Review: Metá Metá + Let Drum Beat @ Battersea Arts Centre (London, 13th September 2016)

They catch your attention and ears and won’t release them until they have played the last note of their set. That’s how Metá Metá has become one of the most intriguing projects coming from Brazil. They did the same last week, when they exposed their creativity and originality on the Battersea Arts Centre stage, during Borderless Festival.

The concert, which was supposed to introduce MM3 (Metá Metá’s latest creative effort) to the British audience, quickly turned itself into an all-around performance, with the trio (quintet for the occasion) recalling tunes from its first and second albums, too. Juçara Marçal (voice), Thiago França (saxophone), Kiko Dinucci (guitar), supported by Marcelo Cabral (bass) and Sergio Machado (drum), drowned the audience in their overwhelming, characteristic and elaborated sound flow.

If, on one side, the warm and smooth voice of the singer soothes the listener’s hearing, on the other side the unpredictable flair of the musicians puzzled and amazed everyone at the same time. Brazilian tradition, candomblé, psychedelia, afrosamba beats, free-jazz and improvisation went side-by-side and found enough room to fully express themselves. Throughout the two-hour show, Metá Metá demonstrated why and how they have helped to redefine the Brazilian sound. Songs like ‘Tres Amigos’, ‘Angolana’ and ‘Sao Jorge’ are indeed captivating ways to expose the present of the Sao Paulo music scene, and Brazilian contradictions and contrasts. As a matter of fact, you don’t need introductions, explanations or descriptions, you just need to lose yourself in their anarchic structures, intermittent rhythms, sweet and sour tempos and wide-ranging influences, and you’ll eventually find the squaring of the circle.

However, Metá Metá weren’t the only ones to bring Brazil and its music to the Battersea Arts Centre stage. In fact, before their performance, Let Drum Beat rhythmically paved the road to the Sao Paulo ensemble, presenting their carnival-inspired sound brimming, as their name easily suggests, with lush Latin beats, collective vocal melodies and contagious vitality.

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