Chico Science & Nação Zumbi

I still remember the day back in 1996 when Chico Science & Nação Zumbi’s (CSNZ) second record afrociberdelia arrived in the mail. It came sans promotional material with the usual list of styles, influences, tour dates and stale band bio, no flier advertising other acts on the label, nothing. Just a handwritten return address in Brazil and about a dozen stamps on an envelope containing a CD with liner notes entirely in Portuguese. Who where these guys? Who sent this to me? Intrigued, I put on the CD and was immediately floored by the passion and power emanating from my speakers. This sounded like something entirely new.

Turned out it was. Nação Zumbi’s leader Chico Science was a musical visionary and the founder of mangue bit, a movement that took the folk styles of maracatu and other traditional rhythms such as embolada, coco-de-roda and ciranda native to his home state of Pernambuco in northeastern Brazil and blended them with reggae, funk, rap and rock. (Mangue was a reference to the region’s mangrove swamps and bit, later subverted to beat by “the media”, represented the electronic sampling the movement incorporated).

Two of my favorite tracks tracks from Afrociberdelia:

Corpo De Lama


That second track features a guest appearance from Gilberto Gil and samples of The Dave Brubeck Quartet’s “Take Five” and “A Minha Menina” by MPB (Música Popular Brasileira) star Jorge Ben.

Afrociberdelia sold over 20,000 copies in the first three weeks it was out and CSNZ were poised for an international breakthrough when Chico Science was killed in a car accident in Recif, Pernambuco’s capital on February 2, 1997. His influence and legacy is the foundation to a whole new generation of musicians in Brazil. Maybe it was his handwriting on my envelope…

1 Response to “Chico Science & Nação Zumbi”

  1. 1 migmanlkp Apr 24th, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    good stuff maynard!

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