Jorge Ben Jor + Liniker e os Caramelows: Live review | HOTA | Friday 6 March 2020

A Carnival atmosphere awakened at HOTA’s outdoor stage with thanks to two major Brazilian drawcards; Música Popular Brasileira legend Jorge Ben Jor and sparkling new funksters, Liniker e os Caramelows. As DJ Emma Peel spun sultry bossa nova sounds on stage in the twilight, wave upon wave of excited young Gold Coast-loving Brazilians filled the green space.

Koombumerri man Uncle John Graham kicked off the ten-day OUT LOUD Festival nailing his Welcome to Country, acknowledging the Yugambeh land and its Elders with a sea of loud appreciative cheers. After Uncle John introduced lead singer Liniker to the stage with a heartfelt welcome, Brazil’s rising stars Liniker e os Caramelows, costumed in shades of revolutionary red, had us all instantly swaying to a tropical ska vibe and jazz-filled sax solo.

Liniker Barros took to the stage dressed in a peach coloured pleated pantsuit, her fans calling out: “Lin-iker, Lin-iker” in admiration.  Rolling out songs from their latest album ‘Colela Abaixo’, the Caramelows had us dancing in the cool of the rain to the soulful ‘Boca’ and to the melodrama of ‘Beau’ and ‘Lava’.  Liniker’s sublime voice hit the high drama notes and dug deep to reveal her emotionally charged tones as the crowd sang along in Portuguese to song favourites ‘Caeu’ and ‘Zero’. Ending the set with turbocharged pulsing congas – the seven-piece band ignited GC Brazil with ‘Bembon’ and ‘Robô’.  Liniker and her exceptional instrumentalists flowed in cruise control from one love-filled tribal funk number to the next.

It was understandable, the surge of young Brazilians getting as close to the stage as they could to see music icon Jorge Ben Jor.  His samba infused new wave rhythms have been a key influencer to not only popular music in Brazil over the last fifty years, but to the English pop music world. You can hear borrowed ska riffs used in 80’s bands such as Madness and feel the bass funk lines replicated in disco – blueprints in popular music. The Brazilian crowd knew every song, many naturally dancing with their partners to the red-carpet list of compositions such as ‘Chove Chuva’, ‘Oba, la vem ela’, and ‘Ive Brussel’.

His band – complete with a knock-out horn section and looking very GC in head to toe white – invisibly flicked through the Jorge songbook. Nearing the end of the concert, the crowd pogo jumped with arms waving in the air chanting to all-time 70’s favourite ‘Taj Mahal’ – the familiar melodic song that Jorge successfully sued Rod Stewart for ‘unconsciously plagiarising’ on his lycra leggings hit ‘Do ya think I’m sexy’ (Rod agreed to donate his royalties to UNICEF).

Jorge Ben’s compositions a little like football, are etched into the Brazilian psyche.  For a Jorge Ben Jor newbie it was enlightening to learn how this artist has influenced the fusion of music styles we hear today.   The start of OUT LOUD Festival provided in impeccable style a night to appreciate the diversity of people and music, and the chance to hang out with a thousand friendly Brazilians.  Savvy programming from HOTA for luring such artists and such a beautiful community.

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