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Thursday, May 13, 2010
In 1983, Samuel Rosa (guitars, vocals) and Henrique Portugal (keyboards) started to play in a reggae band called "Pouso Alto", along with Dinho Mourão (drums) and his brother Alexandre (bass). In 1991, Pouso Alto arranged for a performance in São Paulo, but due to the Mourão brothers not being in Belo Horizonte, bassist Lelo Zaneti and drummer Haroldo Ferretti were called for the gig. The band premiered on June 5, 1991, and due to the performance competing with the Campeonato Paulista final match, the audience was 37 people. After the show, the group changed its name to Skank, inspired by Bob Marley's song "Easy skanking", and began to perform regularly at "Mister Beef" churrascaria in Belo Horizonte.
“ Imagine a bunch of white boys from BH playing reggae. Who would have bet on that? ”
—Samuel Rosa on their beginnings, Revista da Web, October 1999
After playing for some time in churrascarias, bars and clubhouses, the band spent US$10,000 in their first album, Skank, released as an independent CD in late 1992 with 3,000 copies, fully paid by the band members themselves. In 45 days, 1,200 were sold, and Sony Music signed the band as the first Brazilian act in its Chaos label. Skank was re-released in April 1993. The singles "O Homem Que Sabia Demais", "Tanto" (version of Bob Dylan's "I Want You") e "In(Dig)Nação" took the group on a 120 concerts tour around Brazil, and the album sold 250 thousand copies.
Calango (1994) was the first record produced by Dudu Marote. "É Proibido Fumar", "Te Ver", "Pacato Cidadão", "Esmola" and "Jackie Tequila" were hits, and Calango sold around 1,200,000 copies.
O Samba Poconé (1996)
O Samba Poconé was released in 1996. The album had three big hits, "Tão Seu", "É Uma Partida de Futebol", included by FIFA in the official soundtrack for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, and "Garota Nacional" which topped the Spanish charts for three months (under the Spanish title "Chica Nacional"), was the only Portuguese language song in the Sony Music compilation Soundtrack For a Century, released in 1997 to celebrate the company's centennial, and took the group on tour in Argentina, Chile, United States, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Portugal. Although "Garota Nacional" literally translates to "national girl", the song is not about the women of Brazil: it celebrates the "girls of Bar Nacional", a bar and nightclub in Belo Horizonte famous in the early 1990s for the beauty of its female patrons. Manu Chao featured in "Sem Terra", "Los Pretos" e "Zé Trindade". "O Samba Poconé" sold 1,800,000 cópias - 800,000 of those in two months.
Siderado, produced by John Shaw (UB 40) and Paul Ralphes, begins the band's movement towards a more rock and roll sound. The Clube da Esquina-influenced "Resposta" (re-recorded in 1999 by Milton Nascimento and Lô Borges, the latter the song's co-author with Samuel Rosa and Nando Reis), "Mandrake e Os Cubanos" and "Saideira" were hits. Released in 1998, Siderado sold 750 thousand copies. Daúde and Uakti participated as guest artists.
In 1999 Skank recorded an Spanish language version for "Wrapped Around Your Finger" in a tribute album for The Police entitled Outlandos d'America.
With Maquinarama, the band begins in earnest its move away from the ska and reggae sound towards a more rock oriented one influence by The Beatles, Clube da Esquina, Britpop and contemporary alternative rock. Maquinarama, produced by Chico Neves and Tom Capone and released in July 2000, sold 275 thousand copies. Some of the hit singles were "Três Lados", "Balada do Amor Inabalável" and "Canção Noturna". The original cover shows a Cadillac with graffiti by Californian artist Kenny Scharf. The international version has a different cover.
MTV ao vivo (2001)
In 2001, Skank recorded the first live album in Ouro Preto as part of the MTV Brasil's series "MTV Ao Vivo". MTV Ao Vivo sold 600 thousand copies. Besides a list of hits chosen by fans through Skank's website, the album had the new song "Acima do Sol", a national hit. In 2002 Samuel Rosa played acoustic guitar in "É Proibido Fumar", from the Acústico MTV (MTV Unplugged) by Roberto Carlos.
“ We would rather lose audience for sounding strange than for sounding stale ”
—Samuel Rosa on the different sound of the band from Maquinarama onwards, Revista Bizz, August 2006
Cosmotron, produced by Skank and Tom Capone, was released in July 2003 and sold 250 thousand copies - a disappointment next to their vigorous previous sales figures. Nevertheless the album had many radio and ringtone hits. "Supernova", "Dois Rios", "Vou Deixar" and "Amores Imperfeitos" were the main tracks. Cosmotron won the Latin Grammy - best Brazilian rock album award in 2004.
Released in October 2004, Radiola was the first compilation album by Skank. It included four new songs, including the Gilberto Gil cover "Vamos Fugir". The cover reproduces a painting by the hyped Los Angeles artists the Clayton Brothers. Radiola sold 200 thousand copies.
In March 2006 Skank began recording the new album Carrossel in their studio in Belo Horizonte, with producers Chico Neves, who also worked in Maquinarama, and Carlos Eduardo Miranda, producer the Acústico MTV album by O Rappa. Released in August, the album (a commercial disaster) had the semi-hits "Uma Canção É Pra Isso" and "Mil Acasos". Arnaldo Antunes ("Trancoso"), César Mauricio ("Lugar") and Humberto Effe ("Cara Nua" and "Notícia") were the songwriting partners.
“ Brazil is big enough for us. Doing shows abroad and exposing a diverse audience to our music demands a lot of time and energy. ”
Skank had some success with "Garota Nacional", that lead the Spanish charts, and "É Uma Partida de Futebol" was shown before some games of the 1998 World Cup due to being in the championship's soundtrack. By the time of O Samba Poconé, the group toured through Latin America and Europe, and appeared in big festivals such as Super Bock/Super Rock 1997 in Portugal , Páleo Festival 97 in Suíça, St. Gallen 98 in Switzerland, Montreux Jazz Festival 2001, and SummerStage 2002 in New York City. The group was also called for Rock in Rio III in 2001, but went out along with other Brazilian bands in protest against O Rappa's exclusion.
However, the band never invested much in its international career. Some songs received versions in Spanish, such as "Chica Nacional" ("Garota Nacional"), and "Respuesta" ("Resposta"), but foreign shows are usually in places with many Brazilians, such as Miami and New York City.
Samuel Rosa - vocals and guitar
Lelo Zaneti - bass
Henrique Portugal - keyboard, backing vocals
Haroldo Ferretti - drums
Skank (1993, 250,000 copies sold)
Calango (1994, 1,250,000 copies sold
O Samba Poconé (1996, 1,800,000 copies sold
Siderado (1998, 750,000 copies sold)
Maquinarama (2000, 275,000 copies sold)
Skank MTV ao vivo (2001, 600,000 copies sold)
Cosmotron (2003, 400,000 copies sold)
Radiola (2004, 240,000 copies sold)
Carrossel (2006, 200,000 copies sold)
Estandarte (2008, 70,000 copies sold)
Cosmotron won the Latin Grammy Award - Best Brazilian rock album in 2004.
Skank received the Premio Ondas in Spain as New Latin Group in 1997.
MTV Video Music Brasil: Viewer's Choice in 1996 ("Garota Nacional") and 1997 ("É Uma Partida de Futebol"); Video of the Year in 1999 ("Mandrake e os Cubanos"); Pop Video in 1996("Garota Nacional"), 1997("É Uma Partida de Futebol"), 1999("Mandrake e os Cubanos"), 2000 ("Três Lados"), 2003 ("Dois Rios") and 2004 ("Vou Deixar").