Novos Sons E Tradicoes Mudernizadas - Eta Carinae
No doubt we all have a musical Mecca we hope to someday visit (or several). Pernambuco, a state in the Northeast region of Brazil is high on my list. Not only does it seem like a magical place, with an equatorial climate and miles of beaches, it’s an incubator for some of the most ground-breaking music anywhere. Brazilians are particularly adept at assimilating North American idioms like rock, funk, soul and psychedelic; passing them through their own cultural filter. In the early 90s, the capital of Pernambuco, Recife gave birth to the mangue beat, a name derived from the mangrove marshes that add to the topographical diversity of the area. At the centre of the mangue beat was the late Chico Science and his band Nacao Zumbi who developed a hybrid of modern music elements and local, indigenous rhythms like maracatu and embolada to pioneer a new musical movement. Helping them along the way was a handful of talented artists who share their aesthetic, among them, singer/guitarist, Dirceu Melo. Today, he fronts the dynamic Pernambuco combo, Eta Carinae (named for the brightest star in the Milky Way). With Catarina Rosa providing additional vocals and percussion, Sanzyo Dub on acoustic drums sampled sounds and Rapha Groove on bass, they’ve released their second album, Novos sons e tradicoes mudernizadas or ‘New sounds and updated traditions’. You gotta like that kind of truth in advertising! The disc delivers beautifully on both counts. Despite an abundance of digital gadgetry and tripped out vibes, there remains at the core, a very organic feel to Eta Carinae’s sound. Combining both retro and fashion-forward electronic textures, the band builds their compositions on regional rhythms like baiào, forró and samba. Eta Carinae’s music plays on western ears like starlight to the eyes; emanating from a distance, but nonetheless welcoming.