Words by Russ Slater
He played a key role in the recent resurgence of interest in traditional music from the north-east of Brazil, initially with the band Mestre Ambrósio and later with his brass band Siba E A Fuloresta. Now Sérgio Veloso, aka Siba, is something of a revered figure in Brazil. Swapping his rabeca fiddle for a guitar, he’s now working with a small group of tuba, drums and vibraphone. Avante is an incredibly personal and experimental record that marks a big step away from his earlier work. Siba’s conversational but passionate singing style is central to all of the songs, setting the scene with rapid-fire vignettes that detail his life in pure poetry.
What’s magical is the way the songs so often erupt once the words reach their natural conclusion. Tumbling percussion and marching tuba lines, occasionally augmented by flute and keyboards but always wrapped in Siba’s spiralling West African-influenced guitar lines, take the songs off in completely new directions, which show that Siba’s inspirations go way beyond the traditional Brazilian music he is so often associated with. Perhaps that’s why, despite it being his most personal and inventive record to date, it’s also his most accessible.
TRACK TO TRY: ‘Cantando Ciranda Na Beira Do Mar’