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Hidden Waters: Strange and Sublime Sounds of Rio de Janeiro

by Sounds and Colours

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This is the original pressing of Hidden Waters. For information on Mr Bongo's second pressing please go to mrbongo.bandcamp.com/album/hidden-waters-strange-and-sublime-sounds-of-rio-de-janeiro


Featuring 20+ groundbreaking artists from Rio’s resurgent music scene, intent on bringing an avant-garde edge to bossa nova, samba, jazz and funk

Hidden Waters is our homage to a Rio de Janeiro music scene that has been bursting with creativity and camaraderie over the past decade. Centred around a pool of artists, poets, and musical innovators who flow between collaborative works and individual passion projects, this scene’s collective power has prompted a sea-change within carioca counterculture. Reclaiming derelict spaces and dissident sounds, they are now making ripples tantamount to musical revolution, finding admirers across the waters in the New York Times, The Wire and even at the Latin Grammys.

Theirs is the sound of contemporary Rio, marked by a hybridity that pools the popular and avant-garde, the cutting-edge and carnal, with echoes of everything from Tropicália, samba, disco and Candomblé to lo-fi rock, jazz, bossa nova and experimental electronics.

Hidden Waters features such musicians as iconic scene mainstays Negro Leo, Ava Rocha and Kassin, Brazilian jazz upstart Antônio Neves, critically-lauded avant-pop trailblazer Thiago Nassif, breakthrough artists Ana Frango Elétrico and Letrux, lo-fi psych rocker Lê Almeida, and sonic explorer Cadú Tenorio, as well as revelatory new voices Raquel Dimantas and ROSABEGE, among many others.



A few words on Hidden Waters from Brazilian professor and noted music critic Bernardo Oliveira:

Hidden Waters: Strange and Sublime Sounds of Rio de Janeiro is a sample of what Rio de Janeiro has produced in the last decade in terms of pop music, experimentalism, MPB, Tropicália and neo-bossa nova. In its 23 tracks you can discover different ways of reinventing both carioca and Brazilian music. Scene veterans Kassin and Jonas Sá redesign Lincoln Olivetti's radio pop, absorbing the soul influences of Tim Maia and Cassiano; while Ana Frango Elétrico, of the new generation, won the world with the ironic pop of her second album, Little Electric Chicken Heart. Ana’s work shares many traits with a group of emerging artists – Vovô Bebê, Thiago Nassif, Raquel Dimantas and Antônio Neves – capable of synthesising pop, bossa nova and rock, as well as others who follow the tradition of Brazil’s great singer-songwriters: Ilessi, Mari Romano, Dora Morelenbaum, Letrux and the duo Troá.

In the realms of experimental music, linked to the Audio Rebel/Quintavant scene in Rio, Negro Leo and Ava Rocha sing an unlikely cross between free jazz and tropicalist legacy, while the duo of Juçara Marçal and Cadu Tenório create industrial reinterpretations of vissungos (slave work songs), collected by the philologist Aires da Mata Machado in Minas Gerais. Lê Almeida, a veteran of Rio de Janeiro lo-fi rock, and founder of Transfusão Noise Records, appears with a track from his solo work, while Joana Queiroz, a member of the jazz band Quartabê, explores the sonic nuances of her clarinet and vocals.

The economic growth of the first decade of the 21st Century opened space for initiatives in Rio to be strengthened, reaching even more of the city's population. This same city is now experiencing a different situation, a dystopian nightmare of an unprecedented political and social crisis. How could it be possible to envision avant-garde music in a city with no future? What this collection demonstrates is that, immersed in a sea of references linked to music — from carnival to baile funk, from Bossa Nova to various manifestations of pop — Rio has never stopped evolving. Rio, despite everything, resists.

Gatefold vinyl comes with a sleeve insert of two essays written by eminent music journalist Leonardo Lichote and professor and critic Bernardo Oliveira, and extensive track-by-track notes written by the participating artists themselves, all housed in beautiful artwork created by Caio Paiva and Karina Yamane.


released July 29, 2022

COMPILED by Joe Osborne and Russ Slater
ARTWORK by Caio Paiva and Karina Yamane
PHOTOS by Bruna Sussekind


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