Friday, December 09, 2005

Like putting Baile funk on a swing bill

Brazilian dengue beat pioneers Naçao Zumbi have been put on the bill of the Barbican’s Tropicalia revival revue next spring, with the ageing likes of Veloso, Gil and Jorge Ben Jor. I don’t want to get on a high horse but NZ must be gritting their teeth and bearing it if they’re being lined up for a Tropicalism festival. They’re Brazilian, that’s all that counts, it seems. Stick ’em in a world music-like pigeonhole. Their appearance at the liberal arts centre par excellence sparks memories of season ticket whores walking out of their 2002 Barbican gig, because thundering drums and punk riffs weren’t the bossa nova they wanted to hear.

After all the effort we’ve variously put in to getting the lads seen as a band that exists away from the hackneyed old Tropicalist imagery, some wanky national newspaper journalist may equally wet himself about NZ and get it totally wrong about them being neo-Trops. The chances are that they’ll actually get some major attention for the first time from one of the self-same wankers who will then claim them as their own.

But in a way, I hope they use Tropicalism as a Trojan horse to get inside the building and then mash it up from within. The trouble is that if they’re sold to the stuffed shirts, the same crowd that didn’t know how to react in Chester when they played a Jazz club that billed them as some kind of Buena Vista lite entertainment, they’ll be even further alienated from the kids who deserve them!

Zumbi’s classic Da Lama ao Caos was reviewed here.

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