Lugar Alto presents their very first release: the incredibly rare and absolutely stunning Homenagem, by Leonardo V. Boccia.
This is a forgotten gem from the eighties that examines traditional Brazilian themes such as choro, northeastern folk, and capoeira with touches of eighties electronics and new age.
Leonardo Boccia is a musician, multi-instrumentalist, composer, researcher and university professor of Culture and Society at the Federal University of Bahia, whose interests include sound studies, manipulation of sound media, audiosphere and aesthetics, musical theatre, audio culture and neuromusic.
Born in Italy, this respected academic studied music in Berlin, moved to Rio de Janeiro and established himself in Salvador where he was invited to research the northeastern music of Bahia. There he created the experimental group Macchina Naturale, an eclectic combo that performed regularly during his stay. In November 1980, Boccia participated in the first Instrumental Music Festival of Bahia as a soloist where he performed works of his own.
But it was in 1983 that Professor Boccia composed, directed and produced the LP Homenagem. With photos by renowned photographer and artist Mario Cravo Neto for the front and back cover of the booklet, the album presents new and original compositions for instrumental ensembles, such as: Choro Fantasia for guitar and berimbau -, Canção para Iracema, Homenagem and Lenda do Sertão. The LP was originally released on January 3rd, 1984, with a live performance in the main hall of the Castro Alves Theatre under the title Tribute to Brazilian Music, with the participation of vocalist Sueli Sodré, who contributes to the album, instrumentalists Zeno Millet and Onias Camardelli, accompanied by choreography and visuals.
Much of Homenagem examines the genre of Brazilian music known as Choro, or Chorinho, a genre which appeared in Rio de Janeiro in the 19th century. Choro is regarded as the first typically Brazilian urban music and, over the years, it has come to be considered one of the most prestigious genres of national popular music. Stylistically, it originates from Lundu, a percussion-based rhythm of African inspiration but also influenced by European genres. The instrumental composition of choro was based on the trinca flute, guitar and cavaquinho. Over time, other wind and string instruments were incorporated.
Here, in Homenagem, Professor Boccia deliberately mixes the old and the new, the traditional and the innovative; the album is the environment of Chorinho reconsidered and recontextualized, and its melodies and harmonies still capable of surprises. Just listen to Terra e Povo it has an almost proto-acid-house quality to it, while the synth washes on Mãe Natureza with the ethereal vocal stylings of Sueli Sodré ushering in the progressive quality of the album.
Too long out of print, new label Lugar Alto now offers you the chance to reappraise this fascinating reissue of yet another forgotten chapter in Brazilian music.
Text by Andy Cumming