During the past decades, world music, including Brazilian music, enormously gained popularity in Europe. More often you also hear a band formed with local musicians, adopting sounds from Africa, Asia and Latin America. Sometimes guest musicians are invited to add to the originality of the music. For instance, in Belgium you have the band Think Of One, who recently released a Brazilian orientated album with guests musicians from Recife. Another example is the relatively new band Electro Côco from Holland. However, the concept is much different from that of their Belgian neighbours. Where as Think Of One is more like a group of musicians exploring different kinds of world music, Electro Côco focuses on Brazil only. Having Brazilian music as a lifestyle, the music sounds more natural, more spontaneous.
The band is formed around the talented Viviani Godoy, a singer/ actress from São Paulo. In the early 90ies she moved to Amsterdam, Holland, the city she fell in love with a bit earlier. She improved her vocal techniques at the Rotterdam conservatory (where singer Josee Koning was one of her teachers) and performed in different bands until she met Alain Eskinasi, an Amsterdam born producer/composer/musician (bass, guitar, keyboards). Experimenting with Brazilian music and dance music, Viviani suggested the addition of a DJ. At first a little skeptic, Alain Eskinasi admitted that it worked remarkably well. DJ Graham B is from England, but already had a good reputation in Amsterdam, where he took care of the popular Club 802 Jazzbop Parties in the legendary music temple Paradiso. The sound of Electro Côco was complete now.
As the name of the band already suggests, the music is made for dancing; electronically propelled by the use of samplers and other sound effects. On this cd, Côco do Mundo, compositions by Chico César, Zeca Baleiro and Tom Jobim among others are given surprising arrangements, adjusted to the very own sound of Electro Côco. The wonderful vocals by Viviani, attentively supported by background vocalist Suzanne Pijpers, are accompanied by a cleverly arranged instrumentation of both acoustic and electronic instruments.
Maybe Jobim’s composition “Brigas Nunca Mais” is less compatible with the arrangement it got. The song is a standard in Brazilian repertoire. To hear it in this form sounds a bit odd. In contrast to the title song of the album “Côco do Mundo.” That is a perfect rendition of a typical Zeca Baleiro composition. It still sounds like a Baleiro song. Also the other composers seem to be very well chosen for the project. But with a band that has such an own sound as Electro Côco, it is always interesting if the musicians compose too. Like “Terra e Água,” a splendid trademark song for the band, featuring a very good balance between acoustic and electronic instruments. The acoustic guitar solo sounds wonderful, driven by a danceable beat.
This debut album is very entertaining. Live on stage the band always succeeds in inspiring the large majority of the audience to dance; everyone has a good time when Electro Côco is performing. On stage the trio is extended with Mischa Kool on the acoustic bass, Bulgarian percussionist Kalin Veliov and the earlier mentioned background vocalist Suzanne Pijpers. It wouldn’t surprise me if this band gained success also in Brazil itself. The skilled musicianship and the vocals are in accordance with Brazilian custom. An infective mix of côco with contemporary dance music, answering to the demand for electronically enhanced music; definitely worth to check out!
Côco do Mundo
Mas Que Nada Music CTC-2990456 (2004)
- Côco do Mundo (Zeca Baleiro)
- Palafitas (Chico César – Tata Fernandes)
- Quem Vai Quem Vem (Cátia de França)
- Eu Acredito (Escurinho)
- Brigas Nunca Mais (Antônio Carlos Jobim)
- Arte da Criação (Alain Eskinasi – Graham B – Viviani Godoy)
- Cazumba (Zeca Baleiro)
- WWW.Sem ( Zé da Riba – Romildo Soares)
- Terra e Água (Alain Eskinasi – Viviani Godoy)
- Se Eu Fosse Mais do Que Posso (Chico César – Tata Fernandes)