Aláfia forges a new trail in album releases. “...Black music made for dancing... One of the pleasant surprises of São Paulo’s independent scene...” (OMenelik – 2o.ATO Magazine) It all started in 2011, when the Aláfia crew pooled their talents to perform in a series of shows in the São Paulo downtown venue, Bar B. Street talk, the raw inventiveness of the encounter and the intimate association with African-­‐Brazilian tradition are quintessential aspects of the group’s origins and direction. Urban in spirit, Aláfia is ever in the hood, at Augusta or at Vila Madalena (both characteristically urban and artistic neighbourhoods in São Paulo), or in bazaars, soirées, in Terreiros, Afro-­‐
Brazilian worship yards. Heedful of the struggles of the minorities, the group belongs to the city in trance; Aláfia is “em punga” – ever vigilant. Featuring Eduardo Brechó (vocals and guitar), Jairo Pereira (vocals), Xênia França (vocals), Lucas Cirillo (harmonica, backing vocal), Alysson Bruno (percussion), Pipo Pegoraro (guitar, backing vocal), Felipe Gomes (drums), Gil Duarte (trombone and flute), Fernando TRZ (keyboards), Aláfia strives to conjure the authentic spirit of the jam. On their first album, they invited Lews Barbosa, Lurdez da Luz, Raphão Allafin, Luciana Oliveira, Rafa Barreto, Akins Kintê, Quarteto Alma Negra and Karla da Silva to collaborate in the studio. As suggested by the cover, Aláfia is a pop music album but also an explosion, a gift and a ritual. From batucada to baile funk, the album (YB Music, 2013) is best played loud, with pullouts to hand, for maximum immersion in both the music and the sophisticated, alliterative lyrics. Through a rich mélange of recording styles, Aláfia adds to its sound the aesthetics of sampling, incorporating elements ranging from traditional handclap to electronic drumclap, from 78rpm to rap, from string quartet to electronic programming, from improvised rhyme to Yoruba Oriki... In the style of a choro-­‐waltz is the track O Homem que virou música (The Man Who Became Music) where it’s possible to detect, via an intricate labyrinth of records and references, inspiration as a manifesto of identity and belonging in Wilson Batista’s and/or Mano Brown’s work; the soulful yell, vigorous and combative, of James Brown; the affray of words found in Gil Scott Heron and the Last Poets, and George Clinton’s and Stevie Wonder’s spirit of soul funk. The song then seems to hide itself and leads us into a vortex of sound. The first track, a Mulher da Costa (Woman from the Coast), accuses the crew of engaging in an unrealistic relationship with the African continent. In times when Afrocentrism is in vogue in São Paulo, there is hesitation, and a question is posed: who can say they are really connected to Africa? With the finger pointing at itself, Aláfia mounts a challenge. And the woman from the African coast now reaches out and, with an ironic smile, offers a Coca-­‐Cola to the futuristic ‘cutie’. On Ela é Favela (She Is Favela); a sense of nobility, but non-­‐aristocratic -­‐ the noble warrior is here. Aláfia is music that brings people together -­‐ from Baile Black to house parties -­‐ this is what is suggested in the song Mais Tarde (Later On). Alert, as in opanijé rap Em Punga, Aláfia looks you in the eye, and Eduardo Brechó’s song Dono da Cabeça (Head Master) tracks six thousand years of Ogun’s wisdom, the orisha of technology. In Dara Dara is poetry and gratitude to those who gave or will give. In Pura (Pure), harmonious, ancestral and contemporary, Aláfia celebrates and surrenders to the forces of nature, furious and gentle like water, pure in its revolutions. Aláfia is in the inviting smile of the woman from the coast, in the swaying hips of the chic favela babe, in the groaning of libidinous Chicabum, in the croons and moans of the girls on the disc; in the Mãe-­‐de-­‐Santo prayer (Mother of the Saint – female priest in African religions), in the MC’s breath-­‐rhyme, in the scintillating vocals of the singer Xênia, in the choir and the skin. Aláfia is spinning. Biancamaria Binazzi -­‐ researcher and broadcaster 

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