Home  >  Magazine  >  Issue 19 : Nov/Dec 2007  > Columns  >  Travelers Tune  >  The New, Old Sounds of Brazil


Travelers Tune

By Shoutaro Takahashi

The New, Old Sounds of Brazil


Arto Lindsay takes us on a backwoods beat tour of Brazil where both he and his music made the transition from adolescence to adulthood.

Many musicians have put a great deal of effort into creating radical music, but few have done this while reaching a large fan base and commercial success. Enter Arto Lindsay. With his eccentric guitar licks and a mixture of punk, jazz and funk, Lindsay holds the attention of an adoring public and maintains a lofty existence.

“I lived in Brazil from age 3 until 17,” begins Arto. “I’m not sure exactly when it happened but, after I returned to America, I started to become much more interested in Brazilian music.”
Lindsay’s devotion to his South American roots greatly influenced his recent solo effort. Those already taken with his style of music are well aware of this connection. One would imagine someone whose name is now synonymous with Brazilian beats would know every nook and cranny of the music scene, right?

“Not really. Brazil is such a huge country,” says the artist. “I can’t even get my head around everything. You’d be surprised to hear what’s coming out of the out-lying cities. Rhythms and beats I’ve never even heard still lie dormant out there in places like…”

He begins to list an endless number of locales. I pull out a map and ask him to circle five main areas: Belem, San Luis, Recife, Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The first four have stylings difficult to place in a specific genre and could contain musical offerings yet to be discovered; music not even known by the great Arto Lindsay. Discovering a new style of music would be exciting. But perhaps discoveries such as these would best be left to those more familiar with Brazilian music.

“Don’t put it past yourself,” Lindsay encourages. “You should pack up and go. The music-filled streets and delicious local cuisine are worth the ticket. In the end, however, it’s always best for first-timers to find their way to Rio to be dazzled by the numerous talented bands. You can pick up CDs only available locally and maybe discover a musician or two prior to their big debut.”
That settles it—I’m off to Rio. Once I become defter in the ways of Brazilian music, I’ll make my way toward the outlying areas. A Brazilian adventure seems best taken one step at a time.

The music that tells the history of Arto Lindsay:


His musical beginnings were with DNA, well known on the New York punk scene. Since he is playing with only 11 strings on his 12-string guitar, his sound runs well into avant-garde.

The Lounge Lizards
The Lounge Lizards(Plan 9/Caroline)

Moving next to jazz, Lindsay explores a unique genre called “fake jazz” with an array of contorted guitar pieces.

Ambitious Lovers
Greed (Virgin)

Sharing the stage with Peter Scherer, Arto showcases a pop sound highlighted with the Brazilian beats for which he is now known. This is a highlight of ’80s funk.

Arto Lindsay
Salt(Righteous Babe)

Moving closer still to his Brazilian roots, Lindsay’s most recent solo album (in 2004), was followed by a special release in Japan titled Salt 2, featuring Japanese artist Cornelius.