Funk

Quarteto Em Cy - Querelas Do Brasil

ARTIST: QUARTETO EM CY

ALBUM: QUERELAS DO BRASIL

LABEL (YEAR): PHILLIPS (1978)

FOR FANS OF: GAL COSTA, TIM MAIA, TOM ZÉ  

 

Words by Jasper Morvaridi


I picked up Quarteto Em Cy’s Querelas Do Brasil in Eldica Records in Dalston. As soon as I put the needle on the record in the shop I was hooked.

Quartet Em Cy are a girl group who originally formed in 1959. Despite a short break from 1970-72, they’ve released some 38 records over the decades. This one, Querelas Do Brasil, dates from the end of the 70s. It really covers a lot of ground, from bossa nova tracks such as ‘Querelas Do Brasil’ and ‘Love, Love, Love’ to slow jams like ‘Angelica’ and ‘Sapato Velho’. My favourite on the record is without a doubt ‘Salve O Verde’ - a sort of psychedelic funk/soul jam with a heavy groove to it.

Despite my lack of understanding of the Portuguese language, in many ways the melodies and the music do the talking themselves, or rather, they tell the story. It’s this emotion the captures me the most.

In recent years Latin American music has been at the forefront of musical rediscovery, with labels such as Mr. Bongo reissuing LPs and 45s, Gilles Peterson investing in his Sonzeira project and the likes of Floating Points and Motor City Drum Ensemble putting it at the centre of their DJ sets. Where this upsurge has seen many records from the continent rocket in price on Discogs, Querelas Do Brasil is one that you can (and should) pick up for as little as a tenner. It’s well worth a go.


Bixiga 70 - III

ARTIST: BIXIGA 70

ALBUM: III

LABEL (YEAR): GLITTERBEAT (2015)  

FOR FANS OF: FELA KUTI, NUBIYAN TWIST, TOM ZÉ, ONDATRÓPICA

 

Words by Jasper Morvaridi


III is São Paolo based collective Bixiga 70's third studio album (and my personal favourite).

‘Bixiga’ is the name of band’s birthplace – it’s one of the most diverse neighbourhoods in São Paolo, known for being a melting pot of culture. Fittingly, the band channel their multicultural origins through their music, with influences and sounds from Africa, Brazil and the Caribbean consistent throughout. ‘70’ references Fela Kuti’s legendary Africa ‘70, evidenced by their core, Afrobeat sound. On III, this amalgamation of music and cultural influences is heard throughout. ‘Niran', for example, mixes Cuban blaxploitation riffs with the Malinké drumming from Guinea.

While the band’s tight percussion and lush riffs keep things flowing, it’s the horn section that drives each tune’s danceable rhythm. ‘Di Dancer’ demonstrates the band’s uninterrupted rhythms, while songs such as ‘Ventania’, ‘Lembe’ and ‘7 Pancadas’ all switch up the pace of the record.

Bixiga 70 have been compared to much of the work of Fela Kuti. On III, this is completely justified as the energy of the music shines through.

Now the sun is starting to come out, get yourself dancing down the street to this.


Various Artists - Yalla – Hitlist Egypt

ARTIST: VARIOUS ARTISTS

ALBUM: YALLA - HITLIST EGYPT

LABEL (YEAR): MANGO RECORDS (1990)  

FOR FANS OF: HABIBI FUNK, OMAR SOULEYMAN

 

Words by Lexy Morvaridi


Released in 1990, Yalla – Hitlist Egypt is a compilation of modern music coming out of Egypt at that time. Split onto two sides ‘Al Jeel (the generation)’ and ‘Shaabi (peoples), this record focuses on two demographics producing contemporary music within Egypt. ‘Al Jeel’ is the modernised youth who fuse Bedouin, Nubian and Egyptian rhythms with folklore themes and electronic beats. The result is the Arabic synth-pop that would have been the sound of Cairo’s nightlife in the late 80s. ‘Shaabi’ is the older generation’s traditional folk of the working class that originates from the country. On this record, the songs are given a contemporary twist, a product of urbanization. The music became politicized as traditionalists rejected it from the start – forcing the music underground into the clubs of Cairo. The different feel to each side opens up an interesting dialogue between the contemporary and the traditional.

