In Buena Onda Reggae Club Caribbean music meets Brazilian heritage

I like to listen to bands from warmer countries in the summer. I imagine beach concerts and tropical drinks with umbrella straws. In Poland the heat is already lurking around the corner, we are slowly coming out of lockdown, and only live music will be missing in this puzzle, at least for some time. Fortunately, there's an album coming to the rescue and although it came out in January, it will be good to listen to in our part of the world right now.

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Brazilian reggae band Buena Onda Reggae Club
Photo: Fábio Ponce

I need to read a little more about Brazil. I’ve been thinking about it for some time. Actually, about all of South America. It’s been a great place for ska for some time now (or at least this is how it looks from my perspective). I noticed that a lot of local bands play in a way that doesn’t quite suit me, but there’s also a great bunch of musicians from what I would call RudeMaker kind of scene. Like the instrumental band Buena Onda Reggae Club. – We are very influenced by bands such as The Skatalites and Hepcat, but our album also shows a lot of Brazilian and Latin influences – says Cauê Vieira, the saxophonist of the group. And I buy this style!

Buena Onda Reggae Club

Buena Onda Reggae Club was founded in 2016. It is made up of musicians from São Paulo, Brazil, and the industrial ABC region that lies in its vicinity. The band’s members come from the local independent music scene and are associated with, among others, the jazz and funk Nomade Orquestra, the funk and soul Black Mantra and the reggae group Leões de Israel or Ba-Boom. The line-up includes: Marcos Mossi (guitar), Victor Fão (trombone), Kiko Bonato (keyboards), Eduardo Marmo (bass), Rodrigo Ribeiro (trumpet), Felipe Guedes (drums) and Cauê Vieira (saxophone and flute).

Koncert Buena Onda Reggae Club
Photo: Fábio Ponce

Each member of this good vibes club brought his experience and inspirations that translate into the sound of the band. Ska, reggae, rocksteady, and dub combine here with salsa, jazz, afrobeat, and the musical traditions of Brazil and the Caribbean creating a consistent entity. Listening to their songs and tracking down all those different flavors is very enjoyable.

The Brazilians released their first album “Buena Onda” in 2017. It was produced by Pedro Lobo. You will find it on Bandcamp and Spotify. It’s a good album, but the next one is so much better! Already the first single “A Ilha” foretold that it would be worth reaching for the whole thing.

Buena Onda Reggae Club – II

I really like it when an album starts with a strong shot. And I think I’m in the majority, since I see that artists are often advised to arrange their songs in this way. Not only for commercial reasons, but also due to the technology of record players (which applies, of course, to vinyl, because it doesn’t matter on CDs and in digital editions). I’m not talking about always placing the promotional single at the beginning of the tracklist. Rather, I mean that feeling when the first notes directly hit my heart (similarly with live shows – I like when they start with a bang). Of course, it happens that I’m disappointed with the second and subsequent songs, but fortunately, this is not the case. Buena Onda Reggae Club’s second album has no weak moments, and “A Luta Continua” is a great choice to start with. My legs start to move from the very beginning, the arms rock themselves, and the smile on my face gets even bigger when it turns out that sometimes this tune from distant Brazil sounds like a familiar Polish song “W Moim Ogrodzie” by a reggae group DAAB.

The other songs also delight me and I would have a problem with pointing out my favorite one. In “Bro Song” Victor Rice plays melodica. He’s also responsible for the production of the album, but I will come back to that. The fantastic “Chuck Tarantino” seems to express the warm feelings that musicians of Buena Onda have for the work of Chuck Norris and Quentin Tarantino. “Rocksteady Para Você” swings very nicely, and for dancing pleasures, I recommend “Na Surdina”. “Song For Rollins” should do great at gigs letting the sax and keys players show off a bit in front of an eager audience (a bit like in this video, though the keys are a bit too quiet, and you can’t hear any enthusiastic shouts from under the stage, why?). Anyway, what am I even writing here? I’d love to hear the whole album and the previous one live, but not on a festival stage, but in a small, stuffy club (when, oh when will it be possible?).

Buena Onda Reggae Club recorded their second album last year. I’ve already mentioned that they cooperated with Victor Rice. They couldn’t choose a better producer. Not only is he a very talented musician and sound engineer, a Grammy winner, and an important figure in the old-school ska and reggae scene, he is also a man who himself is looking for the perfect combination of Brazilian samba and Jamaican rocksteady. His ear was very useful in this project and the album sounds great. Victor also prepared dub versions of all songs. He finally chose “A Luta Continua” to be part of the album, but as Cauê Vieira told me, the band plans to release a dub version of the whole record.

I’m very happy that “II” will also be issued on vinyl. Not only because of the music, but also for the retro cover designed by illustrator Edson Ikê. Unfortunately, the pandemic forced the musicians to postpone this plan. Before the outbreak, they also announced that they would release their songs recorded in cooperation with other artists, including Guadeloupe-born singer Malika Tirolien. We’ll have to wait a little longer for all this, but Buena Onda Reggae Club doesn’t idle and during the isolation, they prepare various tasty bits for their fans. You can find them on their YouTube channel.



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