Beat the Donkey

Beat the Donkey

by Cyro Baptista & Beat the Donkey


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Beat the Donkey

Make no mistake -- Beat the Donkey (translated from the Portuguese "Pau la Mula" as "let's go" or "let's do it") is not a reference to animal cruelty, but percussion Cyro Baptista's calling card to party. This debut recording for the group is split into fragments of small ensembles, a rotating cadre of players (a sextet at best) from many different disciplines. They range from riotous celebratory dance to multi-ethnic elements, cerebral, lighthearted, at times goofy and at other times heavy. There is no real core band, but rather a Gypsy circus loose association with Baptista clearly the madcap ringleader. Brazilian music can be the center of Beat the Donkey, but also Balkan sounds, nomadic music, rock and funk, and a festive attitude that surely appeals to summertime outdoor merrymaking. Carnival meets hard rock circus at a stoner party during "Caranguejo Estrela Brilhante" (The Crab and the Shining Star) with fuzz guitar from Viva DeConcini and electric cello by Erik Friedlander; an expressive madlib rock & roll style identifies "O Canto da Ema," centered by Marc Ribot's wah-wah guitar; and the ethnic "Mr. Bugaloo" is a percussion workout accented by John Zorn's sax and the accordion of Toninho Ferragutti. On the softer side is the excellent "Parar de Fumar," a pleasant straight samba with featured clarinetist Anat Cohen. A circular acoustic guitar from Ribot during "Cyrandeiro" recalls West African kora music, while the sweet "Sapo and the Prince" has the wonderful vocalist Luciana Souza singing encouragement to a frog reluctantly turned prince, shaded by blown bottle sounds and finger snaps. "Rio de Jakarta" is the perfect melding of Balinese gamelan and layered Brazilian rhythms; a 6/8 "Ama" is rife with handclaps, the melody expertly played by guitarist Romero Lubambo similar to the Gypsy anthem "Dark Eyes"; while bloogles or sound tubes send the band into space during the dark and bizarre "Sweet Cuica" and the percussion-based "Funk I," the latter piece recorded live at La Plaza in Boston via radio station WGBH-FM. At some point, a more extensive live recording with a fixed band should be in the offering to fully hear Beat the Donkey's worldwide, expressive, and exuberant repertoire.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/22/2002
Label: Tzadik
UPC: 0702397760825
catalogNumber: 7608
Rank: 75104

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Cyro Baptista & Beat the Donkey   Primary Artist,Percussion,Gong,Triangle,Vocals,Voices,Gamelan,Bells,Bottle,Hand Clapping,Caxixi,Pandeiro,Repique,Surdo,Tape,Cuica,Rayong,cowbell,Wood Block,Tamborim,Hadgini,Metallophone,Ceramic Drums,Vacuum Cleaner
Marc Ribot   Electric Guitar,Guitar (Nylon String)
Cyro Baptista   Percussion,Jew's Harp,Vocals,Washboard,Bottle,Cuica,Rubboard,Jaw Harp,Hadgini,Ceramic Drums,Guitar (Nylon String)
Sergio Brandao   Vocals,Cavaquinho,Guitar (Nylon String)
Francisco Centeno   Bass
Erik Friedlander   Cello,Electric Cello
Romero Lubambo   Steel Guitar,Guitar (Nylon String)
Nilson Matta   Bass
Peter Scherer   Synthesizer,Sampling
John Zorn   Saxophone
Kevin Breit   Guitar
Jamie Saft   Synthesizer
Jorge Alabe   Repique
Luciana Souza   Vocals
Toninho Ferragutti   Accordion
Anat Cohen   Clarinet,Vocals
Vanessa Saft   Vocals
Viva DeConcini   Electric Guitar
Amir Ziv   Metallophone
Sergio Bandão   Bass,Vocals,Cavaquinho,Guitar (Nylon String)
Tisza Coelho   Vocals
Kristina Kanders   Kempur
Max Pollack   Vocals,Tape
Beat The Donkey   Percussion,Vocals,Gamelan,Hand Clapping

Technical Credits

Cyro Baptista   Producer,Audio Production
John Zorn   Executive Producer
Jorge Alabe   Contributor
Tomer Tzur   Contributor
Eleonora Alberto   Producer,Audio Production
Viva DeConcini   Vocoder Programming
Tim Keiper   Contributor
Patricia Alvarado Nuñez   Producer
Sabina Ciari   Contributor
Bob Comiskey   Director
Chuck Eldridge   Lighting Director
Mauricio   Contributor
Cabello Rolim   Contributor
Tamango   Contributor
Cyro Baptista & Beat the Donkey   Sound Effects,Contributor

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