Bixiga 70: "Quebra Cabeca" LP
Release Date: 10/19/2018
São Paulo's acclaimed ten-piece instrumental collective return for their fourth album, Quebra Cabeça. Urban Afro-Brazilian grooves, empowered horn-driven melodicism, and massive dancefloor inspiration. One of South America's most exhilarating musical propositions. Almost four centuries after the first slave ships loaded their cargoes and set sail, the connection between Brazil and West Africa remains firm and deep. Africa is everywhere in Brazil, and it pulses through the music on Quebra Cabeça ("Puzzle"), Bixiga 70's second studio album for Glitterbeat, where two continents dance together across the black Atlantic. Bixiga 70 have created hybrid in their music --with each member pulling from candomblé (the African-Caribbean religion), jazz, reggae, dub -- and each influence takes on a slightly different form. On Quebra Cabeça, that sound becomes more complex. That's apparent in the shifts and turns of a piece like "Pedra De Raio" or "Levante", where the melody shifts and swerves, one section flowing naturally into the next, adding layer upon layer to create something astonishing and utterly satisfying in its power. In large part, this change has come from the band's relentless touring over the last few years. "We've been exposed to so much," flutist Cuca Ferreira notes. "So many of the people we've played with have had an impact on us, like Pat Thomas, the Ghanaian highlife singer or [Nigerian saxophonist] Orlando Julius. And then we toured and recorded with João Donato . . . We've learned from them all, they've made us think about what we can do with our music." One result is the new, shining lyricism of the melodies, with the horns pushed even more to the fore, parading around with a singer's swagger. Quebra Cabeça is a very memorable set of hummable earworms, from the title cut that opens up the album and continuing, sinewy and cool and relentless, all the way to the final note of "Portal". Throughout though, the heartbeat of everything remains utterly African, refracted through the prism of the band's home in the Bixiga neighborhood of São Paulo. Bixiga 70 has always been a reflection of the streets where they live. The band played their first show in October 2010 and released their debut album a year later. Eight years on they are still the same ten-piece collective, honing and shaping the music, evolving towards the changes found on Quebra Cabeça.
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