Banda de Pifanos de Caruaru (1979) Discos Marcus Pereira (MPL 9394)

This is a repost of an old post that mysteriously disappeared. It’s only a few days before the feast of São João but the bonfires have been kindling in Northeast Brazil for the entire month of June, so this is a late start. With any luck I might have a new post with actual new content before the 24th.

Banda de Pífanos de Caruaru
Released 1979 on Marcus Pereira (MPL 9394)

1 Vira-folha
(J. Biano, Sebastião Biano)
2 Pipoquinha
(Sebastião Biano)
3 A briga do cachorro com a onça
(Sebastião Biano)
4 Marcha dos bacamarteiros
(J. Biano, Sebastião Biano)
5 Xamego dos “pife”
(Sebastião Biano, Gilberto Biano)
6 Feira do troca-troca
(J. Biano, M. Alves)
7 As espadas
(Sebastião Biano, Amaro Biano)
8 Pipoca moderna
(Sebastião Biano, Caetano Veloso)
9 Os Tupinambás
(O. Almeida)
10 Cavalinho, cavalão
(O. Almeida)
11 Valsa da pastora
(Sebastião Biano, Benedito Biano)
12 Alvorada
(Sebastião Biano, Benedito Biano)
13 Novena
(Sebastião Biano, Benedito Biano)

Vinyl original pressing -> Pro-Ject RM-5SE turntable (with Sumiko Blue Point 2 cartridge, Speedbox power supply) > Creek Audio OBH-15 -> M-Audio Audiophile 2496 Soundcard -> Adobe Audition 3.0 at 24-bits 96khz -> Click Repair light settings, additional clicks and pops removed in Audition -> dithered and resampled using iZotope RX Advanced -> ID Tags done in foobar2000 v.1.0.1 and Tag & Rename.


I am not so conceited that I can’t admit that the first time I ever heard these guys was in the opening to Gilberto Gil’s “Expresso 2222” album. It blew me away then and still ranks among one of the best album openers of all time for me. I had never heard anything quite like it. So when Gil receives a shout-out in the liner notes from Marcus Vinícius, it’s a deserving one (although he is careful to point out that Gil didn’t “discover” them). The band was founded in the 1920s, and allegedly was made to play for Lampião and his band of merry murderers / folk-heroes during the days of cangaço, and was always a ‘family venture.’ The early seventies were a particularly busy time for the group, as they got picked up by one of the large music festivals, courtesy of the enigmatic Sidney Miller (who had more or less withdrawn from writing and performing at this point), and also being included in the early volumes of the vaguely-ethnomusicological series of albums put out by Marcus Perreira that began with four volumes dedicated to “Música Popular do Nordeste.” At this point they began recording their own long-players for a handful of labels, and by 1979 had arrived at this one, their fourth LP, and this time for Marcus Perreira once again. The rest of the album does not disappoint, even if the inclusion of ‘Pipoca Moderna’ here seems like gratuitous (albiet appreciated). The final tune is a novena, bringing the ensemble back to some of its roots when it played at such religious festivities in their native city of Caruaru and its environs. I’ve split the track up into two parts from the original single-banded version on the LP, with the second half beginning during the ‘auction’ section of people taking up a collection for São Sebastião.

These tunes are surprisingly varied and fresh coming from an ensemble based on such a relatively simple sound. When you pay attention you realize just how damn TIGHT these guys are and the levels of improvisation that are worked into the compositions. The real show-stealer here, the one that will make you “a believer”, is “A briga do cachorro com a onça”, whose seven intense minutes also make it the longest track on the record. The dynamics at work are pretty unbelievable. And the title (The fight between the dog and the jaguar) is hinted at musically without my having glanced back at the album jacket — I was sure I was listening to a sound track of a ‘fight scene’ involving at least ONE animal.

Not an ‘audiophile’ vinyl transfer here, folks – this is a well-played copy. But I hope you enjoy it.

on to the comments…

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  1. the band is amazing, you are right. i'm very happily listening to the fight song, right now!

  2. Lovely LP, thanks for posting.

  3. Good vibes.
    Thank you.

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