Curumin’s past meets his future in ‘Arrocha’

When asked what he was looking forward to during his performance last week at Double Door, Curumin (KOO-roo-mean), known for his soulful re-interpretation of traditional Brazilian music, said he hoped to see “Chicagoans floating.” He succeeded in moving the tightly gathered audience as they swayed happily along to each of his songs. The multi-instrumentalist is currently on tour in promotion of his newest recording, “Arrocha” (Six Degrees Records).

Curumin, 35, was born Luciano Nakata Albuquerque to Spanish and Japanese parents in São Paulo, Brazil. His career in music started early and he even recalls playing with fellow record label/touring partner, Céu, when they were kids. In 2005, alternative hip-hop crew Blackalicious discovered him during one of their tours and quickly signed him up to release his debut album, “Achados e Perdidos” (Quannum Projects). This was just the beginning as he began to establish himself as an artist in the United States and quickly thereafter began playing international festivals. Just a year later, in 2005, his song “Guerreiro” was used in a Nike ad during the FIFA World Cup. He followed up the success of his debut album with an even more successful recording titled “JapanPopShow” in 2008. His continued fusion of samba, reggae, funk and hip-hop earned him praise from the music industry’s most feared critics.

As he approached the recording of his now fourth album “Arrocha,” the idea of going back in order to move forward came to play during the creative process. The music reflects a new take on electronica, ingeniously restructured to include the music he grew up with. “The rhythm came from the roots. I search the roots to begin all my creations. It’s looking for something new, something to learn… to go for it. It’s where I get to instigate, to do something different,” he explained.

At first, Curumin says that he felt some responsibility in sharing versions of Brazilian music. “I guess in my first album I was preoccupied to have some samba, some Brazilian mood into it. […] as a drummer, I was looking for the beat, trying to get the roots of our rhythm. In this last album, those questions changed,” he said. “I mean, I don’t need to put samba in my beat to be Brazilian, but where is my beat?”

Curumin’s arrangements are a musical prosody. The warm, soothing sounds provided by his genuine tropicalia, groove along with modern electronic beats and funky jazz rhythms effortlessly. He’s part of a new stream of musicians proud to promote Brazilian music in a new way. “I’m happy that the alternative scene in Brazil is building,” he said.  The past, meeting and falling in love with the future, never sounded as good as it does on “Arrocha.”

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