Luiz Paixão – Pimenta Com Pitú (2006)


Luiz Paixão
“Pimenta Com Pitú”
Released 2006
Label: Independent
Produced by Renata Rosa and Hugo Lins
Recording engineers: Zé Guilherme, Marcilio
Mixing engineers: Zé Guilherme, Térence Briand, Mathieu Pion
Mastered by Térence Briando and Mathieu Pion
Graphic layout – João Lin
Photos – Michele Zollini

Recorded at the Universidadde Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE) studios in January and February of 2005. Mixed at UFPE stuios and Nyima (Saint Jean de la Ruelle, France)

1 Baião de cavalo marino (Domínio Público)
2 Ponta de pedra (Sidrak)
3 Forró de cambará (Seu Luiz Paixão)
4 São Gonçalo do Amarante (Domínio Público)
5 Forró bem temperado (Seu Luiz Paixão)
6 Toada do cavalo (Seu Luiz Paixão)
7 Pimenta com pitú (Seu Luiz Paixão)
8 Arrumadinho (Seu Luiz Paixão)
9 Parari (Biu Roque)
10 Forró de vó (Seu Luiz Paixão)
11 Pisa pilão (Domínio Público)
12 Toada solta (Domínio Público)
13 Machucado (Seu Luiz Paixão)
14 Viuvinha (Sidrak)
15 Amor, amor, amor (Domínio Público)


Seu Luiz Paixão: rabeca
Sidrak: voz
Guga Santos: bombo, mineiro
Dó: pandeiro e vocais
Maica: vocais
Renata Rosa : vocais
Pepê: cavaco
Hugo Linns: contrabaixo
Ana Freire: triângulo
Carlos Amarelo: zabumba
Mina: pandeiro e voz
Biu Roque: baje e vocais
Guga Santos: mineiro e vocais



I probably should have shared this record a few weeks ago, but I forgot I had this album sitting around…. And it’s a shame, because it is a LOT more listenable than “Pastoril”, the other album seasonal Pernambucan music I put up on the blog the other week. But it’s not too late — this music is still being performed right up until Three Kings Day (the 6th) where some of the biggest events take place that feature CAVALO MARINO music. And that’s what this disc primarily is, music you would hear at a presentation of Cavalo Marino. What is Cavalo Marino? well, it is NOT this:

Cavalo Marino is a popular culture / folkloric art form that developed on the sugar plantations of Pernambuco and is a type of open-air theatrical performance that traditionally can have 63 different “acts” with up to 76 distinct characters (!!!). It is difficult to explain how it all links up to the ‘Christmas cycle’ with giving you a dissertation on the topic, but its a weird type of ‘magical realism’ that mixes characters from lives of the sugar plantation workers (ex-slaves or descendants of slaves, for the most part) with fantasy and religious homages to various saints and to God. Some of the principal characters are the roles of Matéus and Bastião, two ex-slaves (in blackface, even if they are actually, by ‘anglo’ standards, black..) looking for work and sharing the same woman (Catíta); the Capitão (‘coronel’, landowner, political big cheese of an area); the Soldier (policeman, overseer); the Caboclo (indigenous spirit, in this case, related to afro-indigenous religious cults), and an ever-present anthropomorphic bull / guy in a cow-costume. All of these characters have spoken and sung lines, and improvise to a degree while interacting with the audience in a spectacle that is satirical and critical of the harsh circumstances in which this ‘folkloric’ tradition was born, and also somehow religiously reverent. All of this is also said to be the Pernambucan variation of “Bumba-Meu-Boi”, a tradition which is found throughout the Brazilian northeast in states such as Maranhão and Ceará.

I would not necessarily call this “holiday music” but it is ‘seasonal’ in that it truly is rare to hear this music outside of the Christmas seasonor “Ciclo Natalino’ (although you will begin to see presentations popping up as early as August), except perhaps in the small town of Condado, Pernambuco, where the tradition started. Why is it called ‘cavalo marino’, literally “sea horse”?? Well, nobody knows for sure, although there are a variety of legends and tall tales about it. Mostly though, they involve a sea-captain on shore leave or ex-sea captain who was known to ride around on a horse a lot, earning the nickname ‘cavalo marino.’

It is much easier to describe this all with visual aids, here are a few You Tube clips

One, performed partly on a stage and with some academic-types talking about how necessary it is to “protect” this music although I will concede their point as much as they are dealing with the tricky area of ‘public domain’…

Here is another video filmed at the ‘terreiro’ (really in this case, a full-fledged performance space) built by the family the now-departed Mestre Salustiano in Tabajara, Olinda. The big gathering is on December 25 but there will is usually another one around January 6th on the ‘Festa dos Reis’ which actually lasts three days. I have been at some of these events but thankfully I am nowhere in the sidelines of this video, my apologies if YOU are


The musicians on this record are a mixture of old veterans of this music and younger ‘roots’ musicians from the Recife area. It is one of those, MPB singer, actress, and faux-Pernambucana oddball Renata Rosa, who organized this album and produced it for Paixão, perhaps as a thank-you gift for having taught her how to play the rabeca and thus build a career off of pretending to be the daughter of exploited, sunbeaten cane cutters. I give her a lot of credit for keeping it free of any attempt at commercializing the sound — this is truly what it sounds like when you hear it ‘in the street’ (so to speak). During the theatrics, a bank of seated musicians play throughout the night, and these things usually go all night until dawn. Lead by one or several players of “rabeca”, sort of a country-fiddle but constructed a bit differently, and accompanied by pandeiro, the reco-reco (gourd or metal scraper), shaker, and an inflated goat-bladder used to beat out the rhythm. Several of the oldsters here learned under Mestre Batista, allegedly the first (or at least one of them) to develop this artform into the way we know it today. Biu Roche, who sings and contributes a few original contributions, passed away just shortly after Carnaval of 2010. Luiz Paixão also contributes original material alongside compositions from fellow mestre and friend Sidrak, as well as songs considered ‘dominio público’, and some of them have the style of baião or coco but mostly they end up sounding like variations on cavalo marino music anyway.

