by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


So I'm officially obssessed with the song "Brazil". My friends and I got hooked after hearing the Arcade Fire do a cover, 18 months ago. Two days later and I had downloaded Geoff Muldaur's version that's used in Terry Gilliam's great film of the same name. I was familiar with the track, but had never really realized the magnitude of its awesomeness. The sky-sailing guitar track, the whistling, the muted latin drums... it's like a summer breeze, a multicoloured kite. Muldaur's vocals are overdramatic and silly, plump as a pompadour. The rolled r's are tropical birds, the guy who jumps in with "thrills" (?) is like a flying-fish that pops out of the ocean. The off-key, tuba-farting finale seals the deal, demands another listen.

See that? It's so amazing awesome that I'm comparing rolled r's to toucans.

Cornelius did a nice, chill version on Point - sort of a laptop interpretation - and I've also grabbed James Last's bland electric guitar version. Last's cover is instrumental, which was disappointing to me at the time... this past week, I finally scored a recording of the Xavier Cugat original, from which all other "Brazil"s followed. It's surprisingly mediocre - basically big band samba, but the groovy, ghostly choir definitely hints at the direction Muldaur takes it in. To my astonishment, though, it too is instrumental - I had always assumed the vocals had been passed down from the original, not that they were Muldaur innovations. Did he really make them up? Or did somebody in between add lyrics?

The newest addition to the "Brazil" collection is a Benny Goodman recording, with Django Reinhardt and Charlie Christian (I think). The clarinet lead carries the melody really well, and the soloing's absolutely solid. Sooner or later, I'll be able to make a "Brazil" mix CD, and I will be able to commit seppuku a happy man.

Posted by Sean at March 26, 2003 12:05 AM

wow, after following the link on metafilter i end up here. one of my favourite tunes of all time, the Muldaur version any way.


Posted by walker at April 4, 2003 4:45 PM

I am desperately trying to find Geoff Muldaur's version of Brazil to download. Can you tell me where you found it please.

P.S. I can't get the tune out of my head and it's been like this for weeks. Amazing song.


Posted by Mike Matthews at May 18, 2004 11:00 AM

Hey, Did you ever download the Geoff Muldaur version of Brazil?

Posted by LArry at November 2, 2004 8:52 PM

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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

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Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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our favourite blogs
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Back to the World
La Blogothèque
Weird Canada
Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
Petites planétes
Gorilla vs Bear
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In Focus
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The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
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