Luaka Bop has never done us wrong. The legendary world music label established by David Byrne is responsible for opening up a generation of American music listeners to the likes of Os Mutantes and Tom Zé among many others. Now that the playing field has been evened with music once considered outside the realm of American popularity breaking down barriers left and right, Luaka Bop has started to turn their attention to new artists. Enter Márcio Local.
Not that we don't like the new artists coming out of Brazil, but the ones who embody American culture seem to defy logic to us. Why import world music that sounds like our music? So there is definitely anticipation building among the Tripwire staff to see what authentic, new Brazilian artists Luaka Bop delivers. Admittedly, we can be a bit speculative when it comes to music that draws particularly from a long lineage of great musicians, but that's what makes someone like Márcio so intriguing.
The smooth Brazilian baritone’s sound comes from the bustling working-class neighborhood on the west side of Rio he hails from, Realengo. Also home to the samba school Padre Miguel -- widely regarded as having the tightest and most inventive bateria, the massive drum corps that parade behind the lavish floats during carnival -- Realengo achieved a measure of fame when the tropicalist singer-songwriter (and recently, Minister of Culture) Gilberto Gil gave a shout-out to that community in his 1969 hit “Aquele Abraço”.
By the time Marcio Local was born, the north side had emerged as the epicenter of a new cultural movement dubbed “Black Rio,” which attracted thousands of young people, mostly black, to all-night dance parties with soundtracks that were heavy on soul and funk. Although rarely articulated in explicitly political or racial terms, the “Black Rio” scene provided young Afro-Brazilians a new vocabulary and style to express a distinctly “black” identity in a country that officially celebrated a kind of non-racialism that often obscured deep inequalities and prejudices.
With an appreciation of Brazil's deep-musical legacy in hand, Márcio Local's take on roots samba, soul, funk, reggae, rap and the bailes funk is as authentic as it is new. This is what drew us to him; there was no pretentious misconceptions of what samba should sound like, or some new "take" on old classics, but a rather brilliant -- and near seamless -- mix of the two.
With the knowledge of his arrival in the States, we asked him to perform the track "Soul do Samba" from his upcoming Luaka Bop debut Adventures In Samba Soul [Release Date: 05.12.09]. With his band in tow, we recorded this session acoustic in the wee hours of the night in the Brooklyn bar Zebulon. Consider this our attempt to marry Local's sound with a setting that embodies the authenticity of his music.
For The Record With Márcio Local - "Soul do Samba"
Video by Maia Stern