‘Retro samba from Rio’s funkiest big-band revivalists’ MOJO
‘Orquestra Imperial revisit the stately sway of 1940s and 1950 Rio with funk and electronic touches adding a decidedly post-modern twist’ THE DAILY TELEGRAPH
‘Easy-going, gently quirky approach…. old school samba is matched by surprises… a cool entertaining set” THE GUARDIAN
Orquestra Imperial’s nostalgic approach to samba has it’s moments... raw and funky” THE SUNDAY TIMES
‘Fazendo as pazes com o swing (Making peace with ‘the’ swing)’ is Orquestra Imperial’s sophomore album and a majestic offering of gafieira samba shot through with a psychedelic twist of rock guitar riffs, tropicalia, salsa, bolero and beyond.
The release of their debut album ‘Carnaval Só No Ano Que Vem’ in 2007 wowed critics and fans alike and Imperial have since toured the US and Europe spreading their carioca carnival joy across the globe. Their eclectic live shows have featured everyone from Brazilian legends Seu Jorge and Caetano Veloso to Bernard Purdie, Gruff Rhys, Jane Birkin, Jean-Claude Vannier (who directed the band in a special Serge Gainsbourg concert), The Bees and Chrissie Hynde.
Reading the Orquestra line-up is like a who’s-who of Rio’s most sought-after musicians: the inventors of post-tropicalia formerly signed to David Byrne’s Luaka Bop, Kassin, Domenico and Moreno Veloso (Caetano’s son); member of Devendra Banhart’s live band and founder (with Fabrizio Moretti of The Strokes) of rock super-group Little Joy, Rodrigo Amarante; Brazilian soap opera queen & vocalist Thalma de Freitas plus legendary percussionist Wilson das Neves, to name but six.
Rewind to the beginning of the 20th century and gafiera samba was Rio’s most stylish form of entertainment, yet the tradition slowly dwindled out until 2002, when members of Imperial turned up at their first rehearsal, armed with their iPods and grandparents’ LPs. Alternately spinning their favourite vinyls and MP3s, they set about arranging their favourite tunes, reinterpreting them with post-tropicalia zest. As Kassin explains “The Orquestra’s currency is music and friendship. People come to chat, meet like-minded musicians, have a jam.”
Though treading well-established territory, all twenty of the band’s members are keen to stress they are no Buena Vista Social Club, and more readily identify with the progressive ilk of Ondatropica, Will Quantic’s Colombian super-group. “Our music is spontaneous and comes from the chaos of living in an era where you have access to everything, can listen to everything and like all kinds of music.” confirms Orquestra drummer, Domenico Lancelotti.
The cover photo for ‘Fazendo As Pazes Com O Swing’ is a portrait of Nelson Jacobina, one of the founding member of the Orquestra and author of various Brazilian classics such as ‘Maracatu Atomico’. Taken at a pre-carnival Orquestra Imperial show in 2009 Nelson sadly passed away in 2012 after fighting a lengthy battle with cancer - ‘Fazendo As Pazes Com O Swing’ is duly dedicated to him.