Opening track, ‘Ei Yaani’, is textured with drums and hand claps, layered with synth lines and decorated with Amr Diab’s soaring Arabic melodies. Later, Mohammed Moneer’s ‘Sif Safaa’ opens with a fresh jazz funk bass and guitar riff opening up a whole new realm of much needed pelvic ostentations. There is an interesting mix of Bedouin percussion, brass samples, synth lines, electronic beats and traditional instrumentation throughout this side that combine to create a beat-driven collection of pop songs that will get you on your feet as they once did with Cairo’s youth.

Side two takes a strange yet interesting turn with opening track ‘Elli Shatr Enhaa Tgannen’, by Sami Ali & Sahar Hamdy, sounding like a twisted acid-house folk song. Trust me – you have to hear it. You will either love its madness or be stumped by its ludicracy. Either way, I guarantee you will be satisfied. Throughout this side you can hear the calling of the elder generation in the vocals themselves, as the urban sound of the city is combined with the folk instrumentation and storytelling of country life. A fusion that binds two generations.

The record is an eclectic arrangement of songs that portray a vibrant idea of the colourful nightlife of Cairo in the 80s. The liner notes give us an idea of the rich importance this music had for a whole generation of Egyptians (not to mention its full of Arabic floorfillers):

“The music that came from this new spirit was a faster more optimistic sound, with rhythm, beat and drive that better fitted city life. And it is a new spirit, not surprisingly, the old guardians of culture resist and reject; after all it’s their power and authority that is vested in keeping things as they were. For them it is a threat. They won’t play any of it on the radio, and discuss it with contempt in the press. It is a beat they say that can never touch the inner rhythm of Egyptian spirit. But like it or not, the youth, the children of the 60s baby boom, have other ideas, and have been taking matters into their own hands…”

The Bees - Sunshine Hit Me

ARTIST: THE BEES

ALBUMSUNSHINE HIT ME

LABEL (YEAR): WE LOVE YOU (2002)    

FOR FANS OF: SMOKEY ROBINSON, THE SMALL FACES, THE CORAL, DEVENDRA BANHART

 

 

Words by Theo Kotz


The Bees have been around for some time, always straddling the space between the big-time and the unknown. They’ve never really reflected any kind of scene, or been followers of the mainstream. Saying that, the use of some of their tunes in TV ads, along with support slots with Oasis and Madness meant they were hardly underground either. I remember getting Free The Bees (the follow up to this one) for Christmas at age 13 from my cousin whose music I respected. It didn’t sound like a new album – I thought it was some obscure curiosity I could impress my mates with. No-one had heard of it, but a couple of weeks later I saw it knocked down to a couple of quid in HMV.

The point of all this is it’s hard to know how to place The Bees, which is fitting, because they aren’t limited to anything really. This first album was the work of Paul Butler and Aaron Fletcher in Butler’s parents' shed (before touring commitments meant they had to assemble a bigger crew). Both multi-instrumentalists who are obsessed with music, the result is a record with influences as wide as the Solent. Seriously, there’s so much going on here: afro-tinged bells, psychedelic blasts, gorgeously warm soul harmonies, sugar-cane-sweet love songs, ethereal jazz workouts, homespun comedy, that-cover-tune-off-that-advert-that-is-just-a-fuckin-heater, leather-trousers-tight funk, melt in the mouth R&B, beautiful tumbling pianos and an organ sound that never ceases to slap a ridiculous grin on my face.

It’s like getting a mix CD (back when people used to do that) from a friend whose music you love, which I suppose I kind of did that Christmas in 2004. Big up Bex.

(NB: Free The Bees is also class)


Fumaça Preta - Fumaça Preta

Artist: Fumaça Preta

Album: Fumaça Preta          

Label (Year): Soundway Records (2014)

For Fans of: Goat, Hookworms, Os Brazoes

 

 

Words by Lexy Morvaridi


Fumaca Preta’s debut throws you into a psychedelic samba dance across a Salvador Dali soundscape of R’n’B and groove.

Opening track ‘Pupilas Dilatadas’, sets the tone with a trippy arrangement of voodoo percussion, while the Tropicalia-infused fuzz of ‘Toda Pessoa’ sounds like an acid-inspired samba. Founded by Portuguese-Venezuelan producer Alex Figueira and based in Amsterdam, the songs offer a myriad of influences ranging from psychedelic rock to acid house. The use of a Roland TR-808 can be heard throughout ‘Tira Sue Mascara’, and the title track has a riff that even Tony Iommi would envy. All the songs are layered on Brazilian and Latin rhythms that make you want to dance, head bang, and salsa all at once.

As a live quintet, expect a raucous, trippy party that is not to be missed.

DISCLAIMER: Best served with an array of halucegenics and a dance floor.