Monday, May 22, 2006

live stuff: tropicalia remixed at the barbican, 19/5/06

To open the evening Orquestra Imperial (featuring Moreno Veloso, son of Caetano) do an excellent hour-and-a-half-long set with about twenty musicians on stage. More than once they complain that they are not used to people in the audience sitting and listening rather than dancing along. Ironically, in a set of mostly perfectly danceable Brazilian songs, it's an instrumental version of a song by stodgy prog rockers Yes--"Owner of a lonely heart"--which finally gets them to their feet!

The main act is a reworking of "Tropicalia ou Panis et Circensis", the landmark 1968 album which began the Tropicalia movement. Under the direction of Chief High Llama and Spanish guitar maestro Sean O'Hagan, the band is otherwise made up mainly of Brazilian musicians (from Orquestra Imperial, Nacao Zumbi and Moreno +2). Super Furry Animal Gruff Rhys hums along on a couple of numbers and the Bees also join in on some tracks.

The performance of classic albums is very much in vogue at present. I was particularly put in mind of the Brian Wilson's Smile concerts a couple of years ago. The music is similar in many ways, quite melodic with some unusual harmonies, and at times a bit surreal--the odd bicycle bell and an occasional siren. No fireman's helmets this time though...

Other sites:
- More about Brazilian events in the U.K. at
- A Guardian article on Tropicalia

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