From São Paulo in Brazil, Metá Metá is a jazz fusion band formed in 2007 around the core trio of Juçara Marçal (vocals), Kiko Dinucci (guitar & vocals) [both of whom collaborated on the 2008 album Padê] and Thiago França (saxophone & flute). Released in 2011, Metá Metá’s first self-titled album anchored the trio’s sound in the classic Afro-Samba style popularised by Baden Powell and Vinicius De Moraes in the late 1960s while also venturing into free jazz and rock music.
The band’s second album Metal Metal which originally came out in 2012 in Brazil was released internationally on the Mais Um Discos label in March 2014 last and sees the addition of bass, drums and percussions to expand the trio’s sound into new electric, punk and psychedelic territories. Always based on a solid voice/guitar/saxophone foundation, every song quickly expands into a fascinating sonic maelstrom of polyrhythms, saturated guitars and saxophone, electronic glitches and ecstatic chanting. At times, Metal Metal is very close in spirit to Moa Anbessa, the extraordinary 2006 collaboration between veteran Dutch punk band The Ex and Ethiopian saxophonist Getatchew Mekurya.
With the band constantly delving into their Afro-Brazilian musical and spiritual roots (Metá Metá meaning “Three in One” in the Yoruba language), several songs (“Exu”, “Oyá”, “Logun” or “Orunmilá”) all invoke the spirit of the Orixás, the deities from the traditional Yoruba religion which enslaved African priests brought over to the new continent with them and which have been assimilated with other beliefs into Candomblé, the Afro-Brazilian syncretic religion.
The band are all followers of Candomblé, yet Thiago is eager to point out that they are not using the Orixás to preach certain beliefs but to provide a framework within which to tell their stories.
The African/Nigerian connection is further consolidated with the presence of Afrobeat legend Tony Allen on “Alakorô” and “São Paulo No Shakin”. Both tracks were originally released in 2013 as a 7’’ LP on Goma Gringas Discos and were then included in the international release of Metal Metal.
Released in 2014, Juçara Marçal’s latest solo project Encarnado (with Kiko Dinucci on guitar) follows up Metal Metal with a similar mix of experimental free jazz, ethno-punk and trance.