SONG OF THE DAY Biluka Y Los Canibales – Huashca De Corales


PrimaryThis music is so chirpy and loveable!! It feels like a very friendly bee buzzing about me and I love its innocence and energy! I love that it feels like my friend and greets me with pleasure and joy! It makes me happy and that is a beautiful thing!!

Dilson de Sauza (a.k.a Biluka) was a Brazilian musician known for his leaf playing!! Yes, you actually play a leaf and if, like me, you didn’t even know that was a thing, I’m sure you will love it forever more as I now do? Just in case you were wondering how to play a leaf, the musician curls the edge of a leaf into a semi-circle (along the leaf’s long edge) and “places the arch between the lips”, making sure that the leaf is touching both upper and lower lips. The leaf vibrates in contact with them as the player blows air across it…so now you know!

Based in Ecuador in the early 1960’s, Biluka’s preferred leaves were those of a ficus tree!! He played the leaf open, resting on his tongue, hands free, with his mouth as the resonator. Though a leaf can also be played rolled or folded in half, this method allowed for more precision, a tethered brilliance. A picked ficus leaf stays fresh, crisp and clean-toned for around ten hours. He could play eight compositions, four at each end, before it was spent. His out-of-this-world recordings have been described as a kind of “tropical chamber jazz on leaves”…I’ve not heard anything quite like this, its completely bewitched me!

Dilson was from a place in the Brazilian countryside called Barra do Pirai. He moved to Rio as a young man, where he he worked in construction. He recorded his first record in 1954 for RCA Victor before travelling to Quito in 1957, soon hooking up with Benitez & Valencia, who introduced him to the CAIFE label.

Biluka performed with a band called Los Canibales (named after Brazil’s 1920s “Cannibalist” movement, an artistic method that involved cannibalizing other cultures to fight against Eurocentric hegemony) and drew upon influences from around the world. Most notably, his sound was inspired by Afro-Latin jazz, all of which was defined by his leaf playing, percussion, chirpy electric organ and classical guitar. His compositions was an organic art form!

Earlier this year London’s Honest Jon’s Records released Leaf-Playing in Quito, an album which documents a craft that is barely understood in our corner of the planet (leaf playing isn’t unique to Brazil! In China they’ve been exploring the musical possibilities of the leaf for 10,000 years, and it’s still popular in Cambodia, and with indigenous Australians). Showcasing 19 gorgeous songs, this collection showcases his otherworldly talent!

Dilson de Souza just took this very classic, ancient sound and adapted to his own style….it’s simply unique! Leaf-Playing in Quito covers five golden years of his music, including today’s song: Huashca De Corales.  This whole record is a CHARM, so if you like today’s song, you will very much love the rest of this record!!..but don’t take my word for it, go see for yourselves – you can find that here. Enjoy!

About The Listening Post Blog

The Listening Post Blog - A place to discover new sounds, where the music speaks for itself..
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