Lula Cortes - Satwa
Written, recorded and released just as Brazil’s military dictatorship reached the climax of its long black arc, the one and only album by Satwa is a divinely subtle protest, often cited as Brazil’s first independent record.
Formed after the return of Lula Côrtes and Lailson from their respective foreign xcursions – the ‘Satwa’ project lasted only a year, perhaps due to their differing stripes.
Lailson was from the verdant former Dutch colony of Pernambuco, while Côrtes hailed from the wild badlands of Paraiba. But for 11 days in January 1973 the pair jammed cross-legged and produced the folk trance gems that adorn this self-titled debut.
At a time when censors caused newspapers to run cake recipes on their front pages in place of rejected news stories, the pair realised that if they wrote lyrics the censors would reject the record out of hand, so Lailson only lets the occasional throat drone slip through his lips.
Largely void of voice and word, the songs – Côrtes plucking steely leads from his sitar while Lailson’s 12-string thrums crystalline chords – are loose and lovely. The sole interference in these glistening arabesques is the hoary electric fretwork of one Robertinho Do Recife on “Blues do Cachorro Muito Louco,” the most explicitly fried track.
The music is a succession of ragas and mantras, powered by incense, magic mushrooms and other "mental muscle expanders," recorded live at the Rozenblit Studios, Recife, between 20 and 31 January 1973.
With a limited edition and distribution mainly regional, the disc disappeared almost as soon emerged, making it another Holy Grail record alongside Paebiru.
Packaged in a 6 page digipack in two pantone colours, as per original LP