A Rush Hour Q&A with Goma Gringa

Frédéric Thiphagne and Matthieu Hebrard are two French 'gringos' based in São Paulo, who share the same mission: to spread the works of contemporary Brazilian artists as well as forgotten music from the past.

"Desconstrução"is the first compilation on their fresh Goma Gringa label, which stands as a manifesto of an effervescence. For a very long time São Paulo had the sinister reputation of being samba’s grave. Nowadays, it can safely claim to have one of the most exciting music scenes in Brazil, and "Desconstrução" proves that.
Order "Desconstrução" here.

The Rush Hour crew is hooked on Brazilian music and asked the duo about their São Paulo life and their label…

1. Could you please introduce yourselves and tell us why you started the label?

Frédéric: Basically we started the label because commercial importation in Brazil is complicated and super expensive. So the first thought was to produce the records that we wanted to import here, but after a few weeks we of course felt the desire to put out our own releases rather than just replicate what was already out there... Goma Gringa Discos was born!

2. In the "Desconstrução" liner notes we read that in recent years São Paulo made a big come-back musically: today, the city has an incredibly lively music scene, with many active talented artists and ideas. How did São Paulo get its music mojo back?

Frédéric: São Paulo’s new alternative scene has become a big web. There are a lot of places where people meet and live the music, like concerts, studios, homes and bars. But the scene is not an all-encompassing movement. There are a lot of super talented individuals with completely different backgrounds who work together in projects with different styles, varying from hip-hop to jazz, samba, contemporary MPB, electronic sounds, afro-punk, etc… etc… A movement is defined by a style. Their style is the diversity of projects, of sounds. I guess the compilation illustrates that perfectly!

Matthieu: You could say that in Brazil the music is linked to lyrics. Brazilian people like to flow and sing with the band. Gilberto Gil, Caetano Veloso and all the classical Brazilian singers work in that way. The music is an important contribution to the nation, so it has to follow the Brazilian tradition. The fun thing about this compilation is that the featured musicians step out of that tradition. Their music is a big mix of styles, influenced by African music, pop, rock and jazz.

The city scene is re-emerging after the Vanguarda Paulista movement, which was active in late 70s until the mid 80s (w/ Itamar Açempçâo, Arigo Barnabe). The current generation is looking for a new sound, taking it from the influences of the Candomblé and all the other influences that drove them to become musicians. They are driven to create music that is liberated from standards.

The city scene is re-emerging after the Vanguarda Paulista movement, that was active in late 70ties until the mid 8ties (Itamar Açempçâo, Arigo Barnabe…). Why ? Because there are talented musicians who are looking for another sound, taking it from the influences of the Candomblé and all the other influences which drove them to become musicians. They are driven to create music that is liberated from the standards, from the tradition and her norms. Now, after 10 years of research and shows they have following and became a new movement that again influences a lot of young emerging musicians.

4. São Paulo’s most acclaimed trio is formed by Juçara Marçal (vocal), Thiago França (sax) and Kiko Dinucci (guitar), who are part of Metá Metá. Could you tell us a bit more about the musical background of the individual artists?

Frédéric: Kiko is from Guarulhos, a São Paulo suburb, where he played punk-rock as a teenager. He became an artist of many talents, being a cartoonist, film director and wood engraver. His art defines the aesthetic of most of the group’s album covers. Juçara Marçal traveled around the country with the band A Barca to collect folk and ritual songs. Thiago França comes from the traditional world of the Conservatory. It was a world in which he did not fit and from which he ran away to deeply dive into free-jazz and improvised music, but without forgetting what he calls himself “that melancholic tone”.

5. Thiago Franca, Marcelo Cabral and Kiko Dinucci are influential artists today: could you explain why?

Matthieu: Thiago França is certainly one of the most promising and talented saxophonists in São Paulo. If we are talking production, you will have to look for Marcelo Cabral or Kiko Dinucci, as they both are important accelerators here.

6. The compilation features the first Vicente Barreto release on Goma Gringa, right? How did you meet and how did he get involved with the label?

Frédéric: Yes, It is the first Vicente Barreto release on Goma Gringa.
We discovered his record a while after the release. We loved it and knew that we wanted to release it on vinyl. It was easy to get in touch, since lots of musicians and composers from the scene are involved in this record. So it has been quite natural and logical for us to release this record.

"Desconstrução" is out now!
Order here: