09. Chico Science & Nação Zumbi: Hybridity and Experimentation in the Manguebeat Movement



1. Chico Science & Nação Zumbi, “A cidade”

From: Da lama ao caos, Chaos/Sony 850.224/2-464476, 1994, CD.


Composed by Chico Science (incidental song: “Amor de criança”, by Velho Faceta).  Musicians: Chico Science (vocal); Lucio Maia (guitars); Alexandre Dengue (bass); Jorge Du Peixe (alfaia - percussion); Gira (alfaia - percussion); Gilmar Bola Oito (alfaia - percussion); Toca Ogan (other percussions); Canhoto (snare drum).




On this song, the beats of the alfaias reveal a peculiar mix between the syncopation of maracatu de baque virado and the beat of funk. There is also the steady beat of the ganzá, rolls of the tarol (a shallow, double-headed snare drum) with accents at certain counterpoints, and a second snare drum with accents on the second and fourth beats of the bar, a form used in rock, which highlights another hybrid aspect. The electric guitar comes in two distinct forms: one that reproduces a funk riff alternating with accents that accompany the syncopation of maracatu and another that produces distorted chords as in heavy metal. The guitar solo explores timbres and effects provided by pedals and distortion, sustained notes and a reasonable use of noise. The absence of the drum set is not perceived as the acoustic strength of the beat of the drums fills this lack. The lyrics talk about the city of Recife, especially on the poorness, the difference between the rich people and the poor ones, the buildings and the violence.


2. Chico Science & Nação Zumbi, “Mateus enter”

From: Afrociberdelia, Chaos/Sony 850.278/2-479255, 1996, CD.


Composed by Chico Science & Nação Zumbi. Musicians: Chico Science (vocal), Lucio Maia (guitars), Alexandre Dengue (bass), Jorge Du Peixe (alfaia – percussion), Pupillo (drums), Gira (alfaia – percussion), Gilmar Bola Oito (alfaia – percussion) and Toca Ogan (other percussions).


Original record


Live version (1996)



Besides mentioning Mateus (Matthew), a crafty hero of maracatu, the lyrics indicate a typical calling from the people of the streets for the common party in all the toadas (songs) of maracatu. Science urges the public to listen to Nação Zumbi and dance to its music to make the dust rise. The contact of the maracatu group with its audience in the street is an important element for the functioning of the celebration and for the production of cultural meaning. Almost in the same manner of the great masters of revelry and their respective nations, CSNZ binds itself to the people, who are its audience, through the call and the communion, with a right to music and the joy of the party.


3. Chico Science & Nação Zumbi, “O cidadão do mundo”

From: Afrociberdelia, Chaos/Sony 850.278/2-479255, 1996, CD.


Composed by Chico Science & Nação Zumbi and Eduardo Bidlovski. Samples of songs: “Louvação”, performed by Gilberto Gil; “Cuidado com o bulldog”, performed by Jorge Ben Jor; “Batmacumba”, performed by Os Mutantes. Musicians: Chico Science (vocal); Lucio Maia (guitars); Alexandre Dengue (bass); Jorge Du Peixe (alfaia – percussion); Pupillo (drums); Gira (alfaia – percussion); Gilmar Bola Oito (alfaia – percussion) and Toca Ogan (other percussions).




This song is an example of how some hybridisms occur. This track has four clear parts in which appear, more or less mixed, rhythmic, melodic, instrumental and vocal aspects from four music traditions involved in the compositions of CSNZ: funk, maracatu, heavy metal and a hybrid of rap, raggamuffin (an accelerated Jamaican singing) and embolada (singing in a fast meter, rhymed, full of alliterations and improvisation in which two singers challenge each other with teasing and good humor). The song “O cidadão do mundo”, within the melodic pattern of the mixolydian mode characteristic of some Brazilian northeastern melodies, was recorded with a slight effect of distortion. The high speed of the diction, the repetition of notes and the small amplitude of the tessitura, features common to the traditions of singing in rap, embolada and raggamuffin, are important aspects of the mixes of CSNZ.