29 January 2007

Monday's mp3: Samba Reggae

Eduardo Mendonca of Show Brazil!Ah, samba. That irresistible beat, absorbed through your skin, evoking images of Carnaval. It's outdoor music, really, so to be in a room soaked with it is overwhelming. Thus the earplugs.

Brazilian multi-instrumentalist Eduardo Mendonca, known for his energetic cultural machine Show Brazil!, was in town yesterday for a workshop on samba rhythms, including "Ile Aye," and "Samba Reggae." Eduardo speaks good English, but in the heat of a rhythm that's less important than speaking good rhythm. He expresses an amazing ability to command a group using gestures, eye contact, and the sharp rhythms of his repenique drum. Even yours truly, learning new beats on the surdu 3, kept things together more often than not.

Eduardo also introduced a new song of his own composition, "Toca Timbau," which gives center stage to the timbau (or timba) drum (the kind of drum Eduardo is playing in the picture).

All this samba echoes through my head this morning. So as a mental relief valve, I'll share some with you. One of my favorite new samba recordings comes from Canadian group Samba Squad. This album does not work as soft background music for your formal dinner party. So clear away the dishes and silverware, shove the table into the corner, turn up the volume, and dance. Once you start this song, resistance, as they say, is futile.

[mp3] Samba Squad: "Maracatu Funk"
from the album Batuque (available on the Samba Squad website)

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