01 Lá Vem a Tribo (Rodolfo Stroeter/Paulo Bellinati) – 08:56
02 Moda de Viola (Rodolfo Stroeter/Paulo Bellinati) – 04:31
03 Pano de Louça (Paulo Bellinati) – 04:07
04 Saudades e Saudações (Rodolfo Stroeter/Paulo Bellinati) – 03:59
05 Flecha de Prata (Lelo Nazario) – 05:01
06 Valsa Brilhante (Paulo Bellinati) – 05:31
07 Flor do Sul (Lelo Nazario) / De Porto Alegre a Uruguaiana (Nenê) – 08:56
08 Funeral (Paulo Bellinati) – 02:48
09 Tutty Legal (Nenê) – 05:42
Recorded at the invitation of guitarist and producer Odair Assad for Belgian label GHA, Lá Vem a Tribo is a transitional album in Pau Brasil’s trajectory. It outlines a new period that followed the departure of two of the original group members: saxophonist Roberto Sion and, shortly thereafter, pianist Nelson Ayres, who were replaced by Teco Cardoso and Lelo Nazario.
“Me and Paulo worked together a lot during that period”, Rodolfo Stroeter recalls, noting that the partnership was crucial in holding on to the identity that the group had been cultivating until then. “Me and Paulo wrote three songs for this record: ‘Lá Vem a Tribo’, ‘Moda de Viola’ and ‘Saudades e Saudações’. And he also contributed ‘Funeral’, ‘Valsa Brilhante’ and ‘Pano de Louça’, which is a quadrilha sertaneja”.
The group had already been playing some of the material on this album when Ayres announced his decision to leave in 1988. “When a pianist leaves, it’s considerably more complicated than a saxophonist, because he provides more of the group’s structure”, Stroeter remarks. “Lelo dedicated himself completely to recording ‘Saudades e Saudações’, which is almost a bossa nova, and to ‘Valsa Brilhante’, a hermetic and somewhat classical piece, which contained musical elements and nuances that differed from his style”.
Stroeter notes that, whenever a new member joins Pau Brasil, bringing with him new compositions, the rest of the quintet interacts with him and adapts itself. “Lelo brought his compositions to the repertory and the group molded itself to the way he played and programmed the synthesizers. That’s the whole idea – a group in perpetual motion as a result of collaborations between all the musicians. That’s why our albums are so different from one another”.
“The compositions for Lá Vem a Tribo were all ready when I arrived, except for mine. The group had even played the material with Nelson Ayres on a European tour shortly before I came on board. I composed ‘Flor do Sul’ for Nenê”, Nazario recalls.
After playing traditional rhythms and various forms of Brazilian music in the preceding albums, the quintet decided to move in a previously unexplored direction – that of indigenous music. “I was always interested in leading Pau Brasil’s repertory back to a time before samba, back to the beginning of Brazilian history. I felt we needed to remind people of at least one of the country’s savage aspects”, Stroeter reports.
The intention to approach the universe of indigenous music generated the composition titled ‘Lá Vem a Tribo’, a Stroeter-Bellinati partnership which opens the album and was also the theme for the unusual cover photograph (substituted in a later edition). “I no longer remember whose idea it was. It was probably the worst album cover I’d ever seen – at least as far as jazz records go”, Stroeter laughs, in reference to the picture of the bare-chested musicians, their faces painted and ornaments hanging from their necks in an attempt to emulate indigenous peoples – beards and moustaches notwithstanding!
Any group that took its own image too seriously would probably have refused to sit for such a bizarre photograph. But Pau Brasil’s customary good humor once again showed through. “We enjoyed going into the studio to be photographed as Indians. It was a lot of fun”, Nazario recalls.
Curiously enough, the Brazilian “noble savages” image appears to have helped draw part of the European press’s attention to the group’s music. “In Europe, that shot got us good notices in at least three or four important newspapers. Nearly all of them referred to our music, the refrain having been something like ‘from primitive sounds to contemporary music’”, Stroeter recalls.