Samba Tropicalia @ Anywhere Festival Review

  • Written by  Karen Hutt & John Hutt
  • Tuesday, 17 May 2016 13:52
Samba Tropicalia @ Anywhere Festival Review © Karen Hutt
Following on from the triumphant success of last year’s Bossa Nova Sunset Club, The View from Madeleine’s Couch return to Anywhere Festival and the modernist house in Burchell St, Carina with a brand new show entitled ‘Samba Tropicalia’.

2016 is the ‘official’ centenary of samba, although its roots go back much further, to West African rhythms brought to Brazil with slaves between the 16th and 19th Centuries. Slavery was eventually abolished in Brazil in 1888 — at this time many freed slaves migrated from the north-east of Brazil to Rio de Janeiro in the south, which acted as a catalyst for the development of this most accessible of musical genres in the early 20th Century. The band have broadened their focus to include highlights from the last 100 years of samba’s history, and as before, the music is interwoven with historical interludes, anecdotes, and footnotes from the band’s own musical development. A backdrop of archival and modern photographs of Brazil and the architects of samba accompanies each of the pieces played.

Starting appropriately with the first ever recorded samba, ‘Pelo Telefone’, the band wound their way through a selection of songs that were either important to the development of the genre itself, or significant in the band’s history, and also visited many iconic Brasilian institutions along the way, such as futebol (soccer), Carnaval do Brasil, coffee and being late! Highlights included 'Aquarela do Brasil', 'Na Casa do Campeão' (The House of the Champion), ‘Mama Africa’ (Samba meets Reggae!), and Kym’s own composition ‘The Marvellous Mr V’. 'Na Casa do Campeão' epitomises the spirit of samba, where the everyday or mundane is elevated to become extraordinary or remarkable, as in this case when directions to the house of a famous composer, given over the phone, are turned into a song.

Joining band members Anje West (on vocals and percussion) and Kym Ambrose (on the vibraphone) were regular guests double bassist Andrew Shaw, and everybody’s favourite drummer, Paul Hudson. Andrew and Kym supplied much appreciated virtuosic solos, and Anje’s beautiful singing—with impeccably accented Brazilian Portuguese—belies her Australian background. The infectious rhythms of samba defied us to stay still, and some guests took to the verandah to dance. As the poster so rightly says: ‘The sensual, pulse-pounding rhythms of samba shouldn’t be experienced via You-Tube’.

Photos from Bossa Nova Sunset Club's 'Samba Tropicalia'

Chris Osborne and Susan Bennett were outstanding hosts as always, delivering exceptional hospitality and kindness in their beautiful and architecturally significant home, providing wonderful food, wine, and convivial company.

The View From Madeleine’s Couch finished their main set with their own award-winning composition, the determinedly upbeat ‘Bom Fazer’, which means ‘It’s good to do’; it certainly is! For an encore, after enthusiastic calls from the audience, they took us back to the very heart of samba; with just two drums, two coconut shells, and a triangle, they created irresistible music out of virtually nothing… ‘de nada’ (literally, ‘it was nothing’) — and yet, it was everything.

1. Pelo Telefone, Donga & Mauro de Almeida
2. Aquarela do Brasil, Ary Barroso (samba exaltação)
3. Regra Três, Toquino & Vinicius de Moraes
4 Cafeteira Vermelha, Wade Gregory (choro)
5. Na Casa do Campeão, Joyce Moreno (directions to Hermeto's house)
6. Marvellous Mr V, Kym Ambrose
7. Mama Africa, Chico César
8. Doralice, Dorival Caymmi
9. Verde que te quero Rosa, Cartola
10. Pede Passagem, Sidney Williams
11. Bom Fazer (A West, OJ Newcomb, TVFMC)

2018 AIR Awards Nominees Playlist


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