This group deserve the recognition they're finally getting for their audacity and...
Jon Lusk 2004-03-17
Winning the 'boundary crossing' category in the 2004 BBC Radio 3 Awards for World Music has done this group of Antwerp bohemians no end of good in terms of publicity. Despite this being their sixth album, before the awards they were relatively unheard of outside Belgium.
Theirs is a diverse and unlikely mix of influences, including jazz, funk, reggae and punk rock, along with Belgian brass band music, which they combine with various world music elements. So far, this has meant a strong focus on Moroccan trance music, expressed over three CDs made in collaboration with a number of Marrakech-based musicians.
"Chuva em Po" is the result of a trip to Recife, Brazil, where the band hung out with local musicians and absorbed the rhythms of Brazil's musically rich North East, attempting a marriage between Latin and European carnival music.
The result is a mixture of efforts by songwriter David Bovée and adaptations of traditional songs in local styles such as afoxé, frevo, maracatú and côco as well as more familiar samba and bossa nova - given a weird 7/4 twist on "Sideways Swimming".
It's often tricky mixing original material with folkloric, and although they don't always pull it off, there are some delightfully exuberant moments here; the fluid swing of "Grito Grande", the elastic "Côco Medley" and even the closing chaos of "Frevo Pinguin". Some of the compositions meander a little; while the pulsing afoxé-based "Avô No Céu" works well as a transitional piece, "Maconha do Brasil" has an interesting groove, but less direction.
Local singer Dona Sila do Côco and percussionist Carranca, (on loan from Nana Vasconcelos), are the stars of the album but Think Of One certainly deserve the recognition they're finally getting for their audacity and open-minded approach.