Mr Bongo Records goes deep for its latest release with a re-issue of Waltel Branco’s funky and latin soul-jazz-tastic soundtracks for…a trio of 1970s Brazilian soap operas – Assim Na Terra Como No Ceu, Passos Dos Ventos and Irmaos Coragem. Soap operas?! Hey – it was the 70s – shit was funky back then – after all – this was the decade when The Mohawk’s Alan Hawkshaw wrote the original theme for British kids’ school drama Grange Hill. In Brazil’s soap opera land though, the decade’s funkiness rubbed off on Branco in such a way as to produce what often sounds like the bastard offspring of blaxploitation OSTs and the works of Nico Gomez with a dash of Lalo Schifrin and occasionally something that sounds not a million miles from an Incredible Bongo Band track.
One standout is Diana – replete with nifty syncopated percussion and latinesque horns and guitars stylings. 200MPH is another and I Giorni Dell’ira takes things to another level entirely – apparently pitching itself somewhere between an Ennio Morricone western theme and a horns-dominated Bond theme. And who’s going to argue with that kind of heaviness? Certainly not the samplers – oh dear – look – it slipped out again. Seriously though – anyone thinking of sampling needs to get in line behind Lupe Fiasco, Slaine, Nehruvian DOOM and John Robinson – though actually – that’s not actually that long a queue – testament perhaps to the rarity of the originals these days.
(Out now on Mr Bongo Records)