One of the most beautiful and representative songs of the genre called “guitarrada paraense” — a guitar-driven genre from the Brazilian State of Pará — is finally on streaming platforms. “Guitarrada Amazônica” by Brazilian guitarist, composer, and music producer Jonh Cabano, is an instrumental song initially released in 2004. The oldest online record of it is a live performance uploaded on Youtube in 2012.
The song, a classic of guitarrada paraense, was covered by avant-garde singer Felipe Cordeiro in a live stream and guitarist and YouTube content creator Tobias Kemerich in 2020. The captivating rhythm and the gorgeous melody of “Guitarrada Amazônica” gathered attention from fans and guitar aficionados on YouTube. The record, however, wasn’t yet available for streaming or purchase. Finally, it is: the song, along with others by Cabano, was uploaded on Spotify on July 2021.
Born João Batista Gomes Batista, Jonh Cabano started his musical career in 1985. For over three decades, he was involved in crucial moments and projects of the rich musical scene of the State of Pará. These included brega–calypso bands Banda Xeiro Verde and Banda da Loirinha. He also played with guitarrada heroes such as Mestre Vieira (considered the pioneer of the genre), Mestre Solano, and Ximbinha.
Guitarrada paraense, the genre, was born as a mixture of Caribbean and Latin rhythms such as cumbia, merengue, soca, and mambo, with rock ‘n’ roll, and carimbó (a dance and musical genre of indigenous origin). The result is an enthralling sound, marked by a guitar timbre and style that recalls rock bands such as Dire Straits, although it takes a fresh turn when combined with Pará’s music characteristic melodies. It’s the perfect soundtrack for the landscapes of the Brazilian region, its vegetation that is typical of the Amazon forest region, and its rivers.
While the genre consists of instrumentals only, it would later be fused with brega to accommodate vocals (and lately, brass too) to create brega-calypso. Cabano’s “Guitarra Amazônica” sounds more purist to the genre roots, but the loops will sound familiar to anyone familiar with brega-calypso songs too. The release is also timely as more Brazilian music fans are now exposed to brega-calypso and music from North Brazil because of Pabllo Vittar’s Batidão Tropical (2021).