Boomkat Product Review:
Brazilian country music? Another incredible archive of historical finds that uncovers the early folk recordings that inspired Brazil's most popular contemporary forms.
Death is not the End continue their journey into the outer reaches with this collection of "música caipira", a form of Portuguese troubadour folk that later mutated into "música sertaneja", the Brazilian equivalent of US country pop. The earliest recordings here were made in the 1920s by folklorist Cornélio Pires, and sound as far from contemporary country music as you could imagine. Made up of gorgeous vocals customarily sung by a duo in parallel thirds and fifths, a Brazilian-Portuguese style known as "moda de viola", and the gently strummed viola caipira, a ten string guitar, the music is remarkable for its relative simplicity. There's none of the overblown hyper-emotionality that dominated US country music even at the very beginning, this expression, not unlike the music that bubbles from Brazil nowadays, is cheekier, more raw, and a lot more romantic.
Música caipira arose from north-eastern Brazil, the country's equivalent of an outback, and was routinely made by musicians using homemade instruments with ramshackle tunings. So when they sung stories of love and loss, the usual folk canon, they were granted an extra layer of artistic honesty thanks to this physical connection to the music they were making. And while it might not sound so linked to today's slick Brazilian pop music, we can still hear traces of this mischievous, DIY energy in plenty of Brazil's underground output - just listen closely and you can hear the same quirky attitude purposed slightly differently. Fantastic listening.