Review by: Roland Bruynesteyn
Album assigned by: Victor Guimarães
Completely new to me, so Wikipedia to the rescue: “The mangue bit or manguebeat movement is a cultural movement created circa 1991 in the city of Recife in Northeast Brazil in reaction to the cultural and economical stagnation of the city. The movement largely focuses on music, mixing regional rhythms of Brazilian Northeast, such as maracatu, frevo, coco and forró, with rock, hip hop, funk and electronic music”.
Now technically this may be correct, who knows, but this particular album sounds way more traditional to me. Not bad, as I like Brazilian music, whether it’s easy listening bossa nova (Bonfá / Jobim / Gilberto) or somewhat more challenging (Os Mutantes to Milton Nascimiento).
On first hearing there is a slightly fusionish quality, mainly because the bass is played rhythmically somewhat simpler (or American/European) and the percussion a bit more complex (and sometimes synthetic). Also, there are indeed some hip hop elements in the percussion, and in little repetitive elements (often just a few bars) in the music. A good example is the fourth song, “Azia Amazônica”: the acoustic guitar and the vocals have this generic Brazilian relaxed vibe, but the percussion is not traditional. A minute in, an electric guitar joins and the singing changes into something more chanting like. All in all, the song is not totally unlike recent Mutantes work, like Full Metal Jack.
The next song, “E A Vida Se Fez De Louca”, on the other hand starts with almost scratching percussion, before the acoustic guitars and vocal and the “monkeys in the jungle” (don’t know that instrument, but it appears a lot in Latin music). This song is nice, but rather generic, updated bossa nova to my ears. The same goes for “Caiu A Ficha”, although the talking part and the overly pathetic singing are somewhat overdone. Talking seems their preferred way of singing as it returns in some other songs as well.
“Embustation (atitude de C…é R…)” works very nicely with a dobro-like guitar and a marching bass line. “O Outro Mundo De Xicão Xucuru” sounds like an updated Gal Costa song, albeit sung/spoken by a man. A nice song!
The other songs are generally in the same vein: some bossa nova type ballads and some up tempo songs with watered down Brazilian feel and sometimes quite aggressive guitar or synthetic percussion. It IS quite long, and if you’re not into Brazilian music of any type, stay away. For me it’s a revelation in a way, and I’m sure to acquire some music by this group!