Music Reviews
3:08 pm
Fri July 6, 2012

Maga Bo's Sound Collages Travel Through Time

Originally published on Tue July 10, 2012 3:46 pm

In American-born producer Maga Bo's world, the berimbau — a type of bow native to Brazil — becomes an element in a time-traveling collage of organic sounds. On his new album, Quilombo do Futuro, vibrating strings, booming drumheads and vocal melodies that might go back centuries coexist with rhythmic sound effects and club-friendly beats.

Maga Bo records traditional artists playing capoeira, coco, samba, maculele and other rootsy Brazilian genres. Then he constructs spacious layered mixes that sound modern, but keep the indigenous sounds in the foreground. In "Immigrant Visa Part II," for example, racing snare-drum rhythms provide the backing for a dancehall vocal by MC Zulu.

In "Xororo," Maga Bo incorporates the pendulous rhythms of the Brazilian northeast, once excluded from the country's popular culture. Hear the sensual, seductive groove, and you'll understand why the region's music has become ­­­­a sensation among Brazilian music fans in recent years.

The word quilombo in the album title originally referred to an autonomous community established by runaway slaves in colonial Brazil. Quilombos were places of both physical and spiritual refuge. By calling this album Quilombo do Futuro — the quilombo of the future — Maga Bo defines a kind of virtual refuge for traditional culture, giving it a welcome place in the techy global music soundscape of the 21st century.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

You are listening to ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. Maga Bo is an American-born music producer who's spent the past 12 years living in Brazil and observing its music. His passion is traditional vocals and percussion, and there's plenty of both in Brazil. On his latest album, he juxtaposes indigenous Brazilian roots music and high-tech production. Banning Eyre has our review.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

BANNING EYRE, BYLINE: That metallic buzz you hear is the one-stringed Brazilian berimbau. In Brazil, it provides the characteristic accompaniment for an expressive martial art form called capoeira.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

EYRE: In producer Maga Bo's world, berimbau becomes an element in a time-traveling collage of organic sounds. On this album, "Quilombo do Futuro," vibrating strings, booming drumheads and vocal melodies that might go back centuries coexist with rhythmic sound effects and club-friendly beats.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

EYRE: Maga Bo records traditional artists playing capoeira, coco, samba, maculele and other rootsy Brazilian genres. Then he constructs spacious layered mixes that sound modern but keep the indigenous sounds in the foreground. On this track, racing snare drum rhythms provide the backing for dancehall vocals by MC Zulu.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

EYRE: On one track, Maga Bo incorporates the pendulous rhythms of the Brazilian northeast, once excluded from the country's popular culture. Listen to the seductive sensuality of this groove and you'll understand why northeast music has become a sensation among Brazilian music fans in recent years.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG)

EYRE: The word quilombo in the album title originally referred to an autonomous community established by runaway slaves in colonial Brazil. Quilombos were places of both physical and spiritual refuge. By calling this album "Quilombo do Futuro," the quilombo of the future, Maga Bo defines a kind of virtual refuge for traditional culture, giving it a welcome place in the techy global music soundscape of the 21st century.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

BLOCK: Banning Eyre is senior editor at afropop.org. He reviewed "Quilombo do Futuro" by Maga Bo. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright National Public Radio.