura and a boy called Dudu, guitar and drums, instrumental sorcery and euphoric sonic bliss bringing acts like Pivot, Battles, Our Brother The Native and Explosions In The Sky to mind. They’re touring Europe in the next couple of months with dates already booked in Lisbon, Bologna, Barcelona and Berlin. Note to Foggy, Umack, Skinny Wolves and Forever Presents: they have your contacts, dudes. Here’s the video for “Caixa Preta”

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