Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Beat The Donkey ROCKS Le Poisson Rouge!!

Review of the show from DIY Website:

Check out the full review here!!

Cyro Baptista’s show begins with an eerie whirring noise, generated by flexible tubes spun by the ten or twelve members of his band Beat The Donkey. Baptista enters slowly, dressed in a flamboyant wizardly robe, and begins intoning chant-like syllables into the microphone. After a few seconds, the lights go up and the show starts in earnest, with Baptista and his band delivering their trademark blend of exuberant silliness and percussive virtuosity. Even without the wizard robe, though, Baptista comes off less as a bandleader and more as a Puckish magical spirit, marshaling the fantastical forces of his minions with glee and caprice.

In reality, the Sao Paulo-born Baptista is one of the world’s most accomplished percussionists, having won multiple Grammy awards and recorded with the likes of David Byrne and Yo-Yo Ma. He is deeply aware of the traditions he upholds - at the outset of the show, he mentions how humbled he is to be playing at what used to be The Village Gate, a “sacred” stage where Tito Puente played. But when he’s playing with Beat The Donkey, you get the sense that Baptista doesn’t care much about polishing his resume. He’d rather take that resume, tear it into confetti, and shower the audience with it.

Beat The Donkey most closely resembles a Brazilian bateria, the large and varied percussion ensemble that accompanies the dancers of a samba school in Carnaval parades. Two traditional Brazilian bass drums, called surdos, form the heart of the band, but Baptista adds in a standard drumset, electric guitar and bass, keyboards, and pretty much anything else that he can think of a way to bang on. Many of his instruments are homemade, with strange items strewn all over the floor around him. At one point, frustrated with a malfunctioning microphone, he produces from somewhere a bullhorn and sings into it. All the silliness, though, accompanies great musical skill, whether from the keyboardist wearing a chicken hat, the shredding guitarist in a full NASA suit, or the lightning-speed tap dancers.

The band play a few of Baptista’s best-known songs, including 'Parar de fumar', a sweet song about wanting to quit smoking “so I can kiss you without an ashtray mouth.” But to focus on individual compositions would miss the point of Baptista’s performance style, which focuses on the physical act of creating music. It is only by tearing down the barriers associated with seriousness that he can bring his audience into the special world where he makes the rules, expressing his boundless and whimsical creativity through any medium he sees fit.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep working ,great job!


4:46 PM  

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