Brazilian Soccer Celebrated in Song

I bought a caxirola the other day. This is the official noisemaker for the 2014 World Cup games hosted in Brazil. Alas, they've already been banned from the games because supposedly they can be hurled like missiles and could hurt somebody. Nonetheless, it's time for World Cup! This week's show celebrates Brazilian Futebol and its music.

I've been to Brazil numerous times. Once I went up to Rio's Jardim Botanico to see the aboriginal forest at the top of the hill. I experienced a stark contrast to beauty of flora indigenous to Brazil as I saw a man holding a machine gun guarding the favela. Click here to read more. It was Brazil past and present.

The other night, I stayed up way past my bedtime because I switched from Animal Planet to Turner Movie Classics. The 1959 classic Black Orpheus was just beginning. I've seen this film many, many times. It's based on the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Brazilian luminaries like Caetano Veloso have criticized the film for not showing what favela life is like now. Well, of course things are different: 1959 was before drugs, gangs, and the underground economy. Plus the film was, after all, based on an old myth. I watched entranced, and appreciated the historical snapshot of Rio in the late 1950s.

And so we begin this week's show with music contrasting Brazil past and present by hearing Luiz Bonfa from the Black Orpheus soundtrack. We cut away to the 2002 Walter Salles film, Cidade de Deus (City of God), which presents a very different picture of Rio's favelas. Cidade de Deus is the name of one of Rio's hilltop shanty towns.

We next hear the charme, the favela funk (no resemblance to American funk) of a big star named Karol Conka from Curitiba, Brazil. Her song "Boa Noite" (good night) is a huge hit amongst Brazilian youth. It's a far cry from the genteel bossa nova or samba of the past. Charme is aggressive, narcissistic, anti-establishment, and bling-oriented. Personally, it's not my thing.

Ironically, there aren't any good Brazilian songs on the new FIFA 2014 soundtrack. It's probably because FIFA (Fedération Internationale de Football Association) is universally despised. Here is British comedian John Oliver talking about FIFA. Very funny stuff!


Next, we turn to some great songs of the past. We follow with Pele winning the Cup for Brazil vs. Italy 1970, Wilson Simonal and his hit from that same year, "Aqui e O Pais de Futebol" translated to "This Is The Land Of Futebol (foo-chee-bowl)". Hermeto Pascoal gives us a one-minute take on a famous Brazilian futebol announcer, we hear the great Pixinguinha with a song from Brazil's 1946 win, "One to Zero". We hear the wall-of-sound batucada samba drumming, then Skank's huge hit.

Brazil's Shakespeare, the great Chico Buarque, then sings his paean to futebol, "O Futebol", in which he tells us that artists should hone their craft like great soccer players, setting their sights on goals like Zen archers. Brazilian saxman Leo Gandelman plays his soundtrack from Garrincha, named after the player many consider the greatest dribbler in futebol history. Garrincha was born with a crooked spine, one leg longer than the other, but these birth defected never prevented him from being one of Brazil's greatest players.

"Flamengo Goal" refers to one of Rio's futebol teams. On my first day in Rio, I watched them play the Vascos, another local team. The Flamengos played with more style and flair, but the Vascos won anyway. Police on the aisles of the huge stadium stood between Vascos and Flamengos to prevent fights from breaking out. After this track, songs from Brazilian greats Caetano Veloso, Jorge Ben, and Elis Regina and Pele follow.

Here is a clip of the great Pele securing Brazil's win against Italy in 1970:

Here's Pele with Garrincha vs Sweden 1958 (the b&w clip is not very good but I love the announcing and these two greats are poetry in motion). I also love the sound and cadence of classic Brazilian futebol announcers.

Brazil defeated Croatia 3-1 yesterday on Day #1. Today brings a really big game: Cameroun vs. Mexico at 9 am PDT.

Rhythm Planet Playlist: 6/13/14

  1. Luis Bonfa Et Al / A Felicidade / Black Orpheus OST / Verve
  2. Seu Jorge / Convitte Para Vida / City of God OST / WEA
  3. Karol Conka / Boa Noite Batukfreak / Mr. Bongo
  4. Various Artists / Pele Goal vs. Italy 1970 / Musica De Futebol / Mr. Bongo
  5. Wilson Simonai / Aqui E O Pais De Futebol / Mexico 70 / Unknown
  6. Hermeto Pascoal / Tiruliruli / Logoa Da Canoa / Happy Hour
  7. Pixinguinha / 1x0 Um A Zero (One To Nothing) / Musica De Futebol / Mr. Bongo
  8. Luciano Perrone / Tamborins Envenenados / Batucada Fantastica #3 / Whatmusic.corp
  9. Skank / E Uma Partida Do Futebol / O Samba Pocone / Sony BMG
  10. Chico Buarque / O Futebol / Musica De Futebol / Mr. Bongo
  11. Leo Gandelman / Abertura / Garrincha Estrela Solitaria (The Lonely Star) OST / Farout Records
  12. Unknown / Flamengo Goal / Musica De Futebol / Mr. Bongo
  13. Caetano Veloso / Hino Da Bahia / Musica De Futebol / Mr. Bongo
  14. Jorge Ben / Ponta De Lanca Africano (Umbabarauma) / Musica De Futebol / Mr. Bongo
  15. Elis Regina & Pele / Perdao, Nao, Tem / Musica De Futebol / Mr. Bongo





Tom Schnabel