May 16 2004

Think Of One: Chuva em Pó

Northeast Roots


Chuva em PóThink Of One is fun. A bunch of talented Belgian musicians, going their own way, exploring music they’re interested in. The band started in a colourful way. With a lack of patience to wait for concert invitations, the band gratefully used an offered truck to perform their music on. Their own mobile stage to play their fanfare based music. In a later phase the stage was extended with a trailer that carried a dj table, in order to be able to organize an after-show. With this colourful stage guitarist/composer David Bovée and his friends toured through Belgium and France. The first big project was to study Moroccan music, which resulted in three unanimously well acclaimed albums. They even won a BBC Radio 3 Award for World Music (category “boundary crossing”; 2004). For the band, that was a sign to move on and to study the music and the rhythms of Brazil’s northeast: frevo, maracatu, côco, afoxé. After a preparatory study the guys from Antwerp temporarily moved to Recife, Pernambuco, to gain practical experience. It was Alê Oliveira, manager of Mundo Livre S/A, who introduced the band deeper into the music of Recife. TO1 was extended with a few local musicians and thus the Chuva Em Pó project was realized. The result is a very surprising album.

Featured vocalist is Dona Cila do Côco (1939), pictured here in her hometown Olinda, with Recife laying in the far distance. A pure traditional vocalist who doesn’t shy away form very progressive participations, she can also be heard on “Caldo de Cana,” from Nação Zumbi’s most recent (self titled) album (read a review here). Drummer/percussionist Hugo Carranca is known from the band Sheik Tosado, one of the more successful bands at the legendary Rock in Rio III festival (2001). He is now focusing on traditional rhythms. Vocalists/ percussionists Cris Nolasco (Corpos Percussivos) and Lulu Araújo (Estrela Brilhante) complete the extended line-up.Dona Cila

The music on this album is based on the various rhythms of Brazil’s northeast. The côco is represented on “Côco Medley,” a style said to be originated in the seventeenth century, when Afro-Brazilians sang work songs, while breaking coconuts on the rocks, clapping a 2/4 rhythm with the coconut shells. Dona Cila do Côco makes this a song about her grandchildren. Siba (mainly known from Mestre Ambrósio) is guest on the weird maracatu “Tubarão” (Shark). Siba was asked to write lyrics about a shark, after David Bovée thought he saw a shark, while swimming in the ocean near Recife… The overall mood of the song represents the frightening moments of the band leader. Siba is lead vocalist, while the three singers take care of the traditional “answering.” In between the a cappella vocals are pieces of heavy rock music, accentuating the uneasy moments in the ocean. The song is a good example as how TO1 works, adding their own musical influences (rock, jazz, pop, funk) to the traditional rhythms of Brazil, making this an album with an original concept. Another weird example is the song “Paletó” (Jacket), a friendly bossa, with a beautiful horn arrangement. The shock comes when the vocals are sung in the dialect of Antwerp, with the Brazilian vocalists repeating in Portuguese. Nice trombone solo by Tobe Wouters, by the way. “Sideways Swimming” also has an air of bossa, in a very jazzy arrangement, with vocals reminding of the psychedelic pop music of the seventies. Eric Morel (saxophones), Tobe Wouters (tuba and trombone) and Dominic Ntoumos (trumpet) perform a great job here, as they actually do throughout this album. “Grito Grande” has a catchy shuffle, featuring the wonderful vocals of Dona Cila.  “Avô no Céu” is an afoxé based instrumental, with João Carlos Araújo on cello. “Maconha do Brasil” refers to Ary Barroso’s “Aquarela do Brasil.” The melody line is played on vague keyboards (Tom Pintens), hidden behind a strong rhythm and horns. The album closes with the superb “Frevo Pinguim,” also an instrumental. The horn section does great things again, while the tuba links this frevo even to the music of New Orleans, an out of style guitar solo, spoken words: it makes the song very theatrical; images made of music. Throughout the album the rhythm section (Tomas de Smet on bass, Roel Poriau, drums and the above mentioned percussionists) forms the constant link to Brazil. The music itself explores many variations of world wide popular music.

A very interesting album, not taking it the easy way. Demanding an open mind from the listener and rewarding that with a thorough study of the rhythms of Brazil’s northeast.

You can visit the band’s website for more information (in Dutch and English).



Think of One
Chuva em Pó
ZONK! Records/ LC Music LCM100036 (2004)
Time: 57’06”


  1. Disciplinador (traditional – arr. David Bovée)
  2. Caranguejo (David Bovée)
  3. Paletó (David Bovée)
  4. Maconha do Brasil (Ary Barroso – arr. David Bouvée)
  5. Tubarão (Siba – David Bovée)
  6. Maracatu Misterioso (David Bovée)
  7. Côco Medley (traditional – Dona Cila do Côco)
  8. Avô no Céu (David Bovée)
  9. Sideways Swimming (David Bovée)
  10. Pura Gasolina (David Bovée)
  11. Grito Grande (traditional – arr. David Bovée)
  12. Frevo Pinguim (David Bovée)