Classics: Da Lata – Pra Manha (Palm Pictures)
To be honest, Britain is certainly not the first place that would come to mind when speakin’ of Latin Music. Although, let’s not forget about history. Beginning with the remainings of the Roman invasion. But also – would you believe this – the adoption of many French words in the current vocabulary. Such as “en route”, “cul-de-sac”, “bureau de change” and other “et voila” among others. Besides, I remember being said about Brighton that it was the Brazilian city per excellency in the country. And also finding a couple of record shops in Soho, such as Mr Bongo for instance where you could find some hot Latin jams squeezed in the UK. Such as Da Lata‘s ‘Pra Manha’ for instance. Not to mention a couple of labels which made their reputation with Latin vibes. Beginning with Disorient and Far Out Recordings.
‘Pra Manha’… Altough one should write “Prá Manhã” as a matter of fact. A cut which celebrated the arrival of Da Lata on Chris Blackwell‘s newly formed Palm Pictures label. On the heels of ‘Ponteio’ which they released on Far Out, ‘Pra Manha’ pretty much set up their unique signature.
Melding elements of Samba, Bossa and African music with everything from Funk, House, Rock and psychedelia to Jazz, Soul and Dub… They fuse genres with attitude and always retain a dancefloor sensibility. Thus redefining traditional Brazilian Music with a unique sense of aesthetic. As illustrated by the Bossa Nova fueled ‘Pra Manha’ featuring the sultry Liliana Chachian on vocals…
A quintessential figure in the history of British Music, Patrick Forge is so to say the Latin-influenced alter ego of Gilles Peterson. With these two figures eventually sharing the bill behind the decks at the Dingwalls back in the day. Both of them having the same elegance as characters and in their respective musical directions.
Also remembered for his semimal ‘The Rebirth Of Cool’ series of compilations on 4th & Broadway, Forge gave birth to Da Lata along with Smoke City head Chris Franck. With their first release – ‘Deep Water’ seeing the light back in 1995 as Trio Da Lata. This as a part of the ‘Brownswood Workshop – Multidirection 2′ compilation on Brownswood Records. However, the would have to wait for another couple of years before switching to the upper gear. Thus comin’ up with a cover version of Edu Lobo‘s classic ‘Ponteio’ on Far Out. Not to mention ‘Pra Manha’ which marked their debut on Chris Blackwell‘s Palm Pictures newly formed record label.
‘Songs From The Tin’, Da Lata‘s debut album didn’t see the light before 2000. This most likely because of Chris Franck‘s own activities from production to touring with Smoke City. And what a masterpiece they managed to come with. Featuring Brazilian singer Liliana Chachian along with percussionist Oli Savill (Deep Tenor City). Thus spanning extra gems such as ‘Binti’ and ‘Rio Vida’. This in addition to the touching ‘Cores’.
‘Serious’, their follow-up album three years later, marked an obvious change. Firstly because of the departures of Chachian and Savill. But also in terms of artistic direction. Thus exploring extra territories and eventually comin’ up with a more electronic approach. And when I read on Wikipedia they “took on other world music influences”, I fully subscribe. But I can’t help myself smiling. This when reading the end of the sentence that says: “particularly Afrobeat”. As, apart from its title cut featuring Bembé Segué and Mamami Keita, there’s not much related to Fela Kuti’s music on this album at the end. But if you have any doubt, just check the soothing ‘Can It Be?’ featuring Courtney Denni. Or ‘Reeling’ featuring Jhelisa Anderson, and let us know.
They eventually ventured into Broken Beat territories that same year. Comin’ up with the groovy ‘Changes’ for Japanese label Especial Records. And, from then, nothing would come out of Da Lata‘s hat until 2008. The band delivering a one-off by the likes of ‘This Is Not Your Job’ on Papa Records. Itself with remixes courtesy of Faze Action, Yass and The Layabouts. Then, in 2012, they covered the Paul Weller penned ‘Going Underground’. Thus sharing the bill with Floetic Lara. The end of 2013 seeing them releasing their third album – Fabiola – on German label Agogo Records.
‘Free’, which followed in 2014, came to light as a non-album-single. Seeing Da Lata brilliantly evolving between Bossa Jazz and Jazz/Funk vibes. It would be one of their latest releases to date along with ‘The Shore’ which marked their return to Papa Records. An intoxicating bumpin’ gem featuring the sultry Sacha Gabriel on vocals with Toni Economides and Carl Smith in charge of the remixing duties. Then ‘Asking Eyes’, a cover version of Raffaela Renzulli Ensemble‘s 1987 cut of the likes during the Summer of 2016.
Meanwhile the band have announced on their site their return with some new music in March 2019. Stay chooned!
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