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Far to the north-east of Brazil’s twin musical capitals of Rio and São Paulo, lies the city of Recife, in the state of Pernambuco. During the country’s lengthy and oppressive military dictatorship (1964-1985), a cadre of like-minded and socially conscientious musicians were quietly building their own music scene, away from the glare of the censors.... for a time, at least.
Strongly influenced by the psychedelic music coming out of America and Britain (and further inspired by visits to India and Morocco), local musicians such as Zé Ramalho, Lula Côrtes & Alceu Valença were to be the vanguard of their own, wild, hedonistic Psyche-scene. There would be sitars and lutes merging with traditional Pernambucan percussion; constant collaborations and ethereal art-collectives; experiments with ‘found-sound’ colliding with earthy flutes and driving backlines – all helped along by men wearing lipstick, acid, mushrooms, marijuana, suggestive dancing and plenty of onstage kissing.
The songs and artists featured on this album are a fittingly schizophrenic selection. Psychedelic Pernambuco finds crazed ethno-punk giving way to tweaked Americana; mystical jungle-folk stands alongside cocaine-fuelled fuzz-rock, and acid-raga trance segues into mutated proto-disco.