Photo by Annette Kelm.
In discussion with Tyler Pope on “Batucada Capoeira” (1998).
So how did you come across „Batucada Capoeira“? What triggered your curiosity?
A friend and band mate of mine! I had bought this compilation when it came out in the late 90’s and I was introduced to it that way. At that stage we were always looking for stuff that was rhythmic, and raw, and had energy. Stuff that wasn’t punk rock that had the same energy and essence of punk, and I think that is in Batucada. There were a some other great reggae and latin compilations on Soul Jazz we liked, and so I’m pretty sure thats why he bought this one. We dubbed the vinyl onto cassette and listened to it a lot on our first tour of the states in ’98. It grew on me the more we listened to it on the long van rides during that tour, and I was eventually totally hooked.
What attracted you to a sound that is so predominantly rhythmic?
I’ve always been drawn to rhythmic music, my dad was a drummer and there was always a drum set up in the house so it started with that. As a youngster I was into Primus, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and that whole funk rock thing. That music primed me for getting into soul and funk music and all other kinds of tribal rhythmic music. This Batucada compilation was probably the first stuff I really enjoyed that was only drums and thats why it’s special to me and why I chose it for this article.
The sound of a Bateria can be quite a complex wall of sound. What is the difference between that and percissive music from other countries, like Mbalax for example, or other African styles? Or are they even not that different?
There are different drums, instruments and rhythms in Bateria then in Mbalax and other African percussion music, and I guess that is to do with the European influence in Brazil. There are no snare drums in African drum music like Sabar or Mbalax, and the snare drum comes from Europe. Also I’ve never heard such a large group of drummers playing in such an organized way in African drumming. But the frantic energy of the drum music of both countries is certainly similar.
Not every track featured here is as frantic as the drum workouts usually associated with it. What do you prefer?
I like this compilation because it has some of more frantic workouts and mixes them up with the more minimal tracks. It makes for a more enjoyable listen from beginning to end in my opinion. Some of the other Batucada records that I have, that are just the big frantic drum workouts are fun to listen to for a track or so, but maybe not as a whole record
Was the compilation a first glimpse, and you investigated further from there? The tradition of Batucada and Capoeira in Brazil is rich and sure offers a lot to listen to.
I checked it out because it was on Soul Jazz, and at the time it came out other Tropicalia records were being reissued like Tom Ze, and Os Mutantes other real arty weird quality music, so I was wanting to hear more stuff from Brazil. I haven’t really gone too deep, or at least deep by my standards with Batucada actually, this comp never really gets old either so if I want to hear something like this I just listen to this record.
Capoeira is a form of martial arts developed by slaves. I always found music interesting that transfers otherwise potentially critical encounters between rival groups of people into a battle of dance moves, be it breaking, vogueing, or Brazil’s current Funk Balls. Yet the music of „Batucada Capoeira“ is comparably more dynamic than its counterparts. Are such aspects important for percussive music?
Yeah, I hadn’t thought about that but I also like music made for these types of encounters, or battles. I love a lot of the new Vogue/ballroom club music, and recently have been really digging some of the Jersey Club battle tracks. The records for dance battles are more beat driven, there is more focus on the rhythms, and of course they have to be super funky since they have to inspire the dancers. The tracks for battles also cut away at anything that wouldn’t be just for the purpose of the dancing. That focused rhythm track energy I really like. As far as the dynamic nature of this music it is because it’s actually people there playing the drums while the battles are happening, so the drummers are feeding of the energy of the battles and vice versa. Read the rest of this entry »