ZIMININO GROWS A REBELLIOUS BASS SAMBA IN BAHIA
By Sound Check
March 22, 2019
Ziminino brings together three exceptional musicians in the process of setting up a new musical language based on the traditions of Bahia, Brazil and the contemporary Black diaspora. Rafa Diaz is a producer who under the name ÀTT00XXÁ helped slay last year’s Bahia Carnival with “Elas Gostam (Popa de Bunda)”, an example of his bass pagodão (or pagodão electronico), a contemporary club samba style that mixes string instruments and electronics. Ricô Santana has heretofore been known as a bassist with the Bahian hip-hop group OQuadro, but whose secret skills as a singer and songwriter have been searching for an outlet. And “Chief” Boima Tucker is a Sierra Leonian-American producer/DJ who one 2017 afternoon found himself in a Rio de Janeiro favela with Rafa and Rico, sharing their love for UK grime, Chicago footwork and ATL Trap, realizing that their musical commonalities and individual skills added up to a unique opportunity.
The trio’s musical meeting point is a mix of Diaz and Santana’s gorgeous sambas, played with acoustic instruments, low-key-tough basslines and electronic textures, and a percussive feel that rubs up against an international menu of rhythms (batucada, dembow, downbeat, 808s) without marrying any of them. Ziminino’s tracks offer an off-the-cuff fluency to the commonalities in those rhythms — the kind of natural ease that only those who’ve ingrained and practiced the idea, can pull off. As on “Intermitência,” Santana’s “singing” bounces between languages and ideas, united by a global Blackness and — in answer to the hellscape that Bolsonaro’s Brazil is offering its Afro, Indigenous or LGBTQ+ population — a rebellion against the current social norms. It’s a wonderfully modest 40 minutes of music that is also poignant and defiant. The kind of “small” album that feels at once incredibly of its time, and immortal.