Seu Jorge.

Quick Hits: Brazilian samba star Seu Jorge performs live

Our Saturday music series rolls on with a groove-happy singer well known in the U.S. for his David Bowie covers


Salon Staff
September 3, 2011 8:01PM (UTC)

Seu Jorge has got to be one of the coolest cats on the planet -- a Brazilian samba singer with a rich baritone and an easy groove. You may know him from his popular Portuguese covers of David Bowie songs featured in the Wes Anderson movie "The Life Aquatic," or, from his role as a street hood in the great Brazilian film "City of God."

We caught up with this international music star and his new band, Almaz, at a recent concert at the Royale in Boston. On our latest "Quick Hits," you can see Seu Jorge onstage, singing a song for us outside on the theater's fire escape, and talking with Marco Werman about his music and his rough early life in a Rio de Janeiro favela.

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Just before his Boston concert, with the sun setting over the Charles River, and street traffic below, Seu Jorge pulled out his guitar and sang a song for us on the fire escape outside the Royale theater. It’s called "Oluan," a term from the Yoruba culture and religion in northeast Brazil.

Conjuring up the goddess Jemanja, and praising this "mother queen" of the sea, Seu Jorge sings, "I will dive in the waters and purify myself at the bottom of the ocean."

Watch the full episode. See more Sound Tracks.

Watch Seu Jorge and his band Almaz perform "Cirandar," a beautiful, swaying song that we can't get out of our heads. It’s unmistakably Brazilian, but it also has the undertow of that '60s surf guitar sound. Definitely some hip beach music. The word "cirandar" refers to an old Portuguese dance. Think of this as Seu Jorge's serenade to the sea in which he asks an ocean goddess to "protect the fisherman" and "give the singers a good voice." We couldn't resist adding some nostalgic images of fishermen at work.

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Watch the full episode. See more Sound Tracks.

Sound Tracks "Quick Hits" reporter Marco Werman interviews Brazilian singer and actor Seu Jorge before his summer concert at the Royale in Boston. Seu Jorge talks about his new surf and beach-inspired "ocean music," his interpretations of rock classics, and a family tragedy that has shaped his life and his music. His English may be limited, but it's way better than our Portuguese, and his natural expressiveness makes him easy to understand.


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