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    Saudade do Futuro

    Patter up

    "Saudade do Futuro" takes a fun and affectionate look at street musicians in Brazil, especially those practicing a kind of traditional rap poking fun at themselves, the audience and the sadness of life itself.


    "Saudade," so we're told, cannot be translated from its original Portuguese into any other language — it means something like sorrow combined with nostalgia.

    Directed by: Marie-Clemence and Cesar Paes.
    Featuring: Sonhador and Peneira, Dona Erundina, Fran, Assis Angelo, Ze Honorio, Emanoel Araujo, Banda de Pifanos, Lindalva & Terezinha & Palito, Luiza.
    In Portuguese with English subtitles.

    Related links: Official site
    And the musical documentary "Saudade do Futuro" looks at the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and its street musicians just this way, with a mixture of commiseration and fondness.

    Sao Paulo appears to be one of those special cities — like New Orleans, Havana and, oh yes, New York — where the music is as thick in the air as the humidity.

    And that's what "Saudade do Futuro" is about — not only the music of the streets but the music of life itself. Traffic noise, crowd noise, subway noise, factory noise, construction noise, restaurant noise, the sound of a woman singing while rhythmically doing laundry — the film deliberately intersperses these among the music to create a medley of daily life.

    And this music is not necessarily the slinky sambas you might be expecting — it includes a number of wonderful surprises, particularly a brilliant traditional style called "Repente." (Hear a sample from the film in RealAudio.)

    Saudade do Futuro  
    The repentistas sing a quick-witted improvised rap in which they poke fun at themselves, each other, people in the audience, politics, the weather, the city, the life of the poor, whatever.

    Hear music from "Saudade do Futuro" on streaming RealAudio:
  • "Cara Com Cara" (excerpt, 0:30) by Sonhador & Peneira. ę Sonhador & Peneira. More music on the Saudade do Futuro web site.

    Requires free RealPlayer.
  • The sound of this music, with the steady beat of tambourines under the rhythmically shouting voices, is distinctly African inspired, but it will also remind Americans of rap music and the African-American streetcorner game of "the dozens," in which competitors trade good-natured insults to see whose are the cleverest. Onlookers gather around these singers and laugh at every outrageous line, especially when they become the subject themselves.

    "Saudade do Futuro" also includes interviews about music and interviews with regular folks about daily life and what makes Sao Paulo special. It's a wistful romance about people who endure the hardships of life and a celebration of the ubiquitous staccato of sound that makes this city sizzle.

    JUNE 20, 2001

    Reader comments on Saudade do Futuro:

  • Eu gostei ...   from Fabio Freire, Jul 25, 2001
  • Saudade for Saudade do Futuro   from Markus Peters, Jan 8, 2002
  • Brilliant   from Damian, Jan 16, 2002
  • Maravilhoso!   from Carolina, Apr 2, 2007

  • Post a comment on "Saudade do Futuro"