32. Gringo Paulista

Posted on 19/02/2017



32. Gringo Paulista

This refers to the splendid Suba (aka Mitar Subotic). He spent the first half of his short working life writing abstract music in the confined walls of communist Yogoslavia, and after it broke up amid war, spent the second half in Sao Paulo in Brazil. He died at 38, in a fire at the recording studio, trying to save his recent recordings with Bebel Gilberto, of the famous bossa nova family.  It was a tragic loss, as he had just finished his first and only album, and also one for Bebel Gilberto.

Suba died in 1999. He had begun to develop a musical style fusing his European origins and the romantic but severely urban music of the ?second biggest city on earth: Sao Paulo. His unlikely life means that there not only celebration of his work in Brazil but also in Novi Sad in Serbia, where there is an annual festival in his honout.

His one album (there area few posthumous ones also) is perhaps the only album I have every listened to on which every track is worth a careful listen. He developed a fusion of electronic music with brazilian rhythms which is quite intoxicating. There are a few songs but mostly instrumentals. The track ‘um dia comum’ features a brazilian acented english speaking news girl saying:

‘it was a difficult night’

presumably referring to the all action nocturnal activity of that enormous and vibrant city. The song ‘Seria’ (Mermaid) is a good example. The complex tatino beat is accompanied by various electronic noises to produce a hypnotic effect. The video is a bit naff in my opinion, but so long as you listen to the muscic its ok:

The best track on the album is, I think, ‘Samba do Gringo Paulista’: a reference to himself as a foreigner but adopted Paulista. This is a fine expression of the music he had developed, and would no doubt have taken far further if he had lived. But even as it stands its great stuff.

At the other end of the spectrum is the ‘Gay Caballerero’ of Frank Crumit. It concerns Brazil’s neighbour Argentina and described a ‘greasy Argentine’ who woos a singer and dancer he meets in the USA until he takes her home, upon which her husban comes in and bites off his ear. This fits with the gritty Suba sound of Sao Paulo crossed with Serbia. But the seqquel song about the same Caballero says that after this incident although he married:

‘he had seven sons but each was born with one earo’

A result which would have startled Darwin. I have attached another song by Crumit, which rings as true today as in the 1930’s: ‘there’s no one with endurance like the man who sells insuracne’

Although Suba and Crumit were half a centery apart in their musical careers both earned a reputation from Latin America!






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