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.”
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, Africa will always be the root, and Brazil its vibrant flower.