As a recent covert to Facebook (yes, I resisted the dark forces for as long as I could), just like everybody else, one of the things I’ve been doing is checking out what my school friends back in Brazil are up to. Obviously, I’m still in touch with my close friends, but not so much with most of them, having been away for so many years. Now, as it turns out, quite a few of my school friends are involved with music in different ways – not so surprising, as I went to an ‘artsy’ school for most of my school career. So Facebook is also turning out to be a way to keep up with some of the latest news in Brazilian music (so much for rationalization...).
One of my good friends in high-school, Felipe Briso, is now a film director and video-maker, and one of the owners of video production company BigBonsai. In particular, they are the makers of a number of video clips by rising stars in Brazilian music (e.g. Marcelo Janeci). On the occasion of the 2010 World Cup in Africa, they came up with an interesting idea (sponsored by Nike): a new rendition of Jorge Ben’s classic ‘Ponta de lança africano (Umbabarauma)’, which tells the story of an African football player. (Accordingly, it comes from the 1976 album Africa Brazil.) For the new version, a stellar group of musicians/singers gathered around the master Jorge Ben, in particular the rapper Mano Brown. Mano Brown is probably the most emblematic of all Brazilian rappers, and leader of the most emblematic of all Brazilian rap bands, Racionais MC (I’m hoping to write a post on them next week, time permitting). The combo Jorge Ben-Mano Brown is (perhaps surprisingly) rather excellent, as you can see for yourself below.
Besides the video clip itself, they also put together a documentary covering the whole process, which can be watched on youtube: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 (unfortunately, no subtitles...). And for the sake of comparison, I’m posting the original as well as the 2010 version of ‘Umbabarauma’, so here they are. (There is also a version by heavy-metal band Soulfly, of former Sepultura singer Max Cavalera, for further comparison.)