By Nomali Cele
Jazz connoisseurs love good experiences. It’s a part of the culture. From spotting a sample or influence that many miss to finding a rare record, jazz lends itself to inspiring its lovers to seek out the rare. Obrigado, curated by MNM Marketing (whose founders include DJs Tha Muzik and Kenzhero) present events and experiences that pay homage to Latin music.
We spoke to Tha Muzik to get to the heart of Obrigado and the Latin music that drives the experience.
What is Obrigado?
It is a unique, courageous and exciting exploration of Latin American influences in music, art, food and fashion. It is a platform for cultural exchange between Africa and Latin America using South Africa and Brazil as gateways and markets for cultural assets developed by various creative industry players. It was established in 2014 and is currently in our 3rd year. We have grown from a small and intimate appreciation hotspot to being a highly sought-after cultural experience.
What’s your understanding of Latin Jazz as a genre?
This is an interesting question. Often, many tend to get this definition mixed up. Latin music is very broad and finds its roots in Africa from a rhythm point of view. It’s a rhythm that was brought by African slaves. Latin Jazz can be divided into 2 major subgenres and that is; Afro-Cuban Jazz which is a fusion of Afro-Cuban music and Jazz. The 2nd and probably the most popular is Afro Brazilian jazz in the form of Jazz Samba and Bossa Nova.
How has Latin Jazz inspired Obrigado?
Myself and Dj Kenzhero have an acute love for Brazillian music most notably Bossa nova and Samba. We’d begun fusing it into our sets and the response was rather positive. Based on this common love, we sat down and felt that people need to hear more of this type of music and that’s how we decided to have Obrigado. Latin jazz forms a part of the music we play at Obrigado. To summarise, we play predominantly Samba, Latin Jazz (Afro-Cuban, Bossa Nova and Jazz Samba). So what really inspired Obrigado are the rhythms brought by slaves to South America that birthed this sound.
What are some of your favourite Latin Jazz records?
Blue Note records probably has the best catalogue of Latin Jazz. There are also artists such as Cal Tjader, Tito Puente, Chick Corea, Sergio Mendes, Joao Gilberto, Astrud Gilberto, Carlos Jobim, Joao Donato, Djavan, Orlandivo the list is endless.
How will Obrigado Travels highlight Latin Jazz if at all?
“Life is an unfoldment, and the further we travel the more truth we can comprehend. To understand the things that are at our door is the best preparation for understanding those that lie beyond.” Obrigado is a travelling lifestyle brand. Our vision is to build a bridge between Africa and Latin South America that enables cross-cultural exchange. Music is the golden thread that drives this vision. Our travels to Brazil and Argentina were premised on this yearning to learn, build and grow. In our journey, we were privileged to experience the depth of culture in food, fashion, art and storytelling, which are the building blocks of Obrigado. It was indeed a colourful experience. The documentary is a snapshot of our journey and a celebration of the launch of Obrigado Travels.
Who are some of your Latin Jazz influences and favourites?
Samba musicians are probably the most influential such as Jorge Ben Jor, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Caetano Veloso etc.
Do you think we have enough appreciation of Latin Jazz and Afro-latinx culture on the continent? How can we amp it up?
Since the inception of Obrigado, we are very much on our way as the message is spreading.
Recommend three songs for a Latin Jazz novice.
Flor De liz by Gretchen Parlato
Djavan – Muito Obrigado
Joao Donato – A Ra