The kings of Baião

January 22, 2010

Before Bossa Nova, there was baião. This contagious rhythm from the Northeast of Brazil was taken to Hollywood by Carmen Miranda, in the thirties, and later originated forró, one of the most delicious forms of Brazilian dance. But the huge international success of Tom Jobim and other Bossa Nova artists somehow eclipsed baião, that only recently had its world revival, thanks to David Byrne.

Luiz Gonzaga is still hugely popular

If you want to learn about baião – and you should – check this trailer of the new documentary “O Homem que  Engarrafava Nuvens” (The Man that Bottled Clouds), that portraits its creator, composer Humberto Teixeira. The videoclip is, unfortunately, only in Portuguese, but you will definitely get the vibe.

Teixeira produced some masterpieces that became well-known in the voice of his main partner, Luiz Gonzaga, the so-called “King of baião“. You may have heard Gonzaga singing “Asa Branca” or “Qui Nem Jiló”  or “Adeus Maria Fulô“. The trademark of baião is the use of the sanfona (a type of accordion) and of the zabumba, a drum played with a mallet and a stick, each striking one side.

One curiosity: Teixeira was the father of Denise Dummont, a Brazilian actress that had some success in the US in the eighties, playing in “Kiss of the Spider Woman” (1985) and Woody Allen’s “Radio Days” (1987).



  1. Lírio is a great filmmaker, this film is highly recommended, it’s still doing the rounds in festivals right now (recently it was playing here in Montreal). There’s a not-as-good preview with subtitles here: http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=-7169413877428879180&ei=80paS_iOIIqVlAfb0snPAg&q=The+Man+who+Bottled+Clouds&hl=en-GB#

  2. I saw it here in Recife last week. Fantastic documentary. Really worth watching.

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