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Mr. Bongo To Release Long Lost Classic Of Brazilian Psychedelic Rock
Published July 17, 2008

Paebiru, the collaboration album by Tropicalia artists Lula Cortes & Ze Ramalho will finally be released on September 30.

At last, Paebiru, the legendary and rare cult Brazilian psycho concept classic enjoys an official (and loving release).  The album about the four elements (earth, air, fire, water) was lost in time in a warehouse fire in 1974, causing it to become a massively sought-after collector’s treasure, fetching up to $1500 for vinyl copies.


Paebiru is a collaboration between Tropicalia artists Lula Cortes and Ze Ramalho – a wonderfully off-kilter record, full of fantastic hooky and strange tunes that range all over the place, from full-on freak outs to quietly pastoral.  The entire range of 1970s hippie Brazilian musician culture is on view in this record.  It’s experimental, but it’s relentlessly fun.


Oddly, Ramalho has gone onto a solid career as a Brazilian pop singer and takes on most vocal duties here, while Cortes, who composes and plays on many of the tracks, seemingly emerges only when dinner talk turns to obscure Brazilian psych reissues.


It’s a very atmospheric blend, sung and chanted vocals are no more or less important than any of the other elements, which include classic acoustic and fuzzy electric guitar, piano, organ, flute, sax and a range of percussion.  It’s free and psychedelic, but just reigned in enough to keep it tense and exciting.


The closest comparison might be to combine Amon Duul with Sunburned Hand Of The Man and perhaps Double Leopards, if they lived on a commune together in Brazil and recorded while indulging in mass quantities of narcotics.


In Brazil from the late 1960s onward, Caetano Veloso, Jorge Ben, Tom Ze, and many other blended elements of psychedelic rock, jazz, indigenous folk, with more “classic” urban styles (bossa nova, samba, etc.) and instrumentation.  As much a political identity movement as a cultural phenomenon, Tropicalia artists as a whole were interested in using artistic expression to remove barriers and as a means of enabling other social freedoms.