ziminino grows a rebellious bass samba in bahia

March 22, 2019
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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.

Ziminino is out now on INTL BLK