Exploring the rhythms of Brazil – The series

February 1, 2010 3:04 am in World by Eduardo Guedes

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to the series “Exploring the rhythms of Brazil”.  I am extremely excited about the opportunity to share some information  and have an open discussion forum about the rhythms of my native Country: BRAZIL

My goal is to present one Brazilian rhythm every week featuring them by region. I will start with:

  • Northeast
  • North
  • Southeast
  • South

There are many rhythms to be explored in each of these regions, believe me  we have plenty of material ahead of us.

So let’s get started by briefly introducing to those who don’t yet know, the country from which all these rhythms come : Brazil

  • Brazil is the largest country and the only Portuguese-speaking country in South America. It is the fifth largest country in the world with a total area of 8,514,876.599 square kilometers (3,287,612 sq mi).
  • Brazil is the largest national economy in Latin America, the tenth largest economy in the world.
  • The population of Brazil as recorded by the 2008 PNAD was approximately 190 million. The largest metropolitan areas are São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Belo Horizonte — all in the Southeastern Region — with 19.5, 11.5  and 5.1 million inhabitants respectively.
  • Most Brazilians descend from the country’s indigenous peoples;  Portuguese settlers and African slaves.  About five million people from over 60 countries migrated to Brazil between 1808 and 1972, most of them from Portugal, Italy, Spain, Germany, Japan and the Middle-East.
  • The most popular sport in Brazil is soccer. The Brazilian national team is ranked among the best in the world according to the FIFA World rankings and has won the World Cup tournament five times.
  • Brazil’s large territory comprises different ecosystems such as the Amazon Rain forest, recognized as having the greatest biological diversity in the world.
  • Brazilian music encompasses various regional styles influenced by African, European and Amerindian forms.

All those facts set the background for us to start exploring the extremely rich cultural and musical  styles of Brazil.

So as a good Brazilian, I will “kick off ”  with a quote from my former teacher at The Collective, Bobby Sanabria,  that illustrates the starting point of this blog.  He states,

“Most people, if they have any basic knowledge of Brazilian music, only know Bossa Nova and Samba. But there is tremendous variety in Brazil’s music”

I personally think that he is absolutely right. In my opinion  to this day, and even with the internet and all the global networking going on, most people (and I would include most drummers)  are just aware of Bossa Nova and Samba when it comes to Brazilian rhythms. Is that still true?

Well, first we need to realize that there is a very good reason for that. The image of Brazil abroad is directly related to Carnival, Samba, Bossa Nova and the city of Rio de Janeiro. This can be easily understood because all of that certainly sums up most of  the essence of Brazilian culture. We will certainly touch base on those subjects as we go.

However, in this blog we are going to explore  that “tremendous variety”  that Bobby is talking about.  All the obscure and enchanting rhythms that are found as we travel to the different regions of Brazil.  Are you ready? The journey is just about to start.

Our first stop will be the Northeast of Brazil. There we will find rhythms such as Maracatu, Coco, Ijexa, Caboclinho, Ciranda and many, many others.

So in the next blog we will start with one of the oldest music styles found in Brazil: The MARACATU.  Stay tuned!

In the meantime, I would like to ask for your participation and feedback.

Do you think that Bobby’s statement is still true? Do you think that people today,  and especially drummers, know more about Brazil than Samba and Bossa Nova?

What Brazilian rhythms do you know? What Brazilian rhythms would you  like to learn about?

I am very happy to have this blog  as an opportunity  to share this information with everyone.

I look forward to the exchange.

See you all next week

Eduardo