Our Record Shop
Our Cana Brava Records opened in 2005 in Pelourinho (the Centro Histórico) as a place to divulge Bahian samba chula and samba de roda (more about these on Two Black Americas). But to this day very little of this important music has been recorded, so Cana Brava is filled out with wonderful samba from Rio, music of candomblé, etc. etc.
And the truth of the matter is that most of the best of these styles is out of print or never made it to CD (and it sure ain’t gonna be streamed, unless it’s by us, which we do from a streamer on our first page), so — in addition to selling vinyl and independent CDs — we rip from out-of-print vinyl and make our own CDs (we have a CD printer to make them pretty) in order to always have specific exemplars of great music available (for if we sell something out of print, which most LPs are, then one never knows when or if we’ll get our hands on another one).
Here’s an example taken from the Tincoãs LP I used to make the banner above:
Os Tincoãs 1973, of Cachoeira, Bahia
A tincoã is a bird native to wide swathes of South America, called by many different names, including in Brazil “alma-perdido” (lost soul) due to its strangely moanlike song.
Os (The) Tincoãs was a trio from Cachoeira on the Paraguaçu River, singing songs of their own composition…based in candomblé…in a vocal style based in black American spirituals.
The principal songwriter was Mateus Aleluia who continues to compose and sing, enveloping listeners in beautiful axé emanating from the Roça de Ventura (the house of candomblé in which Mateus was raised) on the outskirts of Cachoeira.
The image on the CD above is not taken from the LP. The image on the LP is of the trio on a beach in something like faux capoeira pants. It was taken in Rio and is kind of a fake idea hatched by the record company’s art department. I decided to just go with a tincoã (teen-ko-ANH).
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you a link to download the music! Remember, pay what you want, only if you wish to pay!
This real Cana Brava is based on an imaginary record shop in a screenplay I wrote…and that record shop was in turn based on a real record shop that was located on 125th Street in Harlem, New York City…a place by the name of the Record Shack (sometimes the Harlem Record Shack, sometimes Sikhulu’s Record Shack; located across the street and down from the Apollo Theater). Owner Sikhulu Shange was (is!) a South African emigrant to the United States, and the screenplay’s character “Joe” was in part based on him. Sikhulu lost a fight against eviction…trying unsuccessfully to survive the gentrification of Harlem. He wound up selling his wonderful music from a table on the street.
Another seminal Harlem record shop that didn’t survive and some years closed down forever was Bobby’s Happy Shop (Bobby Robinson’s place, located down the street and around the corner from Sikhulu’s). Doesn’t sound like a cool place? Well think again! (Bobby produced Elmore James, King Curtis, the Shirelles, Gladys Knight & the Pips, and Grandmaster Flash, among many others.) Venerable Bobby was a client of mine back when I was in the music business in New York.
In part, our Matrix 121 is an attempt to fill in the enormous blank left by the closing of so many record shops, in the sense that these were places where we could go and get recommendations from staff and customers…
Above: Sodré (below), singing the first half of a chula which is then taken up by João do Boi and his brother Alumínio.
Sodré and João do Boi were inspirations for the Matrix. Yes, we have a record shop which divulges them and their music, but how many people even know that Salvador exists? And are willing to get on a plane to come here? And will find our shop down a cobbled side street?
So in the way that pre-Civil War African-Americans had their “Grapevine Telegraph”, origin of the expression “I heard it through the grapevine” (and inspired in the real, then-recently-invented telegraph, which few of them could afford to use), where people told people who told people who told people who told people…news spreading like wildfire through communities and from community to community…
We use the worldwide internet, where somebody can click on the page of somebody to recommend them, and that person can recommend, and that person can recommend…and I can recommend Raymundo Sodré, and Raymundo can recommend João do Boi, and João do Boi can recommend Aurino do Maracangalha, and Aurino can recommend…Trombone Shorty in New Orleans, who can recommend Quincy Jones protégé Justin Kauflin (an amazing young, blind jazz piano player), who can recommend…anybody anywhere.
Why do we call it a “matrix”? “Matrix ” comes from “mater”, Latin for “mother”. The original meaning was “source”. We’re a real mother for ya!
Our Matrix begins here…