In Brazil, modern society is blended seamlessly with nature, attracting tourists worldwide continuously thoughout the year. Samba, Caipirinha, and beautiful oceans are promised, but there is more than just the traditions and landmarks to experience the country.
Rock music in Brazil saw a rise in prominence around the early 2000s. Some amazing indie musicians from the country have been introduced to the world, such as CSS or Fabrizio Moretti from The Strokes. One such prominent artist who has begun to make a name for himself is Rodrigo Amarante.
Amarante was born in Rio de Janeiro, the capital city of Brazil and one of three hosts to the biggest music festival worldwide, Rock in Rio. The singer-songwriter released his debut album, Cavalo, through Easy Sound on May 13 and it is the best indie album in a while from Brazil and, moreso, from all over the world. If you miss this album, what else would you listen to?
Before going solo, Amarante was known for playing the flute and guitar, while sharing vocal duties for Los Hermanos, who are known for their beloved cover of ‘Anna Júlia’, once sung by Jim Capaldi and George Harrison. Los Hermanos had a mixture of Weezer-like pop-rock tunes sung from frontman Marcelo Camelo, along with more indie rock tracks inspired by The Strokes, to which Amarante lent his voice.
In essence, if you like The Strokes, you cannot help loving Amarante. In fact, the singer-songwriter has a connection with the band, having played with American/Brazilian rock super group, Little Joy, which consisted of The Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti.
Cavalo includes contributions by Amarante’s musical family: Fabrizio Moretti, Devendra Banhart, and SNL actress Kristen Wiig, Moldy Peaches from Adam Green, and producer Josiah Steinbrick.
According to Amarante’s artist statement, the record is about embracing the solitude of a lonesome traveler’s life. Although many of the tracks have clear influence from The Strokes, there is a mixture of multicultural influences stemming from his hometown.
Moreover, the music often evokes the image of a horse, which cavalo is slang for in Portugese, running from country to country, picking up sounds from different cultures, all of it expressed in a nostalgic folk mood. The melody comes easily to the ears, but what makes Amarante’s music interesting and peaceful is the background noise – small effects in small movements in the back, accompanied by a voice identical to his own, all of which reveals the singer-songwriter’s musical aesthetics.