It’s morning and I’m on a highway, still in my sleep mood, the sun is low and blinds me so I have to pull the car sunshade.
“Dad put my song on” says my daughter from her back seat.
Song n.14 Galo Cantou
A jew’s harp starts, sounds like a synth and right after the voices singing:
Canta meu povo, canta com muita alegria
Que essa folia não tem hora pra acabar
Cheguei meu povo, pra cantar com alegria
Nessa folia, cheguei pra comemorar
On the background still jew’s harp playing together with many other sounds, mainly percussions, as an orchestra in a crescendo plays until the chorus:
“Você chegou pra alegrar o dia
Você chegou pra nos trazer alegria
Nós somo como tu
Somos da mesma família
Nós somo como tu
Somos da mesma família
My daughter sings it all, she doesn’t speak Portuguese but she had listened to it so many times that she perfectly reproduces the sounds. I sing with her, it’s one of our daily rituals.
“Dad also uncle Charles sings in this song!!!”
“Yes my love, you are right, uncle Charles plays and sings with the Barbatuques”
Uncle Charles is Charles Raszl, musician, dancer, performer of San Paolo. He is an expert in Brazilian dance and rhythm and I’m lucky and honored to study and work with him when he is in Italy.
The Barbatuques are my favorite body music band; founded by the paulista musician Fernando Barba inspired by Stenio Mendes, researcher and musician of popular Brazilian music and sound dialogue, expert on how to communicate with body and voice. Barba started his researches as a game on how to transpose Brazilian rhythms on his body by using chest, snaps, laps, hands and sounds. The first focus was pedagogical and he developed games and activities for a music school in San Paolo. Meeting Stenio Mendes gives strength to his research and by the end of the 90’s the Barbatuques officially start their performances.
For me the Barbatuques embody the perfect union between:
- tone and body sounds balance
- body percussion transposition of traditional Brazilian rhythms
- balance between original composition and popular music rearrangements
- balance between singing and body percussion parts
Every Barbatuques body percussion part is repeatable by any human being with a little practice and this is a strength because their main focus is not to amaze with fireworks but to bring every person of the audience in a trip made of voices, body rhythms and movement. The fact that they have a pedagogical background makes their music available for kids and adults and I would like to share two important albums with you.
TUM PA (2012) A cd for kids also suitable for adults; some of the songs accompany clapping games. There is a video of Tum Pa that explains how to develop the game:
An example of the Barbatuques magical live performances is the traditional song Peixinhos do mar. Here is the video of the performance:
AYÚ (2016) An album with rearranged songs, very well recorded and mixed. Sometimes it sounds like electronic music and it is incredible to think that there are no instruments playing. The arrangement and voices balance in the song Ayù is admirable as the atmosphere and harmony of the song Totem.
My daughter’s (and mine too) favorite track is Galo Cantou:
It’s a concentration of Brazilian music energy, voices and body sounds, and you can’t stand still while listening to it.
Fernando Barba has created a unique style to play the body, a new concept of creating music and perform popular music. His work inspire many musicians and teachers from all over the world. In his last years he has been through a brain surgery and he had to start a new life.
Thanks Barbatuques, thanks Fernando Barba for the great inspiration. All the best for you!!!
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