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Saravah Soul

Released: 27th May, 2010
Label: Tru Thoughts

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In its original incarnation, “Alforria” was featured on the ‘Exclusives’ CD of the Tru Thoughts 10th Anniversary compilation last year, and was picked up on by many tastemakers, receiving airplay from Radio 1’s Rob Da Bank among others. This new Album Version was re-recorded in a new studio, using different equipment – building a slightly slower groove out of the original Afro-beat and north-eastern Brazilian Baião rhythms. Saravah Soul also find room for some Maracatu and Afoxé flavours which makes this track one of the most culturally diverse mixes on the album. The lyrics are political, drawing a parallel between the track’s namesake, the Carta de Alforria or Manumission Document (the piece of paper that would set a Brazillian slave free before the slavery abolition in 1888) and the European Passport, without which immigration to Europe is very difficult, impelling illegal immigrants to work in very bad conditions, being paid less than the legal minimum wage, characterising new slavery. Inspiration for the song came when lead singer Otto Nascarella was refused entry into the UK (while actually en route to Tru Thoughts to sign his contract) because customs discovered he had played a few gigs in the UK before, and as he wasn’t an EU citizen this was illegal. On that occasion he shared the holding room with a man who had previously been caught shoplifting in the UK, and was given the right to re-enter, which understandably angered Nascarella, a working musician.

‘Cultura Impura’ is the second album from the half Brazilian, half British, London based purveyors of Afro-meets-Brazilian funk, Saravah Soul. Out 5th July on Tru Thoughts, this vibrant record sees the band channelling ’60s Brazil via 21st Century East London. Their eponymous debut picked up diverse radio support from the likes of The Unabombers (XFM), Craig Charles (BBC 6Music) and Gilles Peterson (BBC Radio 1), and in the two years since its release Saravah Soul have not rested; constantly touring their intensely vibrant live show and soaking up more and more influences. By mixing the traditional Afro-Brazilian rhythms like Jongo and Coco, and instruments like Pifano (bamboo flutes), Afoxé and Berimbau, with Highlife and Afro-beat, along with the down-to earth nitty gritty of their own life experiences, Saravah Soul conjure something totally new and fresh.

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