Here are two very different contemporary Brazilian bands that have two big things in common: they are exceptionally talented and will never tour America, probably because it would cost too much money for airfare to get them all here. They are both large groups: reggae supergroup Natiruts has 12 members, big for a reggae outfit, and the Spok Frevo Orchestra is a big band with 18 musicians. Only a big grant from the Brazilian government or a carioca industrialist would get them to come north. Embraer? Tap Airlines? Brahma beer? Can any of you help?
Frevo is a style of Brazilian music based in the Northeastern state of Pernambuco and centered in the capital Recife. Reggae is immensely popular in Brazil; you see more teeshirts with Bob Marley on it than you do Jay-Z Stevie Wonder, or Michael Jackson. Both bands are energetic and exciting: Natiruts is body music and fun to dance to, while Spok Frevo is an unbelievably tight jazz orchestra, with snapped tight ensemble work and great soloists. You could bring them to the Monterey or Playboy Jazz Festival–or to Montreux–and they’d blow people away.
These two groups aren’t about saudade. On the contrary, they can really turn on a crowd no matter where they go. Thanks to my Brazilian music guru, Robert Rogness of Wine Expo (http://wineexpo.com/) for tipping me to Natiruts. I’d already heard about Spok Frevo.
Here are some clips of both bands:
site for Spok Frevo: