Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Hurricane from Bahia: Ivete Sangalo + Samuel Formell of Los Van Van!

Here’s one of my all-time favorite bands; Los Van-Van de Cuba!
Led by the wonderfully creative bassist, Juan Formell, it is from this band that the celebrated drummer, Jose Luis "Changuito" Quintana came from. Changuito is credited with having co-created the “Songo” style of Cuban music and rhythm, by which means he adapted the traditional drum set into the context of the Latin music orchestral drum ensemble. When he left the Van-Van band in 1992, Juan Formell’s son, Samuel, took Changuito’s place, effectively commanding the drum chair while also manning the timbales, as well! It is Samuel who is featured in this swingin’ clip, filmed at the Karl Marx theater in Havana, Cuba. Enjoy, as Samuel sculpts a badass solo on timbales and drumset! ...smokin'!!!

Now, some more samba percussion, from a show titled , “Cidade do Samba”, which has become a favorite of mine. This clip features the special appearance of singer/composer Juan Luis Guerra, from the Dominican Republic, paired off with Brazilian singing and dancing hurricane, Ivete Sangalo. Between us, it’s a very bold move to attempt to sing and/or perform roots samba if you don’t know how to speak Portuguese or how the samba rhythm swings. But, to my surprise, Juan Luis Guerra pulls it off, without causing any major train wrecks. Then again, an even bolder move is to attempt to demarcate one’s own stage space while performing with Ivete Sangalo! That’s what’s really dangerous to do! This beautiful performer from Bahia takes absolutely no prisoners during her performance!

I am able to sense that Ivete, who naturally exudes tons of charisma on and off stage, wasn’t totally satisfied at having been paired up with the Dominican merenge star. One can notice how she challenges him to move his feet to the samba – a challenge that is quite common in the idiom and genre of samba! As Juan Luis doesn’t bite the hook, Ivete resolves to simply have her own fun on top of the samba groove while taking over the stage, effectively stealing the spotlight from the Caribbean brother. I can see from Juan Luis’ face that he is concentrating on keeping it together during this performance, as Ivete commands every square inch of their stage riser, except the spot where he is standing on. I'm afraid that he's learned the hard way that, while Ivete is a tough act to follow, it can prove to be even more hazardous to share the stage with this formidable performing powerhouse!

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