Tom Ze: Estudando a Bossa; Nordeste Plaza (Luaka Bop)

 |   |  1 min read

Tom Ze and David Byrne: Outra Insensatez, Poe
Tom Ze: Estudando a Bossa; Nordeste Plaza (Luaka Bop)

Tom Ze was one of the stars of Brazil's Tropicalia movement in the late Sixties and his edgy music and approaches to song structure and instrumentation was collected by David Byrne for the Best of Tom Ze album on Byrne's Luaka Bop label in 1990.

It was quite exceptional (Ze used household appliances like a blender and vacuum cleaners to get certain sounds), and lead to a subsequent volume on Luaka Bop (which Bryne resigned from in the mid 2000's).

On more recent albums however Ze has explored more traditional bossa sounds (albeit in his own oddball way, on O Ceu Desabou here there are strange conversations as part of the song) with a view to reinvigorating that genre.

Helpfully there are translations offered and the lyrics are typically unusual: "Have you heard this so-called bossa nova, the new musical fad?" on O Ceu Desabou/The Sky Fell. "What idiotic whining, huh? I bet five bucks it doesn't take off in Brazil . . ."

He acknowledges the genre's masters Antonio Carlos Jobim, Jaoa Gilberto and other ("Come syncopated my love, come here in the swaying swing of Joao . . .") and throughout there are unusual voicings (yep, duck sounds in Filho do Pato/Son of a Duck) and whispers which flick from speaker to speaker.

Byrne appears on the very funny Outra Insensatez Poe!/Other Stupid Stuff I Did; the Beatles Od-La-Di Ob-La-Da provides the girl chorus in Roquenrol Bim-Bom/Rock'n'Roll Bim-Bom; and Mulher de Musica/Women in Music is almost a standard bossa, except it has unusual mouth music parts.

Tom Ze is never going to play a straight bat but this might be as close as he comes, but it is his twists and angles which make this a confusing, amusing pleasure.

Bossa nova for those who don't much the languid, ineffable cool of most singers in the style. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   World Music articles index

WOMAD ARTIST 2015: Barbarito Torres of the Buena Vista Social Club

WOMAD ARTIST 2015: Barbarito Torres of the Buena Vista Social Club

Anyone who has tried to translate between different languages knows the difficulties: it's not just vocabulary but nuance, idioms, inflection and humour which can get lost somewhere along the... > Read more

Zusha, Kavana (iTunes)

Zusha, Kavana (iTunes)

This Jewish trio from New York (and a number of guests) explore and interesting, if sometimes familiar, thread within Jewish music. But in their hands this is where tradition meets Downtown.... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

WINGS: WILD LIFE, CONSIDERED (1971): “And in the end . . .” there's a begin-again?

WINGS: WILD LIFE, CONSIDERED (1971): “And in the end . . .” there's a begin-again?

In the Beatles' Anthology DVD, their producer George Martin observed that no one – other than the four young men themselves – knew what it was like in the hurricane that was... > Read more

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT; THE RADIANT CHILD, a doco by TAMRA DAVIS (Roadshow)

JEAN-MICHEL BASQUIAT; THE RADIANT CHILD, a doco by TAMRA DAVIS (Roadshow)

The art critic Robert Hughes didn't have much time (but some sympathy for) New York painter Jean-Michel Basquiat. In a brutal essay in The Republic in '88 -- after the death of the painter at age... > Read more