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From São Paulo to Madison: Curumin rocks the World Music Festival

Post by el guante on 9/10/2006 6:20pm

curumin_09.jpgBorn Luciano Nakata Albuquerque, the Brazilian funk prodigy Curumin will be playing Madison’s World Music Festival on Friday, Sept 22 at the Memorial Union Terrace.

With a superb album, “Achados e Perdidos,” being backed by Quannum Projects (home of Blackalicious, Lyrics Born, DJ Shadow and others) and a steady stream of positive press, Curumin is poised to make an impact on music-lovers of all genres here in the US. His album deftly mixes traditional Brazilian styles with American funk, hip hop and jazz, all the while showcasing the young musician’s beautiful singing voice.

El Guante interviewed Curumin over email for

Dane101: The album is amazingly diverse stylistically. Who would you count as your biggest influences?

Curumin: Thanks a lot. Influences? Well, basically Afro-American music. What happened with the African music after the diaspora: the mixtures and recombinations of this music here in America (including South America)... samba, soul, salsa, funk, reggae, hip hop. From Stevie Wonder to Originais do Samba to Lebron Brothers to Augustus Pablo to Jorge Ben to Meters to Tim Maia to Cedric Brooks to De La Soul to Black Rio and the originals too, like Fela, Peter King, Lafayete, Geraldo Piño and here we go!

Dane101: Brazil has a rich musical heritage-- how do you see yourself fitting into that matrix? How does Brazil inform the music you make?

Curumin: Well, Brazil… it’s too big! And each part is so different. You know you could find thousands of different roots and folk music here? Thousands of different beats. In São Paulo we have a strong immigration from Italy, Japan, Portugal and Africa. It’s complex and confusing. São Paulo is a third world (they don’t use this term any more!) megalopolis. You see very poor people living with a very rich people, and they don’t kill each other (most of the time)! So, I grew up listening to all types of music, seeing all kind of situations, going to paradise beaches, but going to horrible and sad favelas too. No doubt that Brazil, São Paulo, all these strange situations are a big inspiration. I see myself Lost and Found in this matrix.

Dane101: Why "You Haven't Done Nothing" as a cover? What about that song made you want to do it?

Curumin: Gustavo Lenza, the producer of the album, has known me for a long time. And he knows that I am a big Stevie Wonder fan, and that I used to cover him when I was young. And he really wanted to put a Stevie song on the album. And we chose that one because it’s an amazing song, and also because that song was made during Nixon’s Watergate case and, like that time, we are living a very delicate political moment. I have the same feeling of the song about the politicians: You haven’t done nothing!

Dane101: How did you hook up with (Blackalicious producer) Chief Xcel and Quannum? How has that experience been?

Curumin: In 2004 Blackalicious came to play in São Paulo. My friend Gustavo was the sound engineer. He knew the guys and gave them the album. One day, Lenza sent a message to me saying that the guys love the record and want to release it in the US through Quannum. I was very surprised and happy with the news, but didn't in fact believe it. I just really believed it when I saw it on the Quannum website. Years later, talking with Xcel, he tells me that the record was the film score of the Blackalicious Brazil trip. Uoh! Makes me die! For me it’s a great honor to be a part of Quannum. And the guys at the label make me feel real nice; it's all amazing work.

Dane101: Anything in particular you are looking forward to on this US tour?

Curumin: We will play in places we’ve never been, like Madison. We are really excited and working hard to do a great show. I am not sure what we will be the set list, but it will be based on “Achados e Perdidos” and maybe some new stuff.

Dane101: What are your plans after the tour?

Curumin: I am starting a new record and I want to really concentrate on it when we get back. This is my real plan. After that: vacation!

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