The CD booklet has some stunning photographs and a nice graphic layout (the scans don’t do it justice), and a well-written essay by Renata Rosa as well. This is already become something of a rarity, released independently but with various donated funds (from ‘patrocinadores’ who love to stamp their logos on album jackets, like Petrobras or Banco do Nordeste).

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  1. Flabb you post some monster stuff. It seems every time I get ready to make a comment to this site, you post another killer and my thoughts change. Som/3 absolutely loved. Dom Salvador e Abolicao – Som, Sangue e Raca (1971), as a big fan of Banda Black Rio I was blown away. Terry Callier, smooth, Roda de Samba, Joe Henderson, Baby Huey, Paulo Moura, even Cal Tjader, who I hadn't even heard of, and I had the pleasure of seeing Lionel Hampton and Roy Ayres shows live, just killing it. So you can imagine my surprise on that little gem. And then to later find out that CT did a an album called Amozonas with some of my favorites on that album like Hermeto Pascoal and George Duke to name a few. And the list of great artists on this site goes on and on. There's no way I could check them all because you are one heck of a prolific blogger of music. Hell he even posted Fela! Legend has that when James Brown, on one of his concert trips to Africa in the 70's, when he first heard the sound of Fela and his band, he co-oped his sound into his music sound when he got back in the states!

    I agree with just about everything JT says in his posts. Which is kind of weird. I really never did listen to much of the modern day MPB because I have a buddy in Salvador, Pardal who turned me on to the old school stuff like, Choro, Samba da Roda, Pixinguinha, Donga, Cartola, Nelson Caviquino and soooo many others. So it's like fun way of getting an education in the culture and music of Brazil which modern day MPB does not offer.

    Flabb, on this recent post, Luiz Paixão "Pimenta Com Pitú" is this the beautiful music of Maracatu or something similar?

    Did I mention that I love the music Clara Nunes? And……

  2. hey hey Tyray thanks so much for the nice comment. I *swear* that I published a very similar one you wrote in the last week, but maybe it got buried and I never hit the `publish` button?? If so, I am sorry — because I did read it, and appreciate it! If I did't have `comment moderation` turned on, there would be all kinds of spam and what not.

    It makes me happy that you`ve seemingly gotten so much out of following this blog! I keep meaning to bring out more Cal Tjader, he is a hep cat who recorded a lot of class-A material.

    This Luiz Paixão album is not maracatu although it comes out of the same, shall we say, 'culture complex' to use an outmoded word from Julian Steward, that includes 'maracatu de baque solto.' There are two (very) different styles maracatu: maracatu "rural" or maracatu de baque solto (also once known as 'maracatu de orquestra') and maracatu nação (or maracatu de baque virada). Although the two have some interwined historical roots, they are different enough in strictly musical terms that you could make a fair argument that maracatu 'rural' has more in common with the 'violeiros' or 'repentistas', because both emphasize the centrality of improvised verse with fairly complicated meter and rhyme schemes, rather than distinct compositions. Hopefully when I've had more sleep I can try to rewrite this so it makes sense, or better yet post and actual record of maracatu de baque solto..

    I would love to post Fela's entire discography but the interwebs are saturated with it. His is a hipster icon now, which I guess is kinda cool but also funny. I first heard Fela when I was about 13 or 14 on a mix tape given to me by this older bass player I knew. I didn't know what the hell it was but I wanted to hear MORE of it. It took me years, literally, to track down more of his records. Now all that stuff is as close as a mousepad. Sometimes I lament the thought that the 'joy of discovery' of new music may just not be the same when people are becoming more accustomed to instant e-gratification. But your thoughtful post here has made me want to .. KEEP HOPE ALIVE! or something. thanks!

  3. Ah, i see it now — you wrote your comment on New Years Eve. I was hanging out at a gas station waiting for a tow truck at the time. My life is one constant party, who needs big end-of-year-celebrations anyway.

  4. I don't know how I did it, but I also have another moniker, jazztech. Hah! Well at least you know who I am. And while I'm here….I am an old school audiophile who USE TO troll around used cd and album shops. I don't do that to much anymore! I just recently used Exact Audio Copy and Foobar for the first time and now I'm figuring how to do the video thing, sheesh! Your'e a cross between a musician, electrical engineer and well, and audiophile. You must have a jack in the back at the base of your head, like Neo!

  5. Hey Flabber, I wanted you to know that I just HAD to share this marvelous video with my buddy Pardal. Here is the link.

    I hope this simple note/line to you puts you in better and lifts your 'spirits' even if it's just a little bit. KEEP HOPE ALIVE! -Ty***

  6. Hi.
    There's no link to FLAC files.
    Both (mp3 and flac) are the same indeed.
    Obrigado, thanks, gracias, mesmo assim.

  7. oi Napoleão, thanks for pointing this out. As I mentioned in the comments for my most recent post, Mediafire has implemented a really crappy "clipboard" interface wherein half the time the links do not actually copy correctly. Now that I am aware of the problem, hopefully it will happen less often now. I'll fix this Luiz Paixão link later today, thanks!

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