Martinho da Vila: Disritmia
From Canta canta, minha gente (RCA Victor, 1974)

(Editor’s Intro: DJ Rani D hosts the bi-weekly “Soul in the Park” party at Footsie’s in Cypress Park and I’ve had the distinct pleasure to DJ with him many times over the last couple of years; he’s one of the guys who turned me onto cumbia and his ability to switch genres in the middle of a heated mix is a skill all its own. For his summer song post, Rani D takes us back to a swinging hammock in Santa Teresa. –O.W.)

    I remember the first time I heard this song I was laying in a hammock in Santa Teresa, a hilly borough in northern Rio. On this summer afternoon, a local sambista (who would frequently loiter the hostel I was staying at) wanted to listen to the records I had recently acquired, so he brought his turntable and janky speakers with him on this particular visit. As he thumbed through my records, most of which I hadn’t heard yet, I was eager to see which ones he decided to play – especially since he was familiar with some of the records, and he had a sense of what the gems were. When he finally played this album, I remember this song in particular really catching my attention. The lazy sway of the rhythm, the way the vocals were wafting out of the cheap speakers he was using – there was something perfect about the whole scene.

    Although this song is fairly straight-ahead and not hard to find, this style of samba at the time was still very new to me. I was immediately captivated by the sensual delivery of the lyrics, the steady groove and languid use of guitar and cavaquinho, the way the bass comes in, the tension that slowly builds as a result of the interplay between the vocalist and the chorus, all complete with a subtly epic ending using strings and harp.

    I can’t deny that L.A. summers are different from those in Rio. So whenever I feel the need to transport myself back to that summer moment on the hammock, I throw this one on, lay back, and enjoy the sway.

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