Tom Ze

I’ve long loved the music of Brazilian Tom Ze.  He’s an experimentalist yet is accessible to those of us with open ears.

I’m really into Brazilian music from samba to forro to Bossa Nova to Tropicalia and more.  Ze started out as part of the Tropicalia movement in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s.  Then he sort of “fell off the map.”  Only the most devoted Brazilian music fans were aware he was still working.

Then later, in 1990, David Byrne released some of his great 1970’s material on the Luaka Bop label.  Then came, The Return of Tom Ze in 1992.  This helped to bring him back in the spotlight, outside of Brazil.

From 1998 to 2010, there have been five more records that I’ve heard (and maybe a few that I haven’t).  His work is consistently wonderful to me.  It always sounds like “my kind of music.”

He uses homemade instruments and household appliances to make his music.  He always seems to be experimenting and “pushing the envelope” a bit.

Also, when I can find English translations of his work, it’s always well worthwhile getting a better idea of just what he’s saying.

Here’s further information and a poem.  Hooray for Tom Ze!

his Wikipedia page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Z%C3%A9

in Portuguese:

http://www.tomze.com.br/

A 1993 interview:

http://bombsite.com/issues/42/articles/1628

A 2001 article:

http://paul-sullivan.com/words/interviews/104-tom-ze-the-wire-2001.html

Information on a 2006 documentary film, which (eventually) I was able to see:

http://movieweb.com/movie/fabricando-tom-ze/

A 2010 article:

http://www.thefader.com/2010/11/30/feature-brazils-madcap-post-tropicalista-tom-ze-is-still-making-the-avant-garde-go-pop/

At the end of last year, I wrote a poem for Tom Ze in my long-running “zine-thing” Thing” The Poetic Express and here it is:

Samba in a Maze

in the thread of music, in stitches,

notes cloak themselves and dance around the shadows

___blurry, yet “much tropicalista.”

making this, out of that:

machines that sing out and make beats.

What you wear effects what you play.

Fun is for fun.  Love is for love, don’t break it!

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