André Sampaio

Afrobeat

By nature, Brazilian music is heavily infused with African syncopation. The rhythmic DNA of Africa crossed the seas and gave rise to Caribbean and North and South American rhythms. André Sampaio’s new record continues this lineage and adds to it. Originally from the neighborhood of Vila Isabel in Rio de Janeiro, his musical trajectory brings together elements that build on the unique musical diversity of the Diaspora.

A former member of the very popular reggae band Ponto de Equilibrio he has been Ogan Alagbe (pronounced Alabê – guardian of sacred music) since 2011 in the candomble house (Yoruba culture and religion in Brazil) that he has frequented for more than a decade in Rio de Janeiro. His second album, “Alagbe” has been heavily influenced by 70’s afro-rock. Just as Africa inspired the emergence of blues and rock in the USA, it went full circle by returning to the continent in the 1970’s via the work of bands such as The Funkees in Nigeria and Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou in Benin in a fertile encounter of American music with afro-beat and afro-funk.

Bringing Brazilian flavor with candomblé rhythms and lyrics, he adds a new level of diversity to the afro-rock menu. Dispensing the traditional horn section, the distortion and guitar solos stand out in the sonic space of “Alagbe.” In contrast, the guitarist’s right hand strums the chords with the dexterity and subtlety of a percussionist. Produced by the guitarist Cris Scabello of Bixiga 70 and mixed by Victor Rice (Dub Side of the Moon/two time Latin Grammy winner), this album is a new milestone for Sampaio, now entirely dedicated to his solo career.

The backing band on the recording of this album includes Mauricio Bongo (drums), Rico Bass (bass), Marcos Mauricio of Nomade Orquestra (keyboards), Joás Santos (percussion) as well as Lenna Bahule and Kuky Lughon (choir). The band provides an interesting counterpoint to the vocals of Sampaio and the dynamics of call and response vocals. The recod also includes great performances by Mauricio Fleury of Bixiga 70 (keyboards), Roberto Barreto of BaianaSystem (bahian guitar), DJ Nato PK (programming), Nelson Maca (poetry), Lenna Bahule from Mozambique, Sekou Diarra from Burkina Faso and Okwei Odili from Nigeria (vocals).

His research around african guitar, which led him to travel for two months in Mali, Mozambique and Burkina Faso in 2012, was already an inspiration for his first album, “Desaguou (2013).” “Alagbe” is an even deeper dive into this vast sea of influences from reggae, candomblé, capoeira and rock to various African and Brazilian rhythms. If afro-rock represents a new wave of contemporary Brazilian music, André Sampaio uses his guitar like a surfboard and is poised and ready to drop in. Listen!

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Tracks on Kafundó Records