Global Hit – Imbauba Group

The World

The World’s Alex Gallafent brings us today’s Global Hit from deep within from the Brazilian rain forest.

Gallafent: I went to the Brazilian Amazon a few months ago to report some environmental stories – deforestation, rainforest economics – that kind of thing.

But while I was there I wanted to find some music. I got lucky and found a local band called Imbauba Group.

One of their songs is called The Flavor of Acai. Acai’s this little fruit bursting with vitamins. The song tells of the fruit’s rich color, a kind of deep purple. And it describes the many ways you can enjoy acai – as juice, say, or with tapioca.

I met the members of Imbauba Group in the city of Manaus, deep in the Amazon rain forest. The band’s leader, Celdo Braga, says music goes hand in hand with the forest. It starts with the band’s name.

Braga: “We chose this name because the Imbauba is a tree, and it’s the first tree to be reborn after the forest is destroyed. The seeds remain sleeping in the soil for years. And when the first sunlight comes, they are reborn.”

Gallafent: Braga himself was born in a village in the rainforest. He’s lived in the city for the past 18 years – but he says he carries the sounds of the Amazon within him. For instance, he played the sound of a Amazonian bird on a small clay ocarina.

Sounds like that find their way into the band’s music.

Celdo Braga loves the Amazon rain forest. But he says his fellow city-dwellers don’t necessarily share his feelings.

Braga: “People from the state of Amazonas don’t like to be from Amazonas. For example, a person can’t like the forest, because their fears are in the forest.”

Gallafent: Braga’s reasoning goes like this: Most people in the Amazon aren’t indigenous to the Amazon. They – or their ancestors – moved there from the south of Brazil. They developed scary myths about the forest. And those stories have been handed down through the generations.

So Imbauba Group is trying to counter those fears with songs like ‘Amazonas, Passion for You’.

All the stringed instruments the band plays are made from trees in the Amazon. Those trees come from sustainable forest reserves. And that means the Amazon lives in the music of Imbauba Group.


For The World, I’m Alex Gallafent.

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