When Gilles Peterson flew to Rio in January, he didn’t just gather a bunch of his Brazilian music heroes into one studio to make the album Brasil BAM BAM BAM. Oh no. He also made his first feature documentary.
The camera follows Gilles through the favelas, forgetting football and getting to the heart of what really made Rio Rio. BRASIL BAM BAM BAM: The Story of Sonzeira shows us that even a blackout doesn’t end a samba street party, and all generations love to dance; one toddler throws some mean tabletop moves, and grannies stay up way past their usual bedtimes.
Peeking behind the scenes at the studio during recording, the film meets Gilles’ musical collective – Sonzeira (literally, “awesome sound”) – of artists including Seu Jorge, Elza Soares, Arlindo Cruz, Nana Vasconcelos, and Ed Motta. These legends of bossa, samba, jazz, and all the Latin genres in-between create stunning new music, inspired by tunes loved worldwide since the 1950s, and fulfil a lifetime dream for Gilles.
Directed by Charlie Inman and Ben Holman, the film is on a limited cinema release through Picturehouse Cinemas, but you can watch a sneaky excerpt here.