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Amazonia: Festival and Cult Music from Northern Brazil CD

Amazonia: Festival and Cult Music from Northern Brazil CD

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From Belem do Para in Brazil, gateway to the vast hinterland of Amazonia, this collection offers a fascinating insight into Amazonian religious ritual through recordings made during actual ceremonies and festivals of the Batuque and Umbando religions in northern Brazil. Good notes.

A propulsive, lively field recording by Morton Marks mostly recorded in the port city of Belem do Para in 1975, this CD documents Afro-Brazilian religious music.  Historically, Para's economy largely depended upon Amazonian forest products, such as drugs, medicine, wood, and spices.  Unlike other places in Brazil, it has absorbed influences from the indigenous Amazonian interior as well as Portuguese and Umbanda-Yoruba-Angolan-African culture. 

The prominent drums here are hollowed-out tree trunks with deerskin called carimbo drums.  Another drum provides a groaning bass line by passing a piece of palmito through a wooden box.  The player wets his hands in a bowl of water kept nearby, reaches into the box, and pulls on the palmito, creating the groan by friction.  Gongs and rattles are also used.  This is a fantastic recording of various religious ceremonies and festivals, with large crowds playing driving drum rhythms, clapping, shouting, singing haunting chorus melodies, and dancing, and possession sequences that occur among devotees of the batuques.  Excellent release with in-depth liner notes.

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