Ropeadope Records has a new subsidiary label called Tribo Records and this year’s first release is from electric bass and pandeiro duo Charlie Wooton & Rafa Pereira.
The pandeiro is a Brazilian frame drum often quoted as being the unofficial instrument of the nation. It is shaped like a tambourine, but played with an open hand rather than being shaken or hit. Rafa Pereira, who also plays for Janelle Monae, plays pandeiro beautifully, complementing the thick, tasty bass lines of Charlie Wooton with adept percussive rhythms.
The first track “Suspended” begins with eight bars of pandeiro, a great introduction to what the instrument sounds like for the unfamiliar. At first I was dubious about how a pandeiro and bass could pull off an entire album of interesting tracks. After all, neither instrument is a melodic instrument and both are typically found in the background of a band setting. However, the bass lines are strong and melodic with many of the riffs sounding more similar to an acoustic guitar than a typical bass line.
Peja, my favorite track on the album, is a beautiful piece that showcases Wooton’s ability with the song beginning with a solo from him. It is reminiscent of Jaco Pastorius and a nice way to ease into the remainder of the track, which picks up tempo and is fantastically groovy.
This album would be perfect for a warm afternoon with friends as both the bass and pandeiro exude a warmth from their sound that complements summer days, good food and drink perfectly. And given that the electric bass and the pandeiro are my two favorite instruments, and that they are two instruments not often heard this prominently, this album is a treat. My only criticism is that there aren’t more solos from either instrument!