Review Maga Bo – Quilombo do Futuro

Maga Bo simultaneously pays homage to the Afro-Brazilian music's roots and brings them right into the future, marrying tradition with modernity, organic with electronic and global with local on Quilombo do Futuro.
4 Stars

Maga Bo has truly earned the title of “global producer”. Though born in the US, he has performed, recorded and travelled in over 40 countries and held artistic residences in Morocco, India, Ethiopia and Senegal to name a few. However, since 1999 he has lived in Rio de Janeiro and his latest album, the fruit of three years work, is a global homage to the music of his adopted homeland.

Quilombo do Futuro delves into the rich Afro-Brazilian musical heritage and transports it into the 21st century. The album revolves around a number of collaborations and original recordings made with Brazilian musicians, new and old, from capoeira master Mestre Camaleão and singer Rosângela Macedo to contemporary innovators like Lucas Santanna, Funkero and BaianaSystema’s guitarra bahiana maestro Robertinho Baretto. Maga Bo blends the traditional rhythms, instrumentation and vocal lines with his own incisive production skills. Genres like coco, maculelê, samba and jongo are woven with wobbling synths, booming sub basses and crisp 808 kicks. Quilombo do Futuro fills the space between organic and electronic, leaving you sometimes unable to tell the difference – this is in no small part thanks to the contributions of percussionist and long-time collaborator João Hermeto.

The album takes its name and inspiration from the quilombos, autonomous communities of fugitives and escaped slaves established under colonial rule in Brazil. In this light, this Quilombo do Futuro is a celebration of the autonomous global music community which interacts and influences across borders like never before. The album is awash with references to kuduro, hip-hop and soundsystem lineage, like on the dubstep inversion of “Dobrado” or the dancehall toasting contributions of Brooklynite Jahdan Blakkamore and Chicago’s finest Panamian MC Zulu on “Maga Traz a Lenha” and “Immigrant Visa”. “É Da Nossa Cor” equips the classic cantiga do capoeira for the dancefloor with its berimbau-sounding synth and driving kick drum, while “Piloto da Fuga” takes the opposite approach, tackling electro baile funk with organic percussion. However, it is the tracks that subtly infuse tradition with digital touches that work best such as “No Balanço da Canoa” and “Eu Vim de Longe”, which showcase perfectly Rosângela Macedo’s captivating voice.

Quilombo do Futuro’s marriage of tradition with modernity, organic with electronic and global with local, is fresh and exciting, but most importantly, it is done with skill and tact. Maga Bo has achieved something very difficult with this album: simultaneously paying homage to the music’s roots and bringing them right into the future.

Quilombo do Futuro was released on Tuesday 22nd May 2012 and is available from Amazon and iTunes

You can listen to the album below:

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