Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Fun and useful samba/Brazilian music links

Here are a number of samba/Brazilian music-related links you might find helpful:

Carnival in Rio: play yourself a samba school drums section.  We'll start with a fun one. This is a flash application allowing you to conduct your own batucada. Just go.

Ginga: a Brazilian way to groove by Jovino Santos Neto. This is a very informative pdf on the interpretation of several Brazilian styles, by Jovino, a great pianist and composer from Rio, currently living in Seattle.

From the introduction:
Brazilian music in all its forms has enjoyed tremendous popularity in recent years, especially among jazz musicians who appreciate its rhythmic complexity coupled with its harmonic sophistication. Almost every contemporary jazz performance features tunes with a Brazilian flavor, either a composition by a Brazilian composer or a jazz standard set to a samba or bossa nova feel. However, with notable exceptions, the musical results fail to achieve the essential characteristics which define those Brazilian styles. This is most often caused not by a lack of musical ability, but by an improper understanding of the rhythmic essence of the styles. In Brazil, this most subtle aspect of groove is often known as ginga (with a soft g as in ginseng). It refers to the way in which a dancer moves, to the way a beautiful woman walks and to the way that music incites motion in the listeners. The purpose of this paper is to provide rhythmic information in a practical and concise way, leading to the development of ginga in the performance of Brazilian-based music. We will be looking at 4 distinct grooves: samba, baiĆ£o, marcha and maracatu from that perspective, hoping to create a deeper intuitive feeling for their rhythmic nature. 

Lions of Batucada caixa rides. All of the caixa (that's a Brazilian snare drum) parts for a Portland group which I performed with in the mid-2000's, the Lions of Batucada. These were picked up by members who travelled to Brazil, or from samba heavyweights like Jorge Alabe, Boca Rum, Bruno Moraes, Michael Spiro, and Carlinhos Pandeiro de Ouro who came up to work with the group. I wish I had found this before I did my caixa blow-out- this can replace many of the patterns I included there. They're all written in easy to understand tablature. 

Kiko’s Samba by James Dreier. This pdf from a 2001 Percussive Notes issue introduces a batucada-style samba groove for the drum set, which the author picked up from a local guy in Recife. It's unique in that it uses a paradiddle inversion (LRRL RLLR) for the snare/caixa/repinicado part, rather then the more common RRRL (or RLLR or RLRL). This is something I've been messing with for several years, and it seems well adapted to getting the right feel, but this is the first time I've heard of actual Brazilian guys using it.

Samba swing for the pandeiro. This is a flash application quantizing and demonstrating the unique samba feel at several tempos.

Spirit of Brazil podcast. "PRESENTING THE MUSIC OF BRAZIL, PAST, PRESENT & FUTURE!!" Ongoing free monthly podcast series with a large archive of 52 shows. Great resource.

Supersonic Samba. Helpful site with brief discussions of aspects of samba, and of batucada instruments. Subjects include: Agogo Bell Section, BREAKS!, Caixa Section, Congas (afro-Brazilian), Cuica Section, Samba Reggae, Repinique, Samba Swing, and Tamborim Section.

Understanding the Samba Groove by Pedro Batista. Another page breaking down the feel of samba.

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