Bezerra da Silva

‘Where The Owl Sleeps

Jose Bezerra da Silva

I have been wanting to do a post on Bezerra da Silva for the longest.  The challenge is conveying the influence of such a great artist on music who is relatively obscure outside of Brazil.  If you’ve followed TFG, then you’ve seen references to Seu Jorge, an artist whom I’m a very big fan of.  Some of Seu Jorge’s music incorporates an unmistakable influence from Bezerra da Silva.

Seu Jorge

Jose Bezerra da Silva is largely credited with the advent of ‘Acid’ Samba, a very raw style of Samba that reflects the life, realities and hardships in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.   Once you become familiar Bezerra da Silva’s music, you’ll often hear him say in his songs “Ah, Malandro.”  The term ‘Malandro’ in Brazilian Portuguese means ‘Rogue,’Scoundrel,’ or the more mainstream term ‘Gangsta,’ for which many consider him the godfather.

Beyond Bezerra da Silva’s Acid Style, he was also known for his improvisational approach to Samba music.  His conversational style was largely invented to speak out against the harsh realities of life in the favelas, to defend those who were part of that life, and as an indictment against the political officials who contributed to the country’s conditions.

The documentary, though it contains no English translation, largely relates his music to what you see in the video, the people, the youth, conditions, and how his ‘gangsta’ reputation, though largely representative of the negative aspects of life in the favelas, e.g. crime, guns, and drugs, was used to affect change positively for the ‘favelados’ in terms of job opportunities, anti-crime efforts, and life and conditions in the favelas overall.

Follow the link for more insight about the Sambista’s life.


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