Released: 31st Mar, 2008
Label: Tru Thoughts
Singing in both English and Portuguese, this half-Brazilian, half-British outfit have drawn upon unashamedly old-school flavours to create Raw Afro-Brazilian Funk. Their debut album explores the rich and uncharted territory between Afro-Brazilian rhythms and sixties funk syncopations, in the process creating a whole new signature sound.
The opening track, “Oil Is Thicker Than Blood”, is a maracatu-funk track, using the Brazilian rhythm of the drum bands from the streets of Recife, featuring the unmistakable, deep sound of the alfaia drum, and it features a flute solo by Jack Yglesias.
”Nao Posso Te Levar A Serio” (“Can’t Take You Seriously”) – which came out on 7” vinyl in February as the band’s debut single – includes Portuguese lyrics telling off a girl for playing hard to get and includes a Trumpet solo by Graeme Flowers who also plays with the James Taylor Quartet.
‘It’s Doing My Head In’, a Funk/Samba mix shows a heavy work out from the rhythm section, which is matched by multi-lingual Nascarella’s raw vocals. The drum break is classic Saravah Soul: laying down sixties style funk drums alongside the samba flavours of howling cuica and the thunder of the tamborim section (tamborim not to be confused with tambourine).
“Arroz com feijao”, meaning “Rice and Beans”, is based around Afoxé, one of the most African Brazilian rhythms, with a touch of Funk and Afro-Beat. The highly poetic lyrics speak of Art as nourishment for the soul, just as the body is nourished by rice and beans, the classic Brazilian dish. The call and response style singing, also rooted in Africa, is a classic component of Brazilian anthems.
“Funk e Saravah” meaning “Funk and Saravah” (NOT Funky Saravah!) was written spontaneously in the space of a single sound check. The percussion and flute break down is inspired by the mix of African and Indigenous Indian music at the heart of Brazilian culture. “Saravah” is a salutation used in Afro-Brazilian religions which also carries a deep sense of ‘Brazilian-ness’.
“Roubada” is a funk-samba de roda style arrangement which comes from the same family as the music of Capoeira (although it’s not the same thing). The lyrics are loaded with Brazilian street slangs as tales of getting ripped off and the impending retribution are sung.
The album kicks back into “Role de Bike”, a funk fuelled track mixed with Baião (folk dance music from the state of Bahia, Brazil).The title means “Bike Ride”, written after an inspiring trip along the Canal. The outro horn melody is in classic Bahian style.
This leads us on to the sound of Rio Carnival in “Supersossego”, an unforgiving, mean dancefloor killer of strip-down raw funk, which explodes unexpectedly into a samba batucada bomb. The smooth instrumental jazz/funk of “Homesick” is the perfect wind-down into the final track of what has been an energetic and passion-fuelled journey through funk and Brazilian beats, ending with the instrumental version of “It’s Doing My Head In”.
The album beautifully puts across the raw, energetic and fiery passion of Saravah Soul, a true representation of the Brazilian music they pay great tribute to. This passion is greatly portrayed in their live show, which is a definite must see. Saravah Soul regularly grace the stage of Guanabara on Drury Lane, London to stir up a funk frenzy and make bodies move to that unmistakable sound.
The LP release also features exclusive instrumental versions of ‘NAO POSSO TE LEVAR A SERIO’ and ‘OIL IS THICKER THAN BLOOD’, and includes the full album on CD.