VARIOUS ARTISTS / “Escravos de Jo” Mixtape
Milton Nascimento. To my ears there are three great movements in Brazilian music that are distinctive and important. One is the richness of the favela music known as samba. Two is the internationally loved chill music known as bossa nova. And three is Milton Nascimento.
Here is a song from a ballet score conceived by Milton Nascimento. Escravos translates as “slaves.” This is anthropological work at its most profound and most authentic. As with many, many Nascimento songs, there is something profoundly and complexly moving about the melody, and simultaneously there is something simple and beautiful. You can not only hum along when you first hear it, you feel like you want to hum, want to sing.
How can joy and freedom be elements of a song about slavery? What Milton has captured is the heart of black music: the expression of freedom even while in captivity.
01 Milton Nascimento
We have six versions beginning with Milton from his 1974 album Milagre dos Peixes.
02 Dom Um Romao
Percussionist Dom Um Romao cut a wonderful jazz album entitled Hotmosphere; his version is taken from that album.
03 Da Lata
Da Lata is known for reshaping Brazilian music through remixing and adding non-Brazilian elements. Their version of “Escravos de Jo” (from their self-titled remix album) offers a prime example of the re-imagining the music.
04 Ithamara Koorax remix featuring Dom Um Romao
We follow with a remix of Ithamara Koorax’s version. This “house” music version includes percussionist Dom Um Romao.
05 Joe Claussell and Kerri Chandler
Next is the surprising jazz and house mashup by the team of Joe Claussell and Kerri Chandler featuring trumpeter Winston Byrd.
06 Ithamara Koorax
We conclude with the original of Ithamara Koorax’s take that features spoken word elements from a Brazilian elder.
—Kalamu ya Salaam
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