In Brazil there's a state called "Bahia". It's Brazil's Terra Mágica -- Magic Land...African Brazil, where it's not necessary to believe in magic to feel a resonance to the universe that one might not feel elsewhere...

The expression of this resonance is musical. And yes, Bahia has its superstars, singers/songwriters you may or may not have heard of but of which millions have. People with record contracts and press agents; lauded and applauded...the talented and sometimes not undeserving glam.

And then it has the primordials. Unlauded and little applauded, seldom venturing beyond their villages; they are the spine, the root, the soul of it all, the base and beginning...and some of them are iconic.

João do Boi (John of the Ox) is the Son House of Brazil. Held in the utmost respect by the small coterie of insiders with respect to this art.


João Saturno, aka "João do Boi", John of the Ox

What is this art? African samba, the source from which Brazil's national music grew and effloresced, the delta blues of Brazil...

So here's the problem: Although this music will never be wildly popular, will never be Jay-Z and Beyoncé, a lot of people hearing of it and hearing it for the first time are entranced. In some way it resonates with them and enriches their lives...but most people who WOULD feel this way never get the chance to because there's NO CONNECTION between them and the people who make the music.

So we've built a way to make these connections.

This is a codex (codex = "book" in Latin), and in this codex people have pages. Upon and within these pages they can do what people have come to expect in this modern age...describe themselves and what they do, what they're going to do, embed their videos and put their music... And they can connect their page to those of others, and others can then follow those connections...

...Connections which do not stop at one step. They go on and on, and on, and at every step we are following a tacit recommendation, IF we care to! If I'm on the page of somebody who for whatever reason I respect, because I know them, or know of them, or they've been recommended by somebody I know or know of, or I simply like what I find there...then maybe I want to see who they recommend...

So take João and his friends and family out in the middle of nowhere, Bahia. I link to them. New Orleans writer Jay Mazza links to me. New Orleans trumpeter Kermit Ruffins links to Jay. NOW there are bridges, pipelines, solid connections to that village. Where there were none before.

But for this to work for João do Boi, and Raimundo Sodré, and Bule Bule, and Mateus Aleluia, it can't just be me and Jay and Kermit... Somebody in Istanbul should be able to access somebody in Paris, and follow bridging pipelines to and through Donegal and County Clare, Edinburgh, Brixton, Ouagadougu, Treme, Havana, Kingston, Madureira, the Bronx...

Because when one person adds themselves to this, and connects themselves to others, they become a bigger part of it than just their self...they become conduits on the way to people they don't even know, from people whose existence they are entirely unaware of, for people they've never met in their lives.

So yes, it is just linking. But it's linking with a purpose which subsumes one into a resonance which comes from having pathways to (potentially) all people making music today, known and unknown alike, even to humble villages in the backlands of Bahia, Brazil, where some extraordinary music is made.

Is that cool with you?
  The codex began as a way for wonderful unknown musicians in a far away (Bahia,Brazil) place to be findable by the world-at-large.

I link to the Saturno brothers (right). New Orleans writer Jay Mazza links to me. New Orleans trumpet player Kermit Ruffins (left) links to Jay (other people link to Kermit...).

Creating a link trail from Kermit's barbecues to the Saturno brothers' sambas. Trails like this wend and wind and intertwine, leading to wonderful musicians scattered in the far corners of planet earth. They also include educators, musicophiles, venues, outlets, et al, and writers for Downbeat, The New Yorker, The New York Times...
 
This is Brazil's analog to the delta blues (the boat is for offerings for Yemanjá, the sea goddess). Samba chula filmed in São Braz, Bahia.
  Aaron wasted no time in the Big Apple. He quickly established himself as an in-demand sideman, performing with a vast array of leaders including Al Foster, Freddie Hubbard, Stefon Harris, Tom Harrell, Greg Tardy, John Ellis, Nicholas Payton and many others. In 1998 he joined the band of Joshua Redman, with whom he toured for 4 years and recorded two albums (Beyond, 2001 and Passage of Time, 2002). He subsequently spent 3 years performing with guitar guru Kurt Rosenwinkel and a year with trumpet icon Wynton Marsalis, in his quartet as well as the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra.

Contribute to the sum of the current world's musical knowledge and accessibility.
 

  Bruce Saunders is a guitar player, composer, author and educator. He's on the faculty of the Berklee College of Music, where he teaches jazz guitar, and he's recorded, toured, and performed with Jack DeJohnette, Dave Holland, Bill Stewart, Peter Erskine, Kenny Werner, Mark Murphy, John Riley, Ben Monder, Curtis Fowlkes, George Garzone, Leon Parker, David Berkman, Gerald Cleaver, Steve Cardenas, Donny McCaslin, and Scott Colley, among others.

Dan Moretti is a full-time professor at Berklee and he plays and has played and recorded extensively with artists including Aretha Franklin, The Temptations, Mike Stern, Dave Samuels, Dave Liebman, Marvin Stamm, The Crusaders, and Nile Rogers/Chic.

