The massive size of Brazil, as well as the remoteness of certain of the nation's regions, has resulted in one of the richest, most diverse musical landscapes anywhere in the world. Although most Americans know only bossa nova and samba, the country has dozens of discrete genres born of disparate polyglot hybrids. I've been obsessed with Brazilian music for more than a decade, but until recently I'd never heard of the style known as siriá
, a sound that emerged in the Amazonian state of Pará in the quilombos
—settlements created by escaped slaves of African descent and indigenous peoples of the rain forest—specifically, in the town of Cametá along the coast of the Tocatins River. Siriá
, a fantastic new album on the consistently superb Analog Africa
label, offers a dazzling, energizing glimpse at this dance form through recordings made in the early 70s by Mestre Cupijó e Seu Ritmo. Cupijó set about modernizing local sounds, mixing them with the Colombian cumbia, Cuban mambo, and Dominican merenque he absorbed through the radio stations across the Caribbean and Atlantic. He continued playing and spreading those new hybrid sounds until his death in 2012—he was 76. As you can hear from today's 12 O'Clock Track
, "Cadé O Anel," siriá is madly syncopated, with blaring horns and punchy guitar licks that sound like they were lifted from a ska record. Try resisting its ebullient rhythmic pull.