Mad for reggae in Samba land

Mad for reggae in Samba land

Sunday, June 08, 2014

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Jamaican music has resonated with Brazilians for nearly 50 years, starting with Jimmy Cliff's song Waterfall in 1968.

Waterfall won the International Song Contest that year. It was so popular in Brazil that Cliff moved to the Samba-mad country the following year.

Cliff remains the biggest reggae act in Brazil. Bob Marley, who visited in early 1980 with Jacob Miller; Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Eric Donaldson, The Gladiators and The Congos, all have a strong base there.

Cedric Myton, a founding member of The Congos, recently returned to Jamaica after a six-month stay in Brazil. He performed solo on festivals and carnivals in major cities including Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Belim.

Although The Congos have been popular there since the late 1970s through their seminal album, Heart of The Congos, it was not until 2007 that they visited Brazil for shows in Sao Paulo and Belim.

During their shows, Myton says fans demanded he sing songs from Face The Music, his 1980 solo album.

"Yuh had 80-year-old men requesting songs like Banks of The River and Sinking Ship. It was unbelievable," he told the Sunday Observer.

Although the carnival and festival scenes were hot while he was there recently, Myton says the World Cup is by far the biggest talking point.

"Bwoy, everywhere yuh go is flags an' banners. Is a mystic vibe, Brazil is a mystic place," he said. "Dem can feed the world with fresh fruit an' fish."

Myton, 67, is scheduled to return to Brazil in August for more shows.

  — Howard Campbell

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