Música da Copa do Mundo: Brasilia

It's the Doppler Effect! No? Oh.

It’s the Doppler Effect! No? Oh.

Hey gringo, think you know your Brazilian music? You know nothing. Nothing. But you can fix that. There’s a guy, you go talk to him, maybe you pay him some money, maybe he’ll tell you some secrets. I’m not saying he will, I ain’t sayin’ he won’t, but he’ll take your money, that’s for sure. And then, he’ll look at you, his pupils peeping out from under heavy lids, and whisper in that coarse, gravelly voice that will haunt your dreams from this day forth, those simple words: “Your fly’s undone.” Avoid embarrassment, shatter your ignorance – read our series on Brazilian music, by musician and TV hard man, Al Kerr.

Brasilia – a new capital for a new era.  President Kubitschek had promised 50 years progress in 5, and part of that was the building of a new capital, designed by Lúcio Costa and Oscar Niemeyer.  Kubitschek’s promise came not long after Brazil’s loss to Uruguay in the 1950 World Cup final at the Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro – a loss that some say that set the country back 20 years…

A visually stunning city, Brasilia gives us a taste of what Canberra might have been.  The genius of Costa and Niemeyer considerably less hampered by bureaucracy than poor old Walter Burley Griffin.  I wonder if Niemeyer has a lake named in his honour?

Composer Antonio Carlos Jobim wrote “Sinfonia Alvorada” for the opening of Brasilia, sharing the workload with his old drinking buddy Vinicius de Moraes.  But that was just the beginning (openings usually are just the beginning).

As a new city, you wouldn’t expect Brasilia to have any rich musical heritage.  And you’d be right.  Except for the fact that the city keeps producing great music.

A great place to start is with the Clube do Choro.  Choro is one of Brazil’s great musical legacies, stretching back to the mid-1800s.  A precursor to samba, it has undergone a revival in recent years, and the Clube do Choro is dedicated to featuring some of the finest musicians in the country.

In Brasilia you can find the football stadium named for the great Mane Garrincha.  Said by many to be better than Pele, Mane was a star in the 1950s, admired for a rich repertoire of feints and dribbling skills.  Jacob do Bandolim paid homage in the wonderful choro A Ginga do Mane.

The poster is inspired by Niemeyer’s Cathedral of Brasilia.  Not so sure about the spiky ball and fish-shaped feet.

Drummer/percussionist Alastair Kerr has performed with many of Australia’s finest jazz musicians. He is recognized as one of Australia’s leading Brazilian percussionists.