Don’t be misled by the title, this is not the samba of Bahia, it signifies instead a party and throughout the recording it is as if one has been transported to a raucous street party in Pernambuco, Brazil
Frantic drumming and brass build to a pitch and drop away for the vocalist to have his say before the pattern is repeated. The sound of fireworks, nature, whistles and street life break through between songs in this statement of traditional music — not as source music or ‘folk’ but the living, breathing vehicle of the poor for their musical expression.
The musicians on this debut release by Siba are a mix of young and old, united in their insistence that this music is about the here and now. Having written or co-written all but one of the 14 tracks on the album, it is fitting that his is the voice you hear on nearly every track. A timeless, mournful, slightly nasal voice breaking out now and again to rise over pounding percussion somewhere between a military march and an afro bloco.
The effect is impressive but, whereas live, the massed power of a large group of percussionists literally moves you, on record, in the comfort of your living room, some of that magic is lost. Nevertheless, this is an evocative insight into the musical traditions of Zona da Mata Norte de Pernambuco.
Siba – Fuloresta do Samba is released on the excellent Outro Brasil label