Elevate Difference

What’s Happening in Pernambuco: New Sounds of the Brazilian Northeast

Pernambuco is at the heart of Afro-Brazilian tradition. Mangue Bit, the musical style of this album, weaves electronica with the centuries-old rhythm of maracatú _and the stanza-refrain pattern of _embolada. The name “Mangue Bit” combines the Portuguese word for mangrove with a computer bit. Although the waters are brackish, mangrove swamps are diverse ecosystems, and Mangue Bit reflects this fertility. The movement originated in 1991, when Fred Zero Quatro, a Recife musician of national renown, wrote the Mangue Manifesto. This lamented on the region’s poverty committed to a revival of the Recife arts scene, declaring that it was “time to inject some energy in the mud.”

This album blends the rootsy feel of Northeastern music with rock, rap, funk and electronica. It features Nacão Zumbi, the movement’s founding fathers, who sang with Chico Science as CSNZ – Chico Science Nacão Zumbi – in the movement’s early days. Junio Barreto’s “Amigo’s Bons” (Good Friends) typifies the form; this song is a social commentary on poverty, relying on the rhythm of maracatú and a refrain, experimenting with electronic sound throughout. Rhythmic and edgy, Mangue Bit is reminiscent of Candomble priestesses, who retained tradition older than they, and created something entirely new under oppressive circumstances.

Written by: Nathifa Greene, March 14th 2007

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