Various ‘Brazilian Boogie Disco Sounds 1978-1982’ (Favorite/Guanabara) 3/5

brazilian-boogie-disco-soundsParisian-based label Favorite have come up with an intriguing compilation licenced out from Brazil and compiled by Brazilian DJ Jùnior Santos and there is certainly no doubting the quality of the music here. How did Brazil react to the late 1970s disco craze and early 1980s boogie phenomenon? This relatively short overview (barely thirty minutes in total) provides at least some of the answers, though a second volume would benefit significantly from both a wider selection of musicians and much lengthier time (enough for two LPs), the result is nonetheless an excellent trip into a Brazilian take on the dancefloor. The sound of Philly International seems to have been a major influence on group Painel De Controle with classy strings and full production with background harmonies on ‘Relax’ (nothing whatsoever to do with the Frankie Goes to Hollywood number) while Steely Dan minor chords emerge on the intro to female vocalist Solange’s ‘Quero um baby seu’. Disco strings and orchestra surface on the catchy groove of ‘Ripa na Xulipa’ from female vocal trio Rabo De Saia and this is where the superb vocal harmonies one might expect of the best MPB groups comes together in perfect symbiosis with archetypal disco instrumentation. Only the cheesy keyboard solo betrays the relatively low-fi production. What of the male vocalists? Arguably, Tim Maia would have been worthy of at least one inclusion, but in his absence Carlos Dafé contributes a melodic early 1980s effort in ‘Escorpião’ which is a mid-tempo boogie tune that features lovely keyboards and beefy percussion. the early 1980s MPB began to lose its authenticity and acquired a more layered sound. This was, however, ideal fodder for disco/boogie singers and Sandra de Sá uses precisely this instrumentation on ‘Negro Flor’. An anthology of this nature raises as many questions as it answers and one genuinely wishes for a detailed inner sleeve historiography of the disco phenomenon as seen from a Brazilian perspective. Who were the major US influences on Brazilian musicians from the disco craze and how did Brazilian musicians take on board their innovations? How easy was it for Brazilians to access the music from the States? One final question to ponder. Given that disco did permeate Brazilian society, why are there no extended 12″ versions of songs contained on this compilation? Was the 12″ concept alien to even Brazilian dance music? Just like MPB, short and concise songs seem to be the order of the day even for disco/boogie artists.

A 12inch extend version will be released in 2015.

Tim Stenhouse