Album: Conjunto Roque Moreira, Sintonia Da Mata
Sing, Dance, Love Life
?Our role is to expand the variety of music in the world and to make our fans dance, uniting them in a love of life.?
Conjunto Roque Moreira drummer Anderson Almeida, in an interview with Wanda Waterman St. Louis
The group’s name is a loving homage to a 1970s Brazilian DJ named Roque Moreira (?Conjunto? just means ?group?) who only played the B sides of Brazilian records. His radio show also served as a connection point for listeners, a pre-Facebook social network where people could leave messages for one another. The show made a lasting impression on the residents of Piauí, where the show was broadcast (and, incidentally, where all the bandmembers grew up). The songs played in Moreira’s show influenced the band to the degree that listeners associated them with the DJ, and the name stuck.
Conjunto Roque Moreira’s music is joyful, infectious, deliciously complex, and superlatively danceable. The band’s live performances are amazing?they have a synergy that catalyzes the stage. And when you close your eyes and listen, you’ll find it hard to believe that so few musicians can produce such a multi-layered sound.
This band of Brazilian musicians is every bit as world-influenced as any self-righteous American pop celebrity, and probably more creative and socially conscious. In fact, in addition to the samba, reggae, classical, Indian, African, baião, xote, samba, embolada, repente, and bossa nova, the music also references American blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, funk, acid rock, British prog rock, and 60s folk anthems?challenging the notion that world music is any music That’s not American or British.
Another thing I adore about this band is their sideline work teaching underprivileged kids how to make and play a wide variety of musical instruments made from recycled and natural materials.
You can get their songs online here, and they’re free. don’t understand Portuguese? Not to worry. Remember ?Dominique?? ?Guantanamera?? ?99 Luftballons?? ?La Bamba?? ?Da Da Da?? Did we ever really have to know what those songs meant?
But although British chanteuse Stacey Kent has taught us that not knowing the language in which a song is sung in no way diminishes our aesthetic enjoyment, it still doesn’t hurt to have some idea what each song is about. In case You’re curious, here is a list of meanings (courtesy of band drummer Anderson Almeida):
? ??Essa é Daqui? (?This is From Here?) talks about taking pride in our state
– ?Vendedor de Cajuína? (?Cajuína’s Seller?) is about the power of
working people (Cajuína is a popular drink in Piauí, our state).
– ?Lee Van Cliff? is about this Brazilian vampire’s history.
– ?Musico a Música? (?Musician to Music?) portrays the power of music.
– ?Reggae Moreira? tells of Roque Moreira’s history.
– ?Magia Nordestina? (?Northeast Magic?) shows the way of life and the
difficulties of peoples in Brazil’s northeastern dry regions.
– ?Velho Monge? (?Old Monk?) talks about the main river of our city and
its importance to the fishers and other people who depend on it.
– ?Crepusculo? (?Twilight?) is about a meeting that begins when night
– ?Boi de Pancadaria? showcases a traditional Brazilian rhythm called
?Bumba Meu Boi?.
– ?NoNoNo? talks about political conscience. It insists that people
analyze the actions of politicians before deciding who to vote for.
– ?A Revolta dos que não Foram? (?The Revolt of Those Who Were Not?) is a
funny history of a little boy.
– ?Animal Animado? (?Animated Animal?) shows how songs animate the
Sintonia Da Mata manifests eight of The Mindful Bard’s criteria for music well worth a listen: 1) it is authentic, original, and delightful; 2) it confronts, rebukes, or mocks existing injustices; 3) it renews my enthusiasm for positive social action; 4) it gives me tools enabling me to respond with compassion and efficacy to the suffering around me; 5) it displays an engagement with and compassionate response to suffering; 6) it inspires an awareness of the sanctity of creation; 7) it provides respite from a sick and cruel world, a respite enabling me to renew myself for a return to mindful artistic endeavour; and 8) it harmoniously unites art with social action, saving me from both seclusion in an ivory tower and slavery to someone else’s political agenda.