Camarao – The Imaginary Soundtrack to a Brazilian Western Movie 1964-1974

Album Review | Analog Africa | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 3/5

When we think of the Forró parties that took place at the Caxangá neighbourhood theatre in the 1960s, its windows flung open wide, the infectious music dancing out onto the balconies in the hot tropical breeze, we might think of Reginaldo Alves Ferreira, otherwise known as Camarão, the originator of the first band playing in the Forró style. Opening with rowdy dialog, this album soon erupts into highly infectious dance rhythms from the Brazil of 1964-74, with the accordion very much at the forefront. Camarão, the name meaning ‘shrimp’ – not because he was particularly small built, but because he always arrived late and with glowing red cheeks – brings some of the raw energy of the dance music of Northeastern Brazil, with no less than sixteen mostly instrumental tunes. The addition of horns to this music was largely due to Camarão, who introduced the fatter sound to Forró, marking him and his band out as important figures in this genre. Compiled by Samy Ben Redjeb, founder of Analog Africa, this compilation was five years in the making, bringing together a showcase of music captured from six albums made during ten years of activity, which not only showcase Camarão’s musical ingenuity but also his sense of humour.