Track of the Day, World Cup Edition: Guess what starts today? The World Cup of course. If ever there was a draft to represent Brazil in the game of music Jorge Ben would undoubtedly be its number 10, its Pele, its futbol creative playmaker. I don’t say this lightly, but if anyone figured out God’s or life’s rhythm its Jorge. All of this makes it a f’ing shame that we’ve got Pitbull and J.Lo performing at what is supposed to be Brazil’s showcase to the world. From love, mysticism, alchemy, politics, soul power, and even football Jorge tackled all these subjects better than anyone, only equaled by Stevie Wonder, all using variations on his “God” guitar rhythm.
Once you hear that rhythm you’ll instantly know why its a Jorge Ben track. Its that rhythm that allowed him to hover and drive Brazilian music from its popular beginning in the early 60s through its unheralded denouement in the early 80s…no other artist, and I’ll include the greats like the Beatles, the Stones, Dylan, the Who, Brian Eno, Radiohead, Marvin etc., will ever touch the sheer quantity of amazing albums Jorge output through this period. You can blindly pick any album from this period and come back speaking the gospel of Sao Jorge. He invented samba-funk, tropicalia, and god knows how many other genres. Like Pele, if you stuck him on any team he’d make that team a champion.
“Camisa 10 a Givea” from 1976’s “Africa Brasil” is a football song homage to one of the best number 10’s ever, Zico from the Brazilian league’s Flamengo futbol club (also Jorge’s favorite team), and Brazil’s national team. For this album Jorge drew from two distinct, but very similar traditions one is American Funk and the other are the sounds of Angola and Ghana. This unique blend integrated to his own samba soul background created something distinctly Afro-Brazilian. This was such an important and revolutionary album. For a country that at the time was still in the mist of struggling with issues of race and power. In his own way, Jorge was the revolution and the dance at the same time. Here was a man in full flight and proudly displaying his background. I’ll touch more on Jorge later on in my Brazilian series…however, I can’t overstate enough how important Jorge is to music as a whole…and Brazil itself as a nation.
Further Listening: Any album from 1963-1981
– O Bidú: Silêncio no Brooklin (1967)
– Forca Bruta (1970)
– Negro e Lindo (1971)
– Solta o Pavao (1975)
– Africa Brasil (1976)
– Bem Vinda Amizade (1981)
World Cup Prediction of the Day:
Brazil v. Croatia: Brazil (Winner)