Today I attended a performance of the locally based group Ache Brasil. They are a performance group originally from Brazil who do a fusion of Brazilian music, dance and capoeira (a combination of Brazilian martial arts and acrobatics).
The performers explained a bit about the origins of their music, which started in the slave fields; the guards were afraid to allow the slaves to do any form of martial arts or fighting, for fear that it would give them enough practice that they could use these skills to escape. Instead, the slaves ended up incorporating their fighting moves into a dance which they would practice in full view of the unsuspecting guards.
But it was the music which really intrigued me. Dave's been listening to a lot of Brazilian music over the last five or ten years, acts like Os Mutantes and Gaetano Veloso. The influence of the traditional Brazilian music as played by Ache Brasil is readily apparent in the more contemporary Brazilian acts.
Ache Brasil was up for a Juno for best live act; they also have a cd out called Ecosda Mangue. And if you're into doing something a bit more physical than just listening to music, maybe you can try out some capoeira - in Vancouver, it's taught at the Capoeira Ache Brasil Academy.
Go to www.achebrasil.com for more details.