GUAXE

Guaxe (pr. Gwah-shee) is a musical duo that was formed spontaneously after the encounter of two Brazilian psych rockers Dino Almeida (Boogarins) and Pedro Bonifrate (Supercordas). Both members have guested on each others’ recordings and had shared the stage at a few festivals together before Supercordas’ dissolution in 2016. Over recent years, Dino has paid Bonifrate and his family many short visits to his home in Paraty in coastal Brazil. During these getaways, the Guaxe album was written and recorded — with 4-track machines, computers, cranky gear, 10-string guitars, children playing, and a rainforest full of lizards all around the house.

Guaxe is named after an Atlantic forest bird who builds tent-shaped nests that hang on tall trees, and sings synthesized sounds like no other.

“Desafio Do Guaxe”, the album’s opener, invites the listener in via a series of waves of warmth: enveloping recurrences of backwards guitar — reminiscent of the Indian tambura — then a backbeat enters, followed by a soothing chant. Dino elaborates, “this first song represents all the strength and meaning of the whole project. Bonifrate and I were challenged to put words together describing a metaphor inspired by the singing of the Guaxe bird.”

“I had the Guaxe bird in my head as a song theme.”, Bonifrate adds, “It was hot in Paraty when Dino arrived for the sessions, so we went swimming in the river next to my house and two Guaxe birds showed up. They’re really hard to see, as they usually fly over the tall trees. But there they were right in front of us. I felt it was an omen.”

Further songs on the album touch on darker themes such as slavery in ancient Egypt, with the Nile as an eternal backdrop; labor exploitation in current times is explored, as are the political nightmares that feel to be everpresent. Yet, these topics are never explicitly stated. Instead they are implied in a contrast of sounds and words, reminiscent of the paradoxical delivery of Brazilian heroes Clube da Esquina, or even the simplistic brash folk of Bob Dylan.

Dino and Bonfrate’s long-player ultimately reverberates as a hymn to encourage us to be brave, and see that our natural inner life essence is stronger than the massive influence of negative energy in the outside world, which one can fly above, to answer the call of the Guaxe.

The debut self-titled album will be released on OAR on September 6, 2019


Guaxe 2

Guaxe 9

IMAGES: To download, click above. Press photo courtesy of the band.

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