:: These reviews were originally published
:: in Daniella Thompson on Brazil.


Techno Jackson

Marco Bosco’s radical yet respectful
transformation of Jackson do Pandeiro.

Daniella Thompson

3 May 2002

It isn’t easy to translate a legend into an idiom not its own.

Jackson do Pandeiro (1919–1982), who’s been enjoying a posthumous revival in recent years, has been the target of pop tributes on more than one occasion. Given the resurgence of forró as a dance music of choice among the Brazilian middle-class young, the proposition makes commercial sense, and BMG Brasil seized the opportunity to celebrate Jackson’s 80th birthday with the star-studded Jackson do Pandeiro, Revisto e Sampleado. With the exception of a few tracks performed by nordestino artists (Cascabulho with Geraldo Azevedo and Dominguinhos with Marinês stand out), the disc was a disappointment, dressing Jackson’s songs in rock, samba, or rap clothing but making little or no attempt to create a fusion between genres. In other words, the value added was negligible, and the covers fell far short of Jackson’s own interpretations.

Percussionist Marco Bosco takes a much more radical—and more successful—approach in his CD Techno Roots. He assembled a group of performers who’ve either worked with Jackson or have performed his music, divided the album into thematic sections related to Jackson’s life and work, and doused the lot with a host of traditional percussion instruments, programmed drumming & keyboards, sampled sounds, and electric guitars and basses. The result is infectiously danceable, eminently listenable, and cohesive in concept and sound.

That other nordestino legend, Genival Lacerda, sounds perfectly natural singing “Xote de Copacabana” to the accompaniment of a high-voiced female quartet and the ‘techno roots’ instrumentation. In “Forró do Zé Lagoa,” Dominguinhos and his accordion mesh as perfectly with Sizão Machado’s electric bass and Beto Martin’s electric guitar as they do with Bosco’s reco-reco, pandeiro, derbak, and agogô.

The disc holds more surprises. The repertoire, for one, isn’t a cookie-cutter ‘Jackson's greatest hits’ (“Coco do Norte” is the only overlap with the BMG tribute). The vocal interpretations can be unconventional in a refreshingly rootsy way (e.g., Fuba de Taperoá in “Chuchu Beleza”) or just plain exciting (Vicente Barreto’s “Cabo Tenório”). Marlui Miranda sings a Japanese song to the Gods, while Egberto Gismonti executes a piano-and-percussion duo with Bosco that involves no less than ten instruments.

The closing track features Jackson’s sampled voice telling the story of his artistic name over keyboards, zabumba, and Bosco’s percussion (twelve instruments this time).

Jackson would have approved.

Marco Bosco: Techno Roots
(Rainbow Records RR-RR 001/01; 2001) 41:44 min.

01. Xote de Copacabana (José Gomes) – Genival Lacerda
02. Rosa (Ruy de Moraes e Silva) – Jean Garfunkel
03. Cabo Tenório (Rosil Cavalcanti) – Vicente Barreto
04. Forró do Zé Lagoa (Rosil Cavalcanti) – Dominguinhos
05. Sina de Cigarra (Jackson do Pandeiro/Delmiro Ramos) – Miltinho Edilberto
06. Chuchu Beleza (João Silva/Raymundo Evangelista) – Fuba de Taperoá
07. Coco do Norte (Rosil Cavalcanti) – Bal Santana
08. Cabeça Feita (Jackson do Pandeiro/Sebastião Batista da Silva) – Biro do Cavaco
09. Cool Bem Natural (Silvio Anastácio/Marco Bosco) – Simoninha
10. Camigami no Uta [Canção dos Deuses] (Hoshi Yoshaki) – Marlui Miranda
11. Baião Malandro (Egberto Gismonti) – Egberto Gismonti
12. Jack Som (Marco Bosco/Marcelo Dino/Jackson do Pandeiro) – Jackson do Pandeiro


Copyright © 2002–2008 Daniella Thompson. All rights reserved.