Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Tim Maya the Soul of Brazil

Tim Maia (1942-1998) was one of Brazil's first exponents of North American-style soul and funk music, as well as one of the country's first rockers. In the late 'Fifties, he was in a rock band with future superstar Roberto Carlos; in '58 Maia moved to the U.S.A., where he stayed for several years before being deported for drug possession in 1964. His first handful of albums in the 1970s were watersheds for Brazilian pop -- along with Jorge Ben, Maia was one of the main architects of Brazilian funk, although Maia's taste ran towards softer pop material and later towards disco and synth-heavy pop crossovers. A party animal 'til the end, Maia suffered a heart attack while performing in concert, and died about a week later. Many of his songs are MPB standards, particularly with soul-oriented performers such as Jorge Ben and Daude, although he also enjoyed early success as a songwriter when jazz diva Elis Regina covered his material. His nephew, Ed Motta, took up the cause in the 1980s, recording his own mix of danceable funk and romantic soul.

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