The Rough Guide To Brazilian Electronica: Macumbalada

(Photo by Ana Carmen)

The name of this act rings a bell if only for the Tropicalia classic Bat Macumba. You see the resemblance? But what's a macumba when it's at home? Well, in the Brazilian context in which we dwell, macumba refers to any religion or ritual of African descent, broadened to include anything even remotely witchcraft or arcane-superstition-related. So where does that fit into the popular music canon? Well, Bat Macumba, originally by the heroically beardy Gilberto Gil and later covered magnificently by Os Mutantes apparently twisted a very Brazilian definition into Western pop culture (an approach very much in keeping with the tenets of Tropicalia), referencing Batman in there (see what they did?).

What Macumbalada means though, I've no idea. Answers on a postcard. What it means here is a fairly cool chill-out-y electro track, the kind you can imagine yourself grooving to on a Copacabana evening, sipping a caiparinha under a beach umbrella. As you can tell, I've never been to Brazil, but this sort of fantasy continues to abide - from The Girl From Ipanema onwards, Brazil has always managed to keep political coups and abject poverty out of the headlines, maintaining an effortlessly cool image that tracks like this only propogate.

Information on Macumbalada is scarce-to-none, but they appear to be a DJ collective including one DJ Mystical. Alternate tracks are pretty hard to come by, so again you've got the song from the album - I'm going to try and post different songs by the same groups, else the canny amongst you could get the entire album for free, and that's not the point. Samba Do Morro seems to have done the rounds of several of this kind of compilation though, so I guess it's a good starting point.

Thanks to the joy of t'internet though, I'm happy to present a couple more tracks by DJ Mystical - the first is Buscando A Luz, originally from the City Of God soundtrack (which I still haven't watched, fool that I am), remixed by Mystical. The second is called The Silence Of The Wolves, and it's a remix of an O Discurso song by DJ Mystical and Dave Revival. These names mean little to me, but both tracks are a lot harder edged than the almost Ibiza-comedown stylings of Macumbalada, more like rough-edged drum'n'bass. Worth a listen, but I guess not really appropriate for inclusion on the Rough Guide cd - neither play all that much on the Brazilian thing, which Samba Do Morro's trumpet loops and subtle cool do.

Macumbalada - Samba Do Morro
DJ Mystical - Buscando A Luz (City Of God Remixed)
O Discurso - The Silence Of Wolves (DJ Mystical & Dave Revival Classic Sessions)

Bonus Track:
Os Mutantes - Bat Macumba

Buy the Rough Guide/Macumbalada/DJ Mystical/City Of God

Tags: ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;

1 comment:

FiL said...

I lived in Rio de Janeiro for a few years as a child and I can clearly remember the ad-hoc macumba shrines that would appear mysteriously around the streets. Some where quite eerie -slaughtered red roosters and candles symbolizing dark requests- while others, such as children's toys and soft drinks left as offerings, were rather touching.

I also remember attending an electrically charged torchlit ceremony one New Year's Eve on Copacabana beach where macumba priestesses in white danced possessed and a flower-festooned rowboat carrying a statue of the Iemanja, Goddess of the Sea, was pushed into the moonlit surf as a request for good favour during the year ahead.