One of Brazil's key alt-rock bands, Nacao Zumbi featured lead vocalist Chico Science (1966-1997), a veteran of Pernambuco's hip-hop and rock scenes who helped pioneer the modern, eclectic manguebit sound. After Science's untimely death in a 1997 auto accident, the role of lead singer was taken over by Jorge Du Peixe, and the band has continued to be a potent force in Brazilian rock. Here's a quick look at their work...
Chico Science & Nacao Zumbi "XXI Vinteum: 21 Grandes Sucessos" (Sony, 1999)
A nice, expansive best-of which shows the breadth of the band's creativity... The disc opens up with a version of Jorge Mautner's "Maracatu Atomico" that recasts the sleek Gilberto Gil hit as a loping trip-hop soul number. Plenty of original material follows, as well as a few more tropicalia covers, all interlaced with folkloric elements and carnaval percussion, and Hendrix-y electric guitars to spare. Science's vocals are strongly rap-based, but the music is very rock'n'roll... I suppose Lenny Kravitz comes to mind, as a touchstone for similarly accessible pop-rock material. I still find my attention starting to wander, but these fellows are definitely leaders of their style. This disc draws on the band's first two albums, with Chico Science featured as the lead singer.
Chico Science & Nacao Zumbi "Maxximum" (Sony, 2005)
I think this is pretty much the same record, an 18-song best-of set, drawing on their first two albums...
Chico Science & Nacao Zumbi "Da Lama Ao Caos" (Sony/SDI, 1995)
A creative Brazilian rock album album, with a novel, seemingly effortless interplay of electric rock and street samba percussion... Similar to what the Beastie Boys came up with in the formative years of American hip-hop. This album does get awfully repetitive after a while, irritating even, and despite the innovative formula, starts to sound a bit muscleheaded and tiresome by album's end... This is especially true of the guitar leads, which weren't particularly distinctive or well-mixed.
Chico Science & Nacao Zumbi "Afrociberdelia" (Sony, 1997)
Chico Science & Nacao Zumbi "CSNZ" (Sony Chaos, 1998)
This hip-hop- and soul-drenched double album is probably this modern ensemble's great masterpiece. Sadly, this was issued in tribute to Chico Science, who died in 1997, but it cetainly makes for a great legacy. Disc One is a funk-heavy dancefest; the second CD features slinky remixes by guest artists as diverse as David Byrne and Arto Lindsay to reggae's Mad Professor and Fila Brazilia, while Jorge Ben duets on the opening track. This 2-CD set tends to be a bit expensive, but it's certainly one of the the band's best efforts, and one of the most accomplished (and enjoyable) Brazilian hip-hop/modern rock albums. Recommended!
Nacao Zumbi "Radio S.Amb.A" (YBrazil?, 2000)
One of Brazil's premiere rock bands, these guys are Chico Science's old crew, and also crank out their own albums with some regularity. It's a cool-toned mix of samba, funk, hard rock, ska/reggae, and hip-hop -- more Beastie Boys than Chili Peppers. It's not really my cup of tea, but these guys are pretty solid and much more accomplished than most of their contemporaries. Definitely worth checking out if contemporary Brazilian pop appeals to you.
Nacao Zumbi "Nacao Zumbi" (Trama, 2004)
Nacao Zumbi "Futura" (Trama, 2005)
(Produced by Nacao Zumbi & Scotty Hard)
Nacao Zumbi "Propagando" (Trama, 2007)
A 2-CD live set...
Nacao Zumbi "Ao Vivo No Recife" (2012)
Main Brazil Index