Friday, February 6, 2009

Memories of Brazil Classics 1

In early 1989 I was obsessed with two things, Detroit techno and a girl called Máiréad— who hated Detroit techno and liked Leonard Cohen. I was obsessed with both separately and then after much lurking and a fair bit of charm on my part (I have my moments) we started dating in the spring of ’89 in the Irish west coast city of Galway. Those were halcyon and innocent days and the west coast of Ireland was a beautiful place to be young and in love. It was also a beautiful place be completely bonkers about acid house, techno, EPMD and De La Soul.

And though endlessly I spun Juan's “Techno Music, “Spark” by Mia Hesterley and “Big Fun” by Inner City from the Techno, The New Dance Sound of Detroit comp on 10 Records, there was no swaying her, she wasn’t hearing it. But there was one record that we agreed on — and I did like Leonard Cohen and had spend some time listening to him years before — the first Brazil Classics album, which was compiled by David Byrne of Talking Heads. We would lie around in her little place in the Shantalla (Gaelic for old ground) district of Galway and listen to Caetano Veloso, Jorge Ben, Maria Bethania and Gilberto Gil. We’d dream about what Brazil was like, and how beautiful the people must be and how warm it was, knowing nothing of the turbulence that went on while this music was being produced.

And I often go back to this wonderful album and it always makes me smile, remembering a much simpler time with people who I’ve drifted away from, or who passed away. And though there is a certain amount of sadness attached to these thoughts there is no denying the life affirming force of this gorgeous music. And today you hear the influence of Tropicalia, as it is popularly known, in artists like The Bird and The Bee, Beck and Devendra Barnhart. When I hear it in my mind it's competing for air time with Juan Atkins, Ralphi Rosario and Liz Torres in a small terraced house while the rain comes down in sheets and dreams and laughing cut through the cold air. And in a weird twist of fate, twenty years later, Gort, a small town outside Galway, is thriving due to a recent influx of Brazilian immigrants. So now hurling (the Gaelic game not throwing up, smart asses) and samba live side by side in the wesht.



oshareneko said...

This CD is very special to me as well and your post made me smile.

BananaSpam said...

Oh thank you. I really appreciate that you read my post.

Good luck!