Mel Cooke, writing for Jamaica’s Gleaner, looks at Brazilians Eduardo ‘Bid’ Bidlovski and Gustah Sola as two of the most recent in a never-ending stream of music producers who wend their way from afar to the fount of the Marley magic, Tuff Gong Studios on Marcus Garvey Drive, St Andrew.
However, recording tracks for their Bambas Dois project, Bidlovski claims a certain distinctiveness to the creative process and, with it, distinction. “This is the first time anyone came to Jamaica from Brazil with a rhythm,” he said.
In fact, the producing pair came with 13 rhythms for the baker’s dozen of tracks slated for the album, matching music to performer from a wish list compiled in Brazil. Anchor studios on Windsor Avenue, St Andrew, was also used for Bambas Dois, Luciano, Queen Ifrica, U-Roy, Sizzla, The Heptones, Tony Rebel, Ky-Mani Marley and poet Oku Onura already recorded when they spoke to The Gleaner and Tanya Stephens was among those slated to lay vocals.
“We realised there is a big similarity between Jamaican music and music from the north-east of Brazil,” Bidlovski said. “There are many rhythms that are the same, but because they use different rhythms they sound different.”
There is a distinctive element of that Brazilian region’s rhythms on Bambas Dois, as Bidlovski said “we recorded the percussions of these rhythms from the north-east”. Laid over that were the bass guitar and keyboards like Jamaican reggae, Bidlovski said, the result of the composite being “we got this mix where you have in it roots reggae, rocksteady and dancehall. When you listen to the beat you realise there is a twist”.
The twist and tinge is deliberate, Bidlovski says while “we want people to feel that little reggae thing, we did not want to sound like a reggae band. We did not want to copy or imitate or replicate. We wanted to make a third thing, having the two styles and cultures. We were looking for a third thing, music-wise”.
The Jamaican elements played a critical role in determining the assignment of artiste to rhythm. A maraca tu rhythm was chosen for Sizzla, as it has a strong dancehall element; Tony Rebel was asked to record on a rhythm with xaten and forro, due to its similarity to roots reggae; and the rocksteady similarity of a hastape rhythm was just right for The Heptones.
Some of the performers wrote their songs to the rhythms in studio, while others took a day or two to pen their lyrics.
Bidlovski also points out that “what is different about the project is that I am the writer. I am not a label person with money. When they write a song to my rhythms we become partners forever”.
Bidlovski and Sola are thinking of doing one-rhythm projects ahead of the Bambas Dois release, using tracks from the album, as “we think if by doing that we can make some noise, it will do something for the album”. In addition, they are filming the in-studio sessions and putting them up on their YouTube channel as mini movies. “The idea is to document the whole process of making the record. Nobody has done this in Brazil before,” Bidlovski said.
“The music is the connection, but we really want to bring the connection between the cultures,” Bidlovski said, noting the shared history of slavery and similarities in food and dress. “I think this project will get across to the people,” he said. “We are divided by the ocean, but the cultures are so similar.” As Sola puts it, “the music can bring you together”.
With Bambas Dois the stamp of musical authority lies with the much smaller Jamaica. “If it happens in Jamaica it will make the project legit,” Bidlovski said.
For the original report go to http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20101004/ent/ent1.html