Monday, August 30, 2004

In the air tonight

Wow, maybe there really is something to that Newsweek article on the omnipresence of Brazil in US pop culture after all (see my August 7 entry for a link): Last night on Six Feet Under, I could swear I heard lots of bossa nova and more recent sounds in the background, and sure enough, a handy section of the show's website reveals that, indeed, Cibelle's "Dia de Yemanja" was prominently featured, along with some stock bossa melodies, always in association with Brenda's annoying/fascinating mom, who is dating Claire's now-entirely-annoying Latino art teacher. (Stop me before I go on about this show, but the parenthetical question I have to ask is this: are the series' creators actively trying to lose viewers this season? What was once a landmark show is now pretty much a soap opera, albeit one whose characters quote Baudrillard from time to time.)

Earlier in the day, I heard an interesting segment on the Latin Grammys during the Sunday edition of All Things Considered which devoted a fair amount of attention to Maria Rita (daughter of Elis Regina), whose debut album is quite lovely. (Ron's 13-word album review: Appealing voice, catchy songs, spare but effective production, and a clever bonus video.)

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Foreign Sound, Familiar Songs

Here's a July 2004 interview with Caetano Veloso from the World Music Central site. Nice song-by-song annotations on Caetano's all-American collection.

Oh, and speaking of CV, I've been reading his book Tropical Truth for the last few weeks, and I'm at the chapter on his arrest and imprisonment by the military police. Not only is the episode harrowing in itself (Americans, imagine Bob Dylan being locked up in 1966 ... or Bruce Springsteen in 1988), but Veloso's retelling of it is just amazing. Comes out of nowhere, right after a key passage on his few drug experiences, as this gigantic interruption of his daily life. (He's relentlessly self-deprecating/humble as he describes his ascent to national stardom throughout the book, but you still get the sense that he was a major pop-culture figure--not a politician, but an artist whose work includes political content among other things. I've been trying to think of a parallel from the year 2004, but I can't quite think of one.)

I have much more to say about the book, but not now: time for the Daily Show... Say, maybe John Stewart could serve as an analogy; imagine him being awakened one night and driven to a prison with only a toothbrush, all for making jokes on TV.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

More Arto L, and a little Lenny K

The thing about public radio is this: you get on one show (see July 24 entry below), you get on more. So should it be any surprise that there's a nice -- if short -- profile of Arto Lindsay on All Things Considered for Wednesday, August 11, 2004? Not as detailed as the segment from "The World," but another chance to hear snippets of his latest album if you haven't already.

Oh, and here's a reminder to myself to listen one day to this NPR piece on Lenny Kaye's new book on crooners, which sounds really cool.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

eye - Belle of the ball - 07.29.04

This short but informative interview in Toronto's alternative weekly eye makes me even sadder that I missed Cibelle's recent show in that city.

In other live-appearance news, at least I have the shows by Luciana Souza (Feb. 13) and Guinga (May 7) to look forward to next year, right here in WNY. Both are part of the Albright-Knox's excellent "Art of Jazz" series. I confess I don't know much about either of them beyond their names just yet--and the "jazz" part scares me a little--but I'm open. Guinga wrote a couple of songs on Sergio Mendes' good-points-bad-points Brasileiro album and I could swear I've seen his name on the credits of some others, too. Based on Joe Sixpack's generally infallible album reviews, I'm more excited about Souza. (For one thing, she's set some of the poems of Elizabeth Bishop to music, which is an interesting prospect, at least in theory; I see her latest project is based on Pablo Neruda's poetry.) Both shows are a long way off, but then the series tends to sell out way in advance--so if anyone reading this in the vicinity of Buffalo wants a seat, act soon.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Everyone Loves Brazil

This article from the August 2 Newsweek called "Everyone Loves Brazil" confirms that I am hopelessly trendy. Which is a relief, because several others I've seen from the late 1990s (and this one from 2000 I've already written about) suggested that I was already late to the carnival when it comes to the music and culture of a certain South American country. No matter how you slice it, I'm clearly So Five Minutes Ago. C'est la vie.

Found the Newsweek story through Bruno Pieroni's blog "These are the contents of my head." He's a Brazilian art director living in the American midwest, and his site also contains lots of interesting stuff about the advertising industry in addition to the expatriate stuff that initially drew me in.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

It's a Small World after all...

This lengthy article from Canada's Exclaim! music mag, called "Small World," has got to be the most exhaustive summary of the influence of Brazilian music on North American and British electronic-music deejays, hipsters, and jazzheads that I've ever seen. Beck, Byrne, Black Orpheus, Getz, Stereolab, Arto, and many many others are here (not exactly in chronological order, though), along with a recap of major movements in the music itself (ending with a plug for big-voiced Virginia Rodrigues, whom I just heard for the first time yesterday). Terrific explanation of just what it is I can't get out of my head, for those of you who might be wondering.

What a find: Found this potentially addictive site in advance of tomorrow's Toronto trip. (BTW, skipped Cibelle last Friday for logistical reasons, then Sunday's concert by Daude--which we were planning to see--was cancelled. The upcoming sojourn was originally gonna be for Lollapallooza, until that got shitcanned. Now we're going with friends to check out the "Turner/Whistler/Monet" show at the AGO. Needless to say, I plan to work in at least a few used CD stores while we're at it.)

Back to RecordStoreReview: Over a thousand stores in 34 countries around the world, searchable by genre and rated by actual shoppers. Wish I'd known about this years ago. Almost as much fun as actually shopping. No, wait, nothing is quite that much fun.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Return to Sender, Address Unknown

Boy, do I ever wish I could access this "stream" of the NPR show Afropop Worldwide with the tantalizing theme "Brasilíssimo!"

Interviews, audio clips, and show segments from or about Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, João Gilberto, Tom Ze, the history of samba, Carmen Miranda, Marisa Monte, Naçao Zumbi, and so much more. Absolute gold.

Too bad the site obliges you to register before you can listen, but then won't accept your registration. (Through two different browsers, I've gotten the messsage "enter valid e-mail address" even though I've done that--even entered three different, equally valid addresses.) Moreover, two thirds of the "registration" process is a thinly disguised attempt to collect marketing info about you and your precious NPR demographic. The site looks great, and I'm an occasional listener to/fan of the show itself (or at least I just enjoy pronouncing host Georges Collinet's name the way he does).

My sweetie tells me I might have better luck if I tried registering from a PC instead of a Mac. If that ain't adding insult to injury, I don't know what is.