What’s Happening in Pernambuco:
New Sounds of the Brazilian Northeast
What’s Happening in Pernambuco encapsulates the best of Brazilian music today, said Lily Moayeri in the Miami New Times. The collection, the last in a Brazilian-music series from David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label, interprets American music styles and blends them with what’s currently popular in the country. In trying to make old sounds appealing to new audiences, these artists from the northeastern state of Pernambuco have pioneered a new, “hip-swiveling genre.” Pernambuco is a “swampy, poverty-stricken state,” said Mark Espiner in the New Statesman. Its capital, Recife, was named the world’s fourth worst city to live in during the 1980s. A musical renaissance that began there in the 1990s blended punk, hip-hop, electronica, and indigenous music into what became known as the mangue beat movement. It is a “hybrid that is as startling as it is subversive.” This album is a sweeping “manifesto” that demands mangue’s inclusion next to bossa nova and tropicalia among Brazil’s most honored musical offspring. What’s Happening in Pernambuco embodies Brazil’s “true melting pot aesthetic,” said Greg Camphire in All About Jazz. On Mombojo’s “Cabidela,” live hip-hop drums and turntable scratches” give the sultry bossa groove an edge. Angular, prog-rock rhythms drive Cabruera’s “Erectuos Cactos.” Diverse but full of local flavor, What’s Happening in Pernambuco is a “sampling of dishes” from a region bursting with pride and personality.