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  Mitch Jones lived by the river when London was calling, back in the days of The Clash. He went on to Big Audio Dynamite and now partners with Tony James in Carbon | Silicon.

Simon Brook -- son of British theater lion Peter Brook, is the cub who roars. His latest documentary features the above-cited Mitch Jones, along with Paul McCartney.

Contribute to the sum of the current world's musical knowledge and accessibility.
 

  Nilze Carvalho first recorded at twelve years of age. She's a sophisticated lady who plays sophisticated choro and sweet, sweet samba...one of the keystones of the current generation of Brazilians' great national art forms.

Raimundo Sodré roared out of the Bahian backlands and into national fame in 1980. His career was crushed during Brazil's dictatorship and he fled the country in fear for his life. He's back, older now, maybe wiser, but definitely producing more soul-churning music than ever.

Contribute to the sum of the current world's musical knowledge and accessibility.
 

  Beyond scoring George A. Romero's ("Night of the Living Dead") films "Martin" and "Knightriders", and co-composing the theme for the series "Tales from the Darkside", Donald Rubinstein is best known for his avant-garde jazz/rock collaborations with the likes of Bill Frisell, Emil Richards, and Wayne Horwitz. He's also partnered with a number of other notable performers, including Hank Roberts, Bob Moses, Steve Gorn, Vinny Golia, collaborating in film recordings and live performances.

Bobby Sanabria has performed with Mario Bauzá, Dizzy Gillespie, Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaría, Chico Freeman, Paquito D'Rivera, Candido, Ray Barretto, Chico O'Farrill, Francisco Aguabella, Henry Threadgill, Luis "Perico" Ortiz, Daniel Ponce, Michael Gibbs and others. He teaches at the Manhattan School of Music and The New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music.

Contribute to the sum of the current world's musical knowledge and accessibility.
 

  World Café is hosted by David Dye, broadcasting a highly eclectic mix of music ranging through blues, rock, and wide-world to folk and alternative country, with live performances and interviews featuring both celebrated and emerging artists. The program is produced by WXPN in Philadelphia and is distributed nationally through NPR Music to over 200 stations across the United States.

Born in Africa, raised in Scotland, at home nowhere and everywhere, Toby Gough is a British theatrical director, producer and writer whose productions have played the UK, Europe, India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, Cuba, Africa, and New York City, among other places.

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"I'm Toby Gough and I've probably gotten more musicians out of Cuba and before the world than anybody else alive. Sparrow's codex is another version of what I'm doing!"
 

  Tommy Peoples is the legendary Donegal fiddler. He worked with The Bothy Band, participating in the recording of one of the biggest selling album of traditional Irish music of all time (and there's a problem there but he'll have to tell you about it).

James Gavin has contributed liner notes to over 400 CDs, including reissues he produced for Verve, Blue Note, and Koch Jazz. He writes for the New York Times, Vanity Fair, and numerous other publications. He's the author of biographies of Chet Baker and Lena Horne.

Contribute to the sum of the current world's musical knowledge and accessibility.
 

  Wah Wah Watson was a Motown Funk Brother (the label's house band). He was one of Herbie Hancock's Headhunters. He created the guitar sound used in Shaft and every other movie in the genre. He's one of the hardest working session men putting the groove in today.

Casey Driessen is a fiddle player who's played/collaborated with Béla Fleck, Bassekou Kouyate, The Sparrow Quartet, Tim O’Brien, Darrell Scott, Steve Earle, and Frank Vignola (along with musicians from China, from the Republic of Tuva, and from four African countries).

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  Marco Pereira Marco Pereira is a scintillating Brazilian guitarist, taught by an Uruguaian master and educated at the Sorbonne.

Beyond concerts, recordings, composing and arranging, he is a professor himself, at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

Juliana Ribeiro is a Bahiana who sings the styles of Brazilian plantations -- chulas, lundus, jongos -- the drawing-room music of 19th century Rio -- maxixes -- Angolan semba and Brazilian urban samba. She's a historical musicologist with a master's degree from the Federal University of Bahia, and will be appearing in Spike Lee's upcoming documentary about Brazilian music.

Contribute to the sum of the current world's musical knowledge and accessibility.
 

 

Hermeto Pascoal is the mago (wizard) from the state of Alagoas, Brazil. And Mino Cinelu the percussionist with island blood in France.

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      Paulinho da Viola has matured as gracefully as he plays and composes, into Brazil's elder statesman of samba, a living connection to Brazil's golden age of samba and an artist who never bowed to the foreign winds of crossover. For this his music today sounds as undated as it did in his early days of composing, at the beginning of the 1960s.

    Although shy by nature, Paulinho played on equal terms musically with the greats who'd come up through the twenties, thirties, forties and fifties, and today it can be said without exaggeration that he is truly a Brazilian national treasure.

    He is founder of the Velha Guarda da Portela (and is quite naturalmente um portelense de coração!).