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12 Jun 2017

Tribo Massáhi "Estrelando Embaixador" mega rare Brazil 1972 Tropicalia,MPB,Afro Psych, of the rarest Brazilian records of all time

Tribo Massáhi "Estrelando Embaixador" mega rare Brazil 1972 Tropicalia,MPB,Afro Psych, of the rarest Brazilian records of all time


Following extensive research and much demand São Paulo-based label Goma Gringa have decided to release the incredibly rare album Estrelando Embaixador by Tribo Massáhi. Little was known about the creator of this 1972 album other than he was called Embaixador (Ambassador) and had put aside an acting job as a gangster in a Brazilian James Bond-style musical to record afro-psych music with his group, Tribo Massáhi.

Original copies of the album have sold for getting on for £2,000, such is the infamy of the album, and even copies of a recent 2013 reissue have gone for almost £100. So, it’s great news that Goma Gringo have decided to release it again and let even more people hear the magic of this thoroughly tripped out Afro-Brazilian delight..............

Tribo Massàhi is a perfect example of how user-generated content online is overturning how we create cultural canons. This obscure gem has been posted on a great many blogs over the last several years. Though seemingly much loved, details about the album or its creators still remain unknown. La Colmena de Humo seems to have pulled together a few facts. Apparently the lead songwriter—known as Embaixador (Ambassador)—appeared in at least one film in Brazil, playing a gangster in the James Bonds-like musical Roberto Carlos em Ritmo de Aventura (1968), and is reported to have died in the 90s. I am assuming he recorded the single first, a more conservative affair as evidenced by the tamer version of "Fareuá" on the B-side, before making an ensemble album, Estrelando Embaixador, under the collective name Tribo Massàhi. The production quality and experimentation on the Tribo Massàhi recording is an exponential leap forward from the the 45. Estrelando Embaixador is candomblé-inspired psychedelic party music, taking the Afro-Brazlian sound into some wild territory. It's a heady mix of tropicalismo, chimed guitar, conversational chatter, studio fuckery, and heavy percussion with a female chorus. The songs blend together so that each side of the record runs as a continual piece. Side A is called "Timolô, Timodê;" Side B "Lido's Square."

A few notes: Though the original record Estrelando Embaixador plays nonstop start to finish on each side, I have separated the tracks here for your mp3/deejay convenience. I also tried to slightly clean up the sound, but the higher bitrate here may be misleading; I appropriated the same source files as posted on Brazilian Nuggets, which is where I bid you go if you prefer the unedited files. I also just ripped the singles for the Embaixador 45 off of Youtube because that's the only way to hear them so far to my knowledge. More info in the comments section.........................

"This is a sound made in Brazil. All the members are Brazilians.
But the goal is to show the young african music, with all his distinctions that features the origin of the black continent’s music.
In this record we launch several curious things. Starting from a rhythmic draw, based on the camel steps that match the division 4/4, on the same line of YÁ YÁ YÁ and SOUL MUSIC, which was given the name of OGA, this, because in Lagos, Nigeria’s capital, is an intimate treatment among friends. There, a man feels good when compared to a OGA (camel).
Purposely and proudly we launch this new and different LP, not only dedicated to all record collectors in the world but also to all party lovers, nights in club, and even for who’s loving, because on both sides, there aren't intervals. It’s a contagious and crazy rhythm."

This is how, in 1971, Embaixador and Maestro João Negrão described the record on his back cover. These words did not aged a bit.
We are very happy and proud to announce, 44 years later, the first 100% official reissue of this genuine work that became legendary and considered as the "Holy Grail" of Brazilian music among collectors around the world.

The record, released in Goma Gringa's “hard-cardboard paste-on” cover standard, comes with a booklet signed by the journalist Itamar Dantas - responsible for the research - that finally presents the history of Sebastião Rosa de Oliveira aka Embaixador and his band, the Tribo Massáhi. Very special highlight for the unpublished photo that reveals for the first time the band members!.....................

Caustic, the album - and the ambassador, leader of the Tribe - turned out to be urban legends ill-told of Brazilian music. They have already been told that he was Tony Tornado's brother; That the disc was of a Nigerian group; That the musicians met one night, entered the studio and left with this LP; They even said that the parade was delivered for free to the happy buyers of beds and wardrobes at the Luxor furniture store, a sort of old-fashioned Marabraz Stores. Everything is flushed. Dwelling on the character's story almost three years ago, the journalist Itamar Dantas is the guy who has made the most of the whole thing. With infinite trips to Rio de Janeiro, he discovered that the name of the Ambassador is Sebastião Rosa de Oliveira, who was born on September 10, 1934, in Leopoldina, to the Athens of the Zona da Mata, Minas Gerais. Ease of speaking languages. "He spoke very good English, they told me that he spoke French very well, scratched German, so the name came because of the ease of speaking several languages," explains Dantas. "From what I could understand he was the good-looking guy who turned around, did a thousand projects." Among these "virações" are performances in the films Roberto Carlos in Ritmo de Aventura and Quilombo, besides TV series like Tent of the Miracles, exhibited in Rede Globo in 1985.

To learn more about the story, take a portion of the booklet. Written by Itamar Dantas, the text rescues a bit of the history of the group after the recording of the album. The full text is on the back cover of the LP. And keep an eye out that Gum-Gringa is still going to release a lot of rare stone.

The near success in festivals

The band's activities continued. In 1971, the group would participate in the International Festival of Song defending the song "Karany Karanuê", written by Diana Camargo and José de Assis. With the possible participation, the group began to have prominence in newspapers.

However, the defense of the music in the festival did not come to fruition. The O Globo newspaper, dated September 23, 1971, recorded the group's lack of one of the essays for the official presentation. "The song 'Karany Karanuê', by Diana Carmago and Zé de Assis, should have been rehearsed by the Massáhi Tribe, but its components did not appear and Diana herself sang," reports the publication. The song ended up defended days later by Elson, Myrna and the own Diana, was finalist and ended up recorded in disc the same year.

After 1972, there is no further information from the Tribe Massáhi group. The band formed by Ambassador, recorded the iconic album and a compact, recorded in São Paulo with the participation of pianist Luiz Mello. Also this year, Ambassador created the group Trio Moenda, who started playing in a hotel in Rio de Janeiro and then was sent to Philadelphia under the name of Brazil Moenda Trio. There, however, the group lasted only six months and Ambassador stayed in the United States working as a draftsman, another of its artistic facets.
In 1985, Ambassador still participated in the film Quilombo, directed by Cacá Diegues. In the work, represented Congo, one of the black chiefs of Quilombo of Palmares. Later on, he would play in the Tenda dos Milagres series, based on the work of Jorge Amado, where he represented Xangô.

In the late 1980s, work as an actor began to run short and Ambassador's financial situation was tight. Without money, after having separated from his wife, he turned to a friend who received him in Morro do Fubá, where the musician had a shack at his disposal and a machine to make silk screen and small seams. In his workshop, he made stickers, stripes and cut molds for clothes.

At that time, he worked on the Adelzon Alves program, which was broadcast daily on Radio Globo. Even in a difficult situation, the musician did not stop to build projects and to work artistically. In an edition of Jornal O Globo on October 13, 1989, the musician spoke about his dream of building a music market in Rio de Janeiro. He was working to present his project to the mayor of the city.

In 1994, Ambassador was sent to the Retreat of Artists, an institution in Rio de Janeiro that welcomes elderly artists in financial difficulties. There he spent the rest of his days. He arrived at the institution without any good, only with the clothes of the body, had no visits of relatives, but did not let that appear in sadness. He was always singing and telling his stories.

However, at 60 years of age, his health was no longer such things. Two years after his arrival, on December 27, 1996, the musician died of acute myocardial infarction. At his funeral, only a few friends of the Artists' Retreat and close acquaintances attended. Without recognition of his work in life, it is almost 20 years after his death that the history of his album is unveiled and his memory is honored with the first official re-launch of his work. Long live the work of Sebastião, Ambassador, who is now registered in greater reach. May your thoughts feed others dreamers through the world!...........................

As far as rare records are concerned, the absence of a story can sometimes be more compelling than the most outrageous. As Luaka Bop’s Who Is William Onyeabor? release showed, reissues can be as much about the journey as the destination. Thankfully, as far as Tribo Massáhi are concerned, there’s no need to compromise one way or the other.

Empirically speaking, very little is known about Tribo Massáhi’s 1972 afro-psych long player Estrelando Embaixador. When we reported on this release in February, the words of one blogger seemed to sum up the baffled wonder of the record-collecting community quite nicely. As far as the music was concerned, it was simply a record of “candomblé-inspired psychedelic party music, taking the Afro-Brazilian sound into some wild territory… a heady mix of tropicalismo, chimed guitar, conversational chatter, studio fuckery, and heavy percussion with a female chorus. The songs blend together so that each side of the record runs as a continual piece.”
However, when it came to context, the scraps were far less descriptive. Rumour had it that the Tribo Massáhi studio band were bought together by enigmatic bit-part actor Embaixador (Ambassador) who had shelved an abortive acting career (which included one role as a gangster in a Brazilian James Bond-style musical) to record the album of his dreams, and something unlike anything heard in Brazil, before or after.

Although bootlegs of the release have been around for some time (themselves demanding three figure sums on the resale market), the excitement that built around Sao Paolo label Goma Gringa’s ‘official’ reissue was that more of the story was about to be revealed. With the originals said to have sold for upwards of $3,500 not all that long ago we caught up with Itamar and Frederic of Goma Gringa to hear the bizarre story of how a bit-part Brazilian Bond villain came to record one of the most unique and sought after records in his country’s history.

First things first, who were Tribo Massáhi?

Itamar: Tribo Massáhi was the band created by Embaixador in the end of 60’s. We couldn’t identify all of the members of the band, but we found Rui Barbosa, guitarist known by the name Ruy Ipanema, who told us some stories. We now also know the name of the drummer, Aladim, who was a great drummer and played on some important albums at the 1960s and ‘70s. Sadly he had already passed away. Another guitarist from the album was Toninho Mil Acordes, who people told us is alive, but we couldn’t find him.

Very little was known about it before – what is the story behind this record?

Itamar: Embaixador was a very well known character in Beco da Fome, in Copacabana. The place was often frequented by many artists seeking work in TV or cinema and Embaixador was the guy who could get them opportunities as extras. Ruy Ipanema told us that Embaixador managed to get one day at a studio to make the album, probably for free. He called in the musicians and they went to the studio at Rua do Senado, and recorded this treasure. However, as Rubem Confete, a friend of Embaixador, musician and afro dancer, told us: “At that time, things were difficult. As a small label, you did not have much chance. It was complicated. You took your album and went away.”

How did you track down the original? Could you tell us about the journey you went on to reissue it?

Fred: The first copy I held in my hands was Edson Carvalho’s one. I had scanned the cover in HD. He ended up selling it, so when we were ready to go with this reissue, he didn’t have it anymore, which meant we had to go after another copy. It was pretty complicated as we were in a rush and the one guy that we knew had the record (just bought from another friend) didn’t want to leave us alone with it, which is understandable. In the end, one afternoon while we were printing the cover of Thiago França’s “Malagueta, Perus e Bacanaço” LP, the cover designer, Julio Dui, told me that he had this record in perfect condition! Since he’s a great friend, he allowed us to borrow his copy. On the next day, with the copy in hand, we were recording at Yoka’s studio, the guy behind the record label “Somatoria do Barulho”.

Why is it so rare? And why does it appeal to collectors so much?

Itamar: I think, at that time, Embaixador made very few copies. He would use the album to open doors, to get work, but people didn’t pay much attention to the album. Then, more than 30 years after the release, some researchers found this album and thought: What the hell is this? Who is this guy?
I think one thing is undeniable: the album is great, and the lack of information about the record helped to create the magic around the Tribo Massáhi.

Fred: I don’t imagine more than 300 copies of this LP were ever pressed and even fewer sold. They might have even sent the remaining copies back to the factory for recycling.
 I guess that it is the same as other rare and expensive records; first of all, it’s a genuinely great record! The sound is fantastic and there aren’t any other LPs that sound like it. Coupled with the fact it is impossible to find, you then have all the ingredients for it to become a Holy Grail record!
 I think another fact that made this record super in-demand in the collector world is that this is a crossover LP. Brazilian records collectors want it, groove collectors want it, psych collectors want it…

There are also loads of bootlegs around (which are now also valuable). How does that affect you as an official reissue label?

Fred: Yes, I saw this… For us, It doesn’t make any difference since it is such a worshiped record and we came with the official reissue and more importantly the story behind it! Customers can tell the difference. Almost all the shops online have removed the bootlegs from their websites, some shops like Superfly Records even sent back their copies to the distributors, which is much appreciated.

Tribo Massáhi’s Estrelando Embaixador is out now.........................

Face A Timolȏ Timodê
1 Walk By Jungle
2 Fareuá
3 Harmatan
4 Dandara
Face B Lido's Square
1 Pae Joao
2 Menina De Janela
3 Oan
4 Madrugada Sem Luar

johnkatsmc5, welcome music..





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