Alaíde Costa: the real matriarch of Bossa Nova

I was unaware of the black history of Bossa Nova until coming across a post from @tinhaqueserpretooficial about singer Alaíde Costa, whom they call the real matriarch of the genre. She and singer, composer, and pianist Johnny Alf were instrumental in the movement before it really took off and was called “bossa nova”. Alaíde is still singing and you can find her on Instagram and Facebook.

Music Video: Noturno 150 by Heavy Baile

HEAVY BAILE: Noturno 150 from Mah Ferraz on Vimeo.

I just found out about Brazilian funk music collective Heavy Baile thanks to this video (I know I’m late…). More importantly, this video is fun and original, showcasing one of the collective’s members, Ronald Sheick, jumping into the Metropolitan Museum’s classical art collection and at one point battling himself. #Decolonization always makes me smile :).

Vintage Brazilian Funk Favorite: Copa 7 “De Repente” (1979)

One of my favorite samba rock/funk cuts ever. I love putting people onto this, especially other DJ’s ;). Oh, and I love it for dancing, too, of course. The swing, the horn arrangement, the organ. It’s everything. I often miss hearing this in Brazilian funk and soul sets, but apparently it is a rare record. Fun fact: one of Copa 7’s band members, guitarist and composer Dionisio Santos (RIP), was based in NYC for some time. Enjoy!

The Busy Twist: London Luanda Remix Series

Spring is coming eventually, may as well get warmed up! London duo The Busy Twist’s dancefloor remixes of 1960’s and 70’s folk music from Luanda, culled from the Analog Africa catalog. I don’t know how this spring and summer are going to pan out, but this would definitely be a vibe at a post-pandemic outdoor party somewhere in Brooklyn, no? 😉

Carla Prata “Owner”

Afrobeats track “Owner” is my favorite from Angolan/British singer and lyricist Carla Prata. The 21 year old is making big moves with an easy confidence. Already well-known in Angola, Portugal, and the UK, her recent COLORS performance of provocative new single, “Certified Freak” brings her to a wider audience. She got her start at 15 and just released her first EP, Roots, mid 2020. She talks about getting into music and international ambitions in this brief after COLORS interview.

The voice of São Tomé e Príncipe – Pedro Lima “Maguidala”

This feels like a good follow-up to the Lusofonia post. Pedro Lima was the “people’s voice of São Tomé e Príncipe”, the most iconic singer on the island. This release was originally recorded in 1985 and is a reissue from the Switzerland-based Bongo Joe (Les Disques Bongo Joe) label. The album has been hard to find, commanding high prices. It features Lima with his backing band of 20 years, Os Leonenses, on 2 Puxas (upbeat) and 2 Rumbas (mellow), all nearly 10 minutes long. Lima passed in 2019, after a long career that started in his teenage years and spanned up until his death.
If you’re a vinyl person, there are still some copies available via Bandcamp as of this writing. Probably worth picking up!

The Soul of Black Brazil (2004)


I realized some people may be coming to this site from Discogs….I’m not so sure you’re interested in the new music and artists I’ve posted about lately, I figure you’re into Brazilian funk from the 1960’s and 1970’s…I love that stuff, don’t get me wrong. But I’m restless by nature and there’s so much good music to explore throughout the “Brazilian Diaspora” and Lusophone world, that I can’t just focus on that genre and time in this blog.

If you’re looking for specialists, check out DJ Greg Caz, DJ Questlove’s dedicated set (April 2020), Epic Vinyls from Brazil (they also did a special Afro Brazil Orixa mixtape series that is dope), Mayer Hawthorne’s Christmas Caipirinhas mix, and “The Soul of Black Brazil“, a podcast from Afropop Worldwide that first aired in 2004.

Martinho da Vila, “Lusofonia” (2000)

I’ve been meaning to post about this album for the longest. I was introduced to it around 2007 and it became a fast favorite, introducing me to rhythms, history, artists, and lands of the “Lusophone” world. Cabo Verde, Mozambique, São Tomé e Príncipe, Angola, Guinea Bissau. Maybe it can be called a fusion album — samba and  lots of pandeiro but with lilting bass lines, cheerful horn arrangements and guitar riffs that are undoubtedly African. It felt like traveling without moving. It may have been the first time I heard different Portuguese language accents besides Brazilian in song. I was already a fan of beloved living samba legend Martinho da Vila, and this album made me appreciate his oeuvre even more.


I’m tempted to skip ballad “Vasco da Gama” (ft. Mart’nalia) and slow march/marchinha “Viva Timor Leste” (ft. Luis Represas), which recount significant histories pertaining to the Portuguese empire. One covers exploration/conquest, the other revolution, so I guess I appreciate the balance there. Taking the album as a whole I can dig that those songs were included for their slower tempos and rounding out the variety of rhythms. Besides, I’d rather learn history via song than read it, and I always appreciate a larger historical context for the music I enjoy.

Favorite track: “Carambola (São Tomé e Príncipe)”.