Music: Futebol - or dancing as it's called in Brazil

The Latin passion for the beautiful game has inspired a whole new club concept - the Batmacumba World Cup Special.
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Indy Lifestyle Online
In the summer of 1994, DJ Joe Davis arrived in Brazil to search for rare records: "I was there for the last World Cup, for the first two weeks. Nothing happens, everything's closed down. I was gutted as the record shops were closed ... It's dead outside. Everyone's indoors watching it." But this uneasy quiet was ruptured when the Brazilian team scored and millions of proud Brazilians exploded into manic euphoria: "Suddenly, when they score, it goes mad, it goes right off, fireworks when they score, you hear everyone shouting in the streets, car horns going off."

It is this mass enthusiasm and intense passion that Joe Davis has instilled into the CD Samba De Futebol and will recreate at the Batmacumba World Cup Special in the ICA tonight. The CD recognises the close relationship between samba and football in Brazil. Between the thunderous, infectious batucada rhythms, recorded in a studio by some of Brazil's most creative percussionists, are short extracts of ecstatic football commentary from the radio and television. Despite the Portuguese dialogue, the delirious howls of delight of the commentators and their unrestrained jubilation when Pele scores his 1,000th goal or when Brazil first won the World Cup is contagious.

Also incorporated within the CD is the sound of the "torcida", the musical section of the Brazilian football crowd who bring their own drums to the games. The use of drums has now been banned within the stadiums, but the drummers still gather outside to create a percussive fury. Joe Davis recorded the drummers who remain outside and the chants from within the stadium. Once, at the Maracana stadium, which holds over 160,000 people, he witnessed passion turning to rage: "I saw Flamengo and they lost 2-0 to Santos, people booing and fighting going off everywhere with the police. We went to different parts of the stadium to record it, and at one part five blokes gathered behind me and we had to leg it. It was lethal some of the times."

"Batmacumba" is the title of a song written by Gilberto Gil in the late 196's, during the "Tropicalia" period. This politically-motivated artistic movement embraced different forms of expression, including poetry, music and art, and the "Batmacumba" events, organ- ised by Joe Davis and Far Out Recordings, strive to emulate this eclecticism. He explains that their premise is to "give an alternative to the club thing. It's always based on Latin America. We're trying to present Latin culture as well as just music." Performing at the Batmacumba World Cup Special are Quilombo do Samba, one of London's leading samba schools, and Gilles Peterson, the respected DJ who, with Joe Davis, compiled the "Brazilica" CDs. Footage of vintage Brazilian football games will be displayed in the cinemas and, as well as "a graphics installation and interactive football games", is a photographic exhibition called "La Pasion".

The exhibition is a collection of work by the freelance photographer Julio Etchart, which centres on his exploration of Latin America's obsession with football. Julio Etchart, who lives in London, was born in Uruguay and contrasts images of the immense structures of the stadiums with photographs of lean children playing football in the chaotic slums of Santos and Buenos Aires, where Pele and Maradona emerged from, respectively. Julio Etchart wants to "show the other side ... it's mainly pictures of kids playing in the shanty towns, the real passion for football ... the whole thing behind professionalism, how people take it to their hearts."

He includes one photograph of the football games that are held on Clapham Common each Sunday, where members of the formidable Latin American community in London compete.

With such affection for, and many intimate ties with, Latin America, do Joe Davis and Julio Etchart face a dilemma on who to support during this World Cup?

Julio Etchart maintains that, "when England plays, I support England against everyone else until they play against Uruguay, because I was born there," while Joe Davis explains: "I have got to put England first. If the final was England versus Brazil, of course I would have to want England to win ... however, I do love Brazil."

'Samba be Futebol' by Grupo Batuque is available now on Far Out Recordings.

The Batmacumba World Cup Special is held at the ICA tonight between 9pm and 1am.

The photographic exhibition, 'La Pasion' will be shown at the ICA for two weeks, commencing tonight